Did The Loki Villain Create The Marvel What If... Scenarios?

Did Loki's villain just create Marvel's What If...? animated series? Of all the projects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 lineup, What If...? was expected to be more of an anthology series than a direct tie-in to the MCU saga - but Loki episode 2 just changed all that. Thanks to Loki's villain (a variant Loki whose identity is also revealed), a major change gets made to the MCU, and the results of that change have presumably set the stage for What If...?. It would be another great connective thread in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a great incentive for fans to tune in for What If...?.

Warning: Loki Episode 2 SPOILERS Follow!

In the second episode of Loki, the TVA's manhunt for "The Variant" (aka the variant Loki killing its agents and stealing its gear) finally comes to a head. Thanks to the Endgame variant Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the TVA deduces that evil variant Loki is set up at a doomed shelter during a cataclysmic weather event in future Alabama.

Even though Loki aids Mobius (Owen Wilson) and the TVA in trying to apprehend the evil variant, the variant (who turns out to be Lady Loki - or maybe Enchantress?) pulls off her plan. Using the TVA's own reset charges, the variant Loki sends out 'timeline bombs' to multiple points in the Sacred Timeline, causing all sorts of splinter timelines. A screen at the TVA displays where those new timeline splinters are all springing up, and it has fans convinced that some of them will be stories that get told in What If...?:

Various promotional materials and/or leaks from the What If...? line have revealed clues that definitely tie-in to this Sacred Timeline attack in Loki episode 2:

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Each of these What If...? episode just-so-happens to the locations featured in Loki episode 2 (Xandar, post-WWII Earth, Asgard, Titan, Sakaar), and the show's cast of MCU actors make some of these other locations mentioned in Loki seem viable for their own What If...? tie-ins, as well.

Loki streams new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+. What If...? is expected to debut on Disney+ later this year.