'Loki' on Disney+ Confirms Existence of Multiverse, Setting up Phase 4 of the MCU

Loki arrived on Disney+ today and already the show looks set to to have huge repercussions for the rest of phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Episode 1 of the new series was titled "Glorious Purpose" and introduced audiences to the Time Variance Authority (TVA). Within the first half of the episode it was made clear that the TVA has the capability to massively influence everything that's ever happened in the MCU.

Spoilers for episode 1 of Loki from here.

Once Loki (Tom Hiddleston) arrives at the Time Variance Authority, he watches an animated explanation of what they do. The cute cartoon mascot of the organization, Miss Minutes (voiced by Tara Strong) reveals that the multiverse does exist in the MCU.

The existence of the multiverse has been debated among Marvel fans for years and it was thought that the concept would be formally introduced in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This sequel is currently slated to release on March 5, 2022.

Miss Minutes explains to Loki, through some handy exposition, that long ago there was a vast "multiversal war" where countless timelines battled each other for supremacy. Then the Timekeepers emerged and brought peace by reorganizing the multiverse into a single timeline known as the "sacred timeline."

Loki is picked up by the TVA because he's a "variant" who strayed from the sacred timeline creating a "nexus event" which, if left unchecked, could branch off into madness, according to Miss Minutes. Perhaps this is intentionally phrased with the Doctor Strange sequel on the way.

The head writer of Loki, Michael Waldron, enjoyed the challenge of finding a way to revive the character of Loki with a new time element added in. He said in a press statement sent to Newsweek: "It was obviously a big, crazy thing with a lot to figure out. It was like, how do we take that character and everything we love about him, and tell a whole new story?

"My pitch was to do something nobody expects and with every episode let's blow up what people think the show is and do something totally different. It was always about doing something awesome and totally unexpected with this character."

In Focus

Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as Loki for the new Disney+ Original series Loki
Launch Slideshow 6 PHOTOS

While the new Disney+ Original series Loki may finally confirm the existence of the multiverse, it's not the first time it's been mentioned in the MCU. Eagle-eyed fans spotted mentions of the multiverse on Dr. Erik Selvig's chalkboard in the Thor movies.

Spider-Man: Far From Home also mentioned the concept as Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) revealed he was from an alternative reality within the multiverse but this later turns out to be a lie.

A future Spider-Man film may yet feature the multiverse, with former webslingers Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield rumored to have signed up alongside former foes Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus and Jamie Foxx's Electro.

Current Peter Parker actor Tom Holland has repeatedly dodged the question about the casting, recently telling E!: "If they are, they haven't told me yet. That's something Marvel would do."

Major Marvel fans also saw the casting of Evan Peters (who played Quicksilver in the X-Men films) in Wandavision as a nod to the multiverse theory, and a possible crossover with the X-Men universe. It proved to be a bait and switch moment but Wanda Maximoff is seen studying the Darkhold at the end of the series, which could set her up to play a big part of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.