The Zartan Contingent in Loki season 2's credits

Does This Book Title in ‘Loki’s Season 2 Credits Hint at a Traitor in the TVA?

Loki season 2’s credits contain an ambiguous reference to the “Zartan Contingent.” It is the title of a book that pops up during the credits right before Ke Huy Quan’s credit appears, and viewers aren’t sure if it’s a mere Easter egg or holds a deeper meaning.

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Loki premiered on October 5 and has seen the God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston) working to fix the Sacred Timeline that was broken in the show’s season 1 finale. Amid Loki’s journey, we’ve had a few interesting references to Norse mythology and Marvel lore. While some of them are just Easter eggs, others have felt more like clues. For example, Ouroboros’ (Quan) Norse mythology counterpart, Jormungandr, has led to theories about Loki’s connection to the Sacred Timeline, while Hunter X-5 (Rafael Casal) adopting a new life as Brad Wolfe might hint at the Zaniac’s future in the MCU.

It’s always fun to find hidden references, but it’s even more fun when you stumble across one that might tell you about the show’s future.

The Zartan Contingent has led to some interesting theories

Mobius and Loki stand in the TVA automat, their hands outstretched as they talk to each other.
(Gareth Gatrell/Disney+)

The problem with the Zartan Contingent is that Loki has provided us with minimal context. There is no mention of it aside from it being emblazoned on a book by an A. D. Doug Ph.D. in the credits. Meanwhile, Doug and the Zartan Contingent don’t appear to have any basis in Marvel Comics. However, Zartan by itself is a familiar name. While Hasbro created G. I. Joe, Marvel Comics also produced a comic book based on the character called G. I. Joe: A Real American Hero. One of the characters introduced in that 155-issue comic book was Zartan.

While Marvel debuted Zartan, other comic books and animated series went on to expand his story, making him a prominent villain in the franchise. He is most well known for being a master of disguise with the ability to blend into his environment and impersonate anyone he wants using makeup, illusions, and hypnosis. Zartan can also change the color of his skin at will, like a chameleon. He is also an escape artist, ventriloquist, and notorious leader of a violent and antagonistic biker gang known as Dreadnoks.

Zartan could also be a reference to Xartans in Marvel Comics. Xartans were a genetically modified species that the Celestials created by experimenting on inhabitants they found on Xarta. They were known for their shapeshifting, having the ability not only to take on another individual’s appearance but also their powers. The Xartans once tried to invade Earth but were thwarted by Thor.

Either the G.I. Joe Zartan or Xartans are plausible explanations for what the Zartan means in Zartan Contingency. After all, shapeshifting and mastery of disguise are nearly synonymous with Loki, the cunning trickster. However, what does it mean for Loki season 2? There’s a chance it doesn’t mean anything and was just placed to give viewers a fun reference to G.I. Joe. However, some fans have theories that it’s a hint that someone in Loki is a shapeshifter and has infiltrated the Time Variance Authority. A few have even proposed that it might be hinting at someone like Mobius (Owen Wilson) or Sylvie (Sophia di Martino) secretly being traitors and working for He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors). One Redditor even suggested it could mean Zartan is entering the MCU.

These theories are interesting, especially since contingency means “event” or “occurrence.” So, it could very well be referencing some kind of shapeshifting incident in Loki. Still, Zartan and Xartans are pretty obscure in Marvel history, and one must question the likelihood of G.I. Joe characters crossing over into the MCU. Ultimately, Loki seems to want us to know something about shapeshifting and disguises, but it remains to be seen why.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.