It’s telling that on the media site for the second season of Loki – which is where the lead image for this very review comes from – one of the stars of the series is missing. In fact, during the multiple commercials advertising this new season of Loki that I saw while watching football over the weekend, that same actor is missing from all of those, too. Sure, we see a lot of Tom Hiddleston as the title character we’ve gotten to know over the 12 years now somehow. And there’s Owen Wilson back as Mobius, Loki’s partner at the Time Variance Authority, trying to still make sure all the timelines and variants stay in check. And there’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw back as Ravonna Renslayer, causing trouble. And newcomer Ke Huy Quan, fresh off his Oscar win, as the Ouroboros (OB for short), the guy who has seen it all and knows how everything works around the TVA.
But no matter how much the advertising tries to pretend Jonathan Majors (whose trial for domestic violence is now slated to start at the end of October) isn’t in this series, he’s very much in this series. And the whole thing is pretty hard to ignore and ration with while trying to enjoy a series about time travel and alternate timelines.
The thing is, I don’t have any good answers here. And I suspect the folks at Marvel felt the same way. Majors is in this second season of Loki so much (at least through the first four episodes I saw) that it would be impossible to just take him out. His imagery as Kang is everywhere. My best guess is Marvel just decided, well, here it is, and fully expect a bunch of pieces like this one to come out since it’s the first time we are seeing Majors in literally anything since his March arrest. (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania came out in February.)
The thing is, Loki is a pretty fun show. Everything is getting quite absurd in the superhero movie world with multiple universes and variants and all that. I think I’d be happier just going back to, “guy in a metal suit fights bad guys.” But at least Loki knows how absurd all this is and ramps everything up to such a high degree, with every ridiculous thing being met by Wilson’s deadpan, “Whelp, another day at the office,” it can’t help itself from being a good time.
At the end of season one, Loki finds himself at a TVA he doesn’t recognize with images of Kang everywhere. As this season opens, Loki realizes what he’s seeing is the past and is being ripped back and forth across time. Mobius seeks out the help of OB to stop this from happening to Loki, setting up a clever scene as Loki goes back and forth through time, talking to OB in the past and present, which causes present OB to have new memories of Loki from the past in real-time and allows OB the time to build the specific machine needed to help Loki. See, all fun.
But when the artificial intelligence that runs the TVA, Miss Minutes, goes rogue, the equipment there will only work for the founder of the TVA, Kang. (At least I think it’s Kang. It’s still a little confusing if it’s Kang or a Kang variant like He Who Remains, but I think it’s Kang.) So Loki and Mobius go back to 19th century Chicago to enlist a Kang variant for help, Victor Timely (Majors), who is an inventor and con man and an all-around kind of weird dude. Oh, and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino as Loki’s variant) is back, happily living in a timeline in the early ’80s working at McDonald’s, but when this timeline is threatened she also seeks out Victor Timely to kill him, which would be bad.
Marvel has been, kind of shockingly (it’s been seven months now), quiet about what they will do about Majors. And in the past Disney has been quick to take action (remember, James Gunn was fired for some old tweets before he was rehired). The current SAG strike kind of gives them some cover because Majors can’t do press anyway. And with the trial right around the corner, I can only assume they will just wait and see how that goes. And again, I’m not going to pretend I know what they are thinking or what the answers are, but it sure does seem like they’ve punted the ball to all of us to come to our own conclusions about how we feel about all this.
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