But then near the end of Loki episode 1, something rather disquieting happens. Loki (Tom Hiddletson) has finally gotten the drop on his captor Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) and runs off to retrieve the Tesseract and get the hell out of this brown and beige prison. When Loki threatens TVA pencil-pusher Casey (played by Eugene Cordero) to open up the desk containing the Tesseract, he finds way more than he expected. Not only is the Tesseract languishing in a nondescript desk, so too are a pile of Infinity Stones.
“Oh yeah, we’ve actually got a lot of those. Some of the guys use them as paperweights,” Loki’s new friend says.
In a recent interview with Empire, Marvel head Kevin Feige said that Loki “will have more impact on the MCU than any of the shows thus far.” Here in episode 1, we see a prime example of what Feige means. The Infinity Stones dominated an entire decade of Marvel cinematic storytelling. Combined together, the Space, Reality, Power, Soul, Mind, and Time Stones represented the apex of power in all of the studio’s 23 films.
It took the combined efforts of every single Marvel character to defeat Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet and now dozens of them are just chilling in a filing cabinet. That begs the question: is the TVA the most powerful entity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? It’s too early in Loki’s six-episode run to get a definitive answer to that question. But if we were to venture a guess, we would go with a very bold and decisive “probably not.” Allow us to explain.
Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe feels like it’s been around forever at this point, the Infinity Saga is just the first of many planned arcs for the studio. Marvel has many irons in the fire still, with nearly 25 more films and TV shows officially on the docket and countless more undoubtedly rattling around Kevin Feige’s brain. As subsequent eras of Marvel movies and TV shows arrive, there will certainly be threats at least comparable to Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet.LOKI CHARMS GIVEAWAY! Win a Box of Marvel’s Loki Charms Cereal
Still, Marvel has to be careful when it comes to escalation in its apocalyptic threats. At some point introducing even more powerful villains will have diminishing returns. Going from Thanos to Galactus to The Beyonder to The One Above All sounds cool on paper, but it also runs the risk of exhausting its audience’s imagination with a God-powered arms race.
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