Through two episodes of Loki, Marvel's newest series on Disney+, there has been a lot of talk about the mysterious Time-Keepers and how they are the ones crafting the "sacred timeline." We've seen these beings as statues and in cartoon instructional videos, but we have yet to see the actual beings themselves. That reveal will likely be saved for the latter half of the show, but the way a certain character talks about them in the show's second episode should make you think twice about their existence. There's a good chance that the TVA isn't exactly what it claims to be, but what if it goes deeper than that? What if the Time-Keepers don't actually exist at all?
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from the latest episode of Loki. Continue reading at your own risk...
Early on in this week's episode, Mobius heads to Judge Renslayer's office to get a talking-to about the mission Loki almost ruined. The two characters have an established rapport with one another and so the conversation moves along pretty easily. But there's a very interesting exchange when Mobius mentions the Time-Keepers.
After Mobius asks Renslayer how the Time-Keepers are doing, she casually brushes it off with an incredibly vague response. She comes back with a question, "How do you think?" Mobius replies to the question by stating that he has no idea because he's never met the Time-Keepers.
Mobius, the agent in charge of what appears to be the TVA's most important case, has never met the Time-Keepers, which means most other employees at the organization probably haven't either. That leaves just the judges, and Renslayer is the only one we've seen thus far.
As it stands, Renslayer is the only one who communicates with the Time-Keepers, acting as a voice for them in the TVA. She says they're busy working on the end of the timeline, trying to end it perfectly and keep it from chaos. She's also quick to throw out the "what the Time-Keepers will" line that pretty much shuts down any argument about anything related to the timeline. To change the subject with Mobius, she changes her tone to explain that the Time-Keepers "are monitoring every aspect" of the Loki case.
It feels like the Time-Keepers are a catch-all excuse for whatever Renslayer might need at the time. Let's pair that with the history of Ravonna Renslayer, the character from Marvel Comics.
Renslayer's history has always been tied to that of Kang the Conqueror, the time-traveling villain that we know is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the very near future. At times she was the object of his affection. Other times, the two were eternal lovers. Ravonna even sacrificed her own life to save Kang's at one point in time.
We know Kang is going to be showing up in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, played by Jonathan Majors. That movie arrives in less than two years. Kang is imminent. It's likely he appears even earlier, given the timing of his casting announcement last year, long before the start of Quantumania's production.
That doesn't necessarily mean that Kang is going to show up at some point in Loki (though I believe he absolutely will), but it should cast doubt on Renslayer's motivations. Renslayer isn't just a judge working at the TVA and nothing more. You don't cast someone as talented as Gugu Mbatha-Raw to just play a time-displaced Judge Judy, just like you don't cast Kathryn Hahn to pop in as a nosy neighbor from time to time.
There's more to Renslayer than meets the eye, which means that there's likely something going on with the Time-Keepers as well. This could be a classic "man behind the curtain" scenario, where the villain was just a ruse all along. It could be a situation where the Time-Keepers absolutely were real at one point in time, but they are no longer around or at least aren't doing the job that everyone else is convinced they're doing.
We don't know where Loki is heading just yet, and there are going to be tons of twists and turns over the course of this series. Given what we've seen from Renslayer so far, don't be surprised if she's not being honest about the great Time-Keepers in the sky. (Honestly, that begs another real question: Where do Time-Keepers even live?)
New episodes of Loki are released on Disney+ every Wednesday.