Loki’s Time-Keepers and their future Marvel connections, explained
The very first episode of Loki on Disney Plus did some significant lifting. Not just did the pilot wrap-up the god of mischief’s entire history, it likewise presented an entire brand-new swath of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Time Variation Authority, and its strange overlords, the Time-Keepers, whose wood visages embellish the wall behind Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Judge Renslayer.
According to Loki, the Time Keepers are the supreme arbiter of fate in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, choosing what actions belong on the so-called “Sacred Timeline” and what actions require to be policed and removed, or “pruned,” and providing those regulations to the cosmic administration of the TVA. And in the meantime, that’s all we understand about the TELEVISION variation of the Time-Keepers.
The presence of the Time-Keepers provides the recognized Marvel Cinematic Universe a considerable twist of tradition. There is a higher, cosmic world beyond the most godlike bends we’ve seen throughout the “Infinity Saga.” The reasoning of the multiverse will just end up being more made complex when Spider-Man: No Chance House and Medical Professional Strange in the Multiverse of Insanity roll around. However for Loki developer Michael Waldron, it was no huge thing to completely shock the MCU.
“For me it, [Loki] was about operating as if we can do anything, pitch the biggest, craziest ideas we could possibly come up with, and when they tell me no, they tell me no,” Waldron tells Polygon. “With Marvel, and Kevin [Feige], there is no ceiling on your imagination. The charge was to make the Loki show the best show we possibly could, and so if we’ve got a good argument for why something makes this show great, then, you know, we’ll go for it and you trust that it will fit into the broader world of the MCU. Pitching and coming up with crazy lore: actually not as daunting is one might think.”
So who are the Time-Keepers? What role have they played in Marvel Comics over the years? And how might the events of Loki reshape what we know about the MUC? The books have plenty to tell us.
What are the Time-Keepers like in Marvel Comics?
In Marvel Comics, the Time-Keepers were created by the last director of the Time Variance Authority at the end of time, and tasked with generally protecting the entire timeline. Just like in Loki, they’re a triumvirate of robed figures who seldom appear to mortals — usually only a select few they’ve decided to work with. Two of them have more masculine faces, one has a more feminine facade, and all appear quite alien.
While they were created by a member of the Time Variance Authority, and have similar goals, the Time -Keepers aren’t supreme rulers of the TVA in the comics. In fact, they’re far more likely to be associated with the time-traveling supervillain Immortus.
The Time-Keepers recruited Immortus as a pupil, but also as a prisoner. In exchange for teaching him about the timeline, the Time-Keepers charged him with monitoring a section of time and undoing the complicated mess left over from the time-travel machinations he committed when he was younger, back when he went by the name Kang the Conqueror.
And keep your hat on when I say this, but…
Kang the Conqueror is the villain of the next Ant-Man movie
In late 2020, Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft County) joined the cast of Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. Reports at the time suggested that he was set to play the role of Kang the Conqueror, the time-traveling despot who eventually matures into Immortus, servant of the Time-Keepers.
But it gets even more tangled! Through Immortus, the Time-Keepers also got involved in trying to control the Scarlet Witch in the comics, whose chaos magic allowed her to warp reality, and thus made her a threat to the timeline. We’ll see the Scarlet Witch again in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, written by Michael Waldron.
It could be that the Time Keepers, Kang the Conqueror, and the Scarlet Witch are all pieces of the next huge thing coming down the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s time-y-wime-y, multiverse-hopping pipeline. Or it could just be that throughout the years, everything in the Marvel Comics universe has managed to connect to every other thing in some way.
Time — and the Time Keepers — will inform.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.