‘LOKI’: The Time-Keepers, the Hourglass and the Man Behind the Curtain

Episode 4 of Marvel Studios latest and greatest Disney Plus streaming series, Loki, exposed the great lie of the TVA when it was revealed that the Time-Keepers were nothing more than some Chuck E Cheese style animatronics instead of the almighty overlords of the Sacred Timeline. Now that we finally know for sure that they’re not in charge (we’ve speculated for a while now that they weren’t all they were cracked up to be), the big question left to answer is who was behind the curtain and making the decisions about what was allowed to go on and what had to be pruned. My money has always been on Kang, or at least one Variant version of him, and it’s possible that this episode may have given us a small, Easter egg-y type of clue that it is him.

This could easily be a case of someone (me) seeing something and interpreting it to fit their desired outcome; it could also be a case of Marvel Studios sneaking something so subtle that it could easily go undetected. So here’s the plan: I’ll point it out and you decide for yourself.

After being teased for 3 episodes, we finally find out that the Time-Keepers are just an elevator ride away for Ravonna; however, this doesn’t seem to be the same elevator we’ve seen before in scenes with Loki and Mobius, rather an elevator only Judge Renslayer has access to. And it’s this elevator, adorned with what look to be hundreds of hourglass shapes, that might be hinting at the man truly in charge of the TVA or is simply the kind of symbol you’d place on the doorway to the keepers of time.

Maybe, long ago the Time-Keepers were real. Maybe, like in the comics, they sought out Kang and made him guardian of the timeline. Maybe the Time-Keepers were never real. Either way, someone built the TVA and someone designed those elevator doors. In following the line of thought that Kang, or one version of him, is behind all this, the hourglass shape becomes more than just a nice nod: it was actually the symbol worn by one version of Kang, the Scarlet Centurion.

The Scarlet Centurion was one of the more aggressive versions of Nathaniel Richards (and yes it was also a name taken up by one of his sons at one point) who confusingly created another version of himself that found himself up against the Squadron Supreme (rumored to be in Loki) but who also ultimately became the most recognizable version of Kang. I’ve always found it strange that the TVA, a place that exists outside of space and time, has such a 60’s feel to it. Maybe, in this instance, it’s another bread crumb on the trail leading us to Kang, who was introduced in the 60s, or to the Scarlet Centurion version of the character who first appeared in 1967’s Avengers Annual #2. Maybe the version of Kang we’ll see here is the tired version who has literally seen it all and not one who has the edge of his less-experienced self who, maybe, built the TVA as a means to conquer time. Of course, it makes sense that these hourglasses symbols are just there because they are things that keep time and adorn the entrance of the Time-Keepers, but I wouldn’t put it past Marvel Studios to hide a subtle clue in plain sight, either. With only 2 episodes left, we’ll find out soon enough.

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