Marvel's Loki premiere dropped a lot of information (and plenty of Easter egg hints) on fans about the Time Variance Authority - the agency that polices the flow of time and reality. The TVA's mission is to protect the one "Sacred Timeline" as decreed by the entities known as the Timekeepers, resetting or outright pruning variant timelines and beings that branch off from the main one. However, the introduction of the TVA left a lot of Marvel Cinematic Universe fans with one big question: Wouldn't the TVA and the Timekeepers be obligate to arrest the Avengers and Captain America (Steve Rogers) for their roles in Avengers: Endgame's infamous "Time Heist" for the Infinity Stones?
After all, it was the Avengers' actions during the Time Heist mission at the Battle of New York that arguably led to the variant Loki escaping his fate in the Sacred Timeline. However, there are a couple of good ideas already circulating about why the TVA and Timekeepers do not have the Avengers and Steve Rogers currently on their list of wanted time criminals.
It's All In The Sacred Timeline
First and foremost, the storytelling device of the Sacred Timeline basically allows Marvel Studios creators to easily sidestep any further questions about how the events of Avengers: Endgame's Time Heist relate to Loki and the TVA. Basically, you can just say that everything that happened in Endgame was part of Sacred Timeline - except for the part where Loki escaped with the Tesseract.
That's definitely a cop-out of sorts, but questions of time travel in Endgame have been rather cumbersome for Marvel to answer to fan satisfaction. So an easy blanket answer seems like a prudent way to bridge the franchise story from Endgame's timeline variant issues to the establishment of an entire Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.
TVA Pardon: Old Man Steve Rogers Explained
Of course, Endgame's Time Heist being part of the Sacred Timeline doesn't justify the fact that Steve Rogers inevitably created an entire variant timeline by staying with Peggy Carter in the 1950s after returning the Infinity Stones. Hard for the TVA to overlook that kind of breach.
However, Loki's look at the TVA may provide a much-needed answer to one of Endgame's biggest lingering questions (read: plot holes): How does Old Man Steve Rogers re-appear in the main MCU timeline to give Falcon and Winter Soldier a repaired shield?
Indeed, Steve Rogers could be in trouble with the TVA for creating a variant timeline - but as Loki's premiere showed us, agents actually look into these variant cases pretty thoroughly. Steve Rogers is one of the greatest heroes of any timeline or reality; it's hard to imagine the TVA and its bosses treating him like a criminal. It's possible that Cap was detained by the organization, but his service record and heroism got him a "pass" of sorts: The TVA let him live out his life with Peggy, but eventually scheduled his timeline for reset or erasure while allowing "Old Man Rogers" to go back to his native timeline. Cap providing a new shield to the next generation of Captain America and/or Avengers heroes would arguably be sanctioned by the TVA, as a necessity of the Sacred Timeline.
Feeding that theory about Steve Rogers' 'Trial by TVA' is the Loki episode 1 "Easter egg" that supposedly saw the TVA bringing in a variant that looks conspicuously like Peggy Carter, in the background of one shot. It's still a young-looking Peggy, so maybe she and Steve have to justify their variant romance pretty soon after Endgame?
TVA Is More Security Guards Than Actual Cops
The other theory is that the TVA is lying about how much authority it actually has. Sure, the TVA has all kinds of impressive technology, but the rules about how they use it and what their jurisdiction is, seems like a much murkier matter. The TVA's reasons for bringing variant Loki in may be a lie, which is why they have no real incentive (or means) to go after the Avengers.
What do you think - will the TVA be hunting down Captain America and/or The Avengers? Let us know your thoughts and theories in the comments!
Loki streams new episodes every Friday on Disney+.