No one seems to know who’s running the Time Variance Authority. With just one episode left of Loki, fans are trying to figure out their identity. Multiple theories are floating around. Some think a King Loki variant is running the agency. Others think the Loki finale will reveal Kang the Conqueror as the one in charge, introducing a new villain into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But one bold fan theory thinks something else entirely. This theory suggests the person running the TVA could be a character fans already know, but haven’t seen since before Avengers: Infinity War. And they have a direct connection to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Who is running the TVA in ‘Loki’?
A fan on TikTok created a theory that seems out of left field. But when considering the evidence, it actually holds up… a lot. The user believes Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Karl Mordo from Doctor Strange is running the TVA. Like we said, out of left field!
To this day, the Benedict Cumberbatch film is Ejiofor’s only appearance in the MCU. He was last seen in Doctor Strange‘s post-credits scene. That scene, combined with his final words to Doctor Stephen Strange in the movie, set up a solid argument that Mordo will be revealed as the creator of the TVA in Loki.
At the end of Doctor Strange, Mordo tells Strange (who was seriously messing with time), “You think there will be no consequences, Strange? No price to pay? The bill comes due. Always. I will follow this path no longer.”
Does that “always” line sound familiar? The TikTok user pointed out its similarity to the TVA’s motto: “For all time. Always.
The ‘Doctor Strange’ end-credits scene set up Mordo as a villain
The similarities don’t end there. In the Doctor Strange end-credits scene, Mordo finds Benjamin Bratt’s Jonathan Pangborn, whose body was healed through sorcery.
“I’ve been away for many months now, and I’ve had a revelation,” Mordo says. “The true purpose of a sorcerer is to twist things out of their proper shape. Stealing power, perverting nature, like you. Power has a purpose.”
Mordo then takes that magic away, paralyzing Pangborn’s body once again. When Pangborn asks why, Mordo replies, “Because I see, at long last, what’s wrong with the world. Too many sorcerers.”
The scene showcases Mordo’s desire to restore what he sees as the natural order and fix what he thinks others messed up. To do this, he reverses these perceived abuses of power. This is easily comparable to the TVA pruning a variant for straying off the Time-Keepers’ Sacred Timeline.
They eliminate the variant and then reset the timeline to reverse the damage. Given Mordo’s knowledge of the multiverse and how to harness its magic, it’s easy to imagine him using a spell to create an all-knowing, all-powerful agency that protects the flow of time.
Is Mordo coming back?
Mordo is confirmed to be in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which Loki will lead directly into. And in a fourth TikTok video, the user pointed out even more clues from Doctor Strange that support their theory.
During the training montage, Mordo introduces the staff of the Living Tribunal — a staff imbued with the orange magic fans have learned to associate with sorcerers’ magic. The Living Tribunal is an entity in the Marvel comics that protects the multiverse. The TikTok user cited a Marvel fan page for a description about it.
“It may act to prevent one universe from amassing more power than any of the others, or from upsetting the cosmic balance in some way,” it reads, adding, the Tribunal “manifests itself as a being with three faces, which represent the three sides of the Tribunal’s personality.”
Three Tribunal faces, three android Time-Keepers. The fake entities in the TVA could be representative of the Living Tribunal set up by Mordo. What’s more, in Doctor Strange, magical relics — such as Strange’s cape — choose sorcerers. The staff chose Mordo. The TVA’s pruning weapons closely resemble the staff itself, both in size and color. And the pruning wands come complete with what looks like orange magic inside. Exactly how the TVA prunes variants with these wands has not been explained.
This theory makes a strong case that Mordo created the TVA in order to maintain the “natural order,” aka the Sacred Timeline, used spells to populate the agency, incorporated tools inspired by the staff of the Living Tribunal, and start correcting branch timelines created by variants and Nexus events. And just in case this theory doesn’t have you convinced yet, Loki writer and producer Michael Waldron also wrote Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so… make of that what you will.
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