The Multiverse is the next frontier of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Marvel’s Phase 4 releases thus far have been building up to it. WandaVision showed Wanda Maximoff’s transformation into Scarlet Witch and her chaos magic and teased the opening of the Multiverse. Loki Season 1 cracked the Multiverse wide open. Next, Spider-Man: No Way Home will send the Multiverse into chaos, all culminating in 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But Loki Season 2’s release date could mean the second season won’t have as big of an impact on the MCU as season 1 did. Marvel President Kevin Feige’s recent comments elaborate on this more.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Loki Season 1 Episode 6.]
Marvel Phase 4 release dates were changed by the coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic changed a lot of Marvel’s Phase 4 release dates. And not only the dates, but also the mediums. Black Widow was supposed to be a theatrical release. But due to the pandemic, Disney released it simultaneously on Disney+ with Premiere Access. Now the studio has a lawsuit on its hands from Scarlett Johansson.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was also supposed to be the first Marvel TV show release. But WandaVision ended up leading the way. And honestly, that worked heavily in Marvel’s favor. As for Loki, its season 1 release date was changed by the pandemic as well. In fact, the Marvel TV shows weren’t supposed to kick off Phase 4 at all.
Black Widow was supposed to be the first thing to come out in May 2020, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in August and The Eternals in November. WandaVision was supposed to be the first release in 2021 (that ended up happening, but under different circumstances), and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was to come next in February 2021.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was supposed to come out before Loki Season 1 and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Now, it’s the other way around.
‘Loki’ Season 2 release date
LokiI Season 1 started filming in January 2020. The pandemic forced it to pause production until September 2020, and it finally wrapped in December. The first episode of Loki debuted in June 2021. In a recent interview promoting Marvel’s next release, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Feige gave a tentative start date for production on Loki Season 2.
“It is underway,” he told Collider. “We’re developing it as we speak. The hope is that much of the same team will return. Kate is going on to bigger and better things, so the director search will begin shortly.”
While Loki Season 2 is currently in development, Feige did admit it could take another year before production starts. He said he’s “not sure exactly where it falls between next year and the year after.” That means filming could begin in 2022 or 2023, but starting in 2021 seems out of the realm of possibility.
‘Loki’s impact on the Multiverse Arc
So, what does this mean for Loki‘s narrative impact on the MCU? Ahead of season 1’s release, creator Michael Waldron promised the series would have a “wide-reaching impact.” This came to pass when Sylvie broke open the Multiverse by killing He Who Remains—a variant of Nathaniel Richards. As Jonathan Majors’ character explained, the many Nathaniel variants are responsible for the creation of the Multiverse and the war to control it. Kang the Conqueror, one of the Marvel Comics’ most formidable villains, is one of those variants.
He Who Remains won control of the Multiverse and created Loki‘s Time Variance Authority to keep it under control. He warned Loki and Sylvie that killing him could allow for much worse variants (aka Kang) to return. And that’s exactly what happened. In the last scene of Loki Season 1, Loki returns to the TVA to find Mobius and the other agents don’t remember them. There’s also a giant statue of Kang erected in the middle of the agency.
Majors will appear as Kang in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. This appearance—and his place as the MCU’s new big bad villain in general—wouldn’t have happened without Loki‘s setup. So the Tom Hiddleston series really was the final vital piece of the Phase 4 puzzle. But given that Loki Season 2’s release date won’t be for another year or two, it appears viewers will learn the most about the Multiverse through Marvel’s upcoming films.