Loki and Sylvie’s relationship has fans divided. The Marvel Disney+ series debuted its season finale on July 14. And with it came what (some) fans had been waiting for all season: Loki and Sylvie’s kiss. While the characters spent all of Loki Season 1 developing a bond, some viewers saw their feelings for each other as borderline incestuous because they’re variants of the same character. But this was a weird line the show rode all season. And the creative team has a clear stance on whether or not Loki and Sylvie are the same person. Director Kate Herron elaborated on this in a recent interview, shedding more light on what her team means when they call Loki and Sylvie’s relationship “self-love.”
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for the Loki Season 1 finale.]
Loki and Sylvie are not related
Loki introduced variants and Nexus events into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And fans had questions about variants immediately. Except for Sylvie, all of the Loki variants had the same name. But were they the same person? Not quite. Each Loki existed in a different branch of time. They had their own lives, childhoods, and experiences. Some key details were similar, like their connection to Asgard and having Thor as a brother. But all of these variants very much lived their own lives. So they’re effectively all different people (and alligators).
That means Loki and Sylvie are separate people. And Herron definitely doesn’t see them as siblings or any kind of familial relation. As she explained to Polygon:
“My interpretation of it is that they’re both Lokis, but they aren’t the same person. I don’t see them as being like brother and sister. They have completely different backgrounds […] and I think that’s really important to her character. They sort of have the same role in terms of the universe and destiny, but they won’t make the same decisions.”
Loki and Sylvie’s romance was about ‘self-love’
Indeed, their different experiences is what informed the emotional background of Sylvie and Loki’s kiss and the fight that led up to it. Herron has called Loki’s personal journey an exploration of “self-love.” But not in the literal sense of falling in love with yourself. Rather, Loki learned to love someone else — and show genuine care for others, in general — rather than suppress his feelings. And by unlocking that part of himself, he was able to heal his relationship with himself.
It’s the lesson Loki has been trying and failing to learn throughout all of his MCU appearances. And continuing to make the same mistakes — committing to mischief and being deceitful as a means of avoiding reality — is a hallmark of the character (the other variants included). But Hiddleston’s God of Mischief learned the self-love lesson for good in season 1. And while Sylvie helped him get there, that doesn’t mean she went through the same emotional growth.
For Sylvie, reaching He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror) was her life’s goal finally realized. Sylvie’s been on the run living in terrifying apocalypses since she was a child. And Kang’s TVA is what forced her into that life.
Sylvie was saying goodbye to Loki when she kissed him
When Loki and Sylvie fight each other in the finale, Sylvie is trying to get to Kang to kill him. And Loki is simply on the defense trying to prevent her from doing something she might regret.
“I just want you to be OK,” he tells her just before she kisses him. Herron said the kiss was genuine, but that it was definitely a goodbye on Sylvie’s part. She said:
“Emotionally, from Sylvie’s perspective, I think it’s a goodbye. But it’s still a buildup of all these feelings. They’ve both grown through each other over the last few episodes. It was important to me that it didn’t feel like a trick, like she was deceiving him. She is obviously doing that, on one hand, but I don’t feel the kiss is any less genuine. I think she’s in a bad place, but her feelings are true.”
There are plenty of ways in which Sylvie is the most mature of the Loki variants. Her confidence in her abilities and her intelligent planning stopped Hiddleston’s character from making several mistakes (well, she couldn’t stop all of them). But her determination to destroy the TVA and whoever ran it was a goal rooted in the lifelong trauma she went through. Even if letting that Kang variant live was in her best interests, she wasn’t in a place where she could decide against killing him.
And now, the multiverse has been cracked wide open. Sylvie and the rest of the MCU will discover the consequences of her decision in Loki Season 2.