Mobius and Loki standing in front of the ferris wheel at the 1893 World's Fair. They're both in period costume.

This ‘Loki’ Scene Could Hint at a New Marvel Superhero … or a Cruel Fate for Loki

In Loki season 2, episode 3, “1893,” Loki and Mobius go to the 1893 World’s Fair to look for Ravonna Renslayer. While they’re walking around the fair and munching on cracker jacks, they come upon a diorama of Norse gods.

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Mobius immediately takes the opportunity to dissolve into a full-on Loki fanboy. “You know, sometimes I forget that you’re one of them. You are one of them!” he cries, smacking Loki’s arm. “It blows my mind!” Mobius’s best friend is a genuine member of alien god royalty, and Mobius couldn’t be more tickled.

Loki, for his part, seems to be wrestling with some complicated feelings about the display. There’s his obvious displeasure at the clumsy attempt to capture an entire culture in a single display—a reaction that resonates with real-world issues of cultural appropriation and exoticism. But do I also detect some sadness about the home he’s left behind? Does he miss Asgard? Does he want to go back? (After all, with time travel, he totally could.) Is he still smarting from painful memories?

Or is he just jealous that he’s not on the display?

Because there’s something very interesting about the figures portrayed on the three pillars in the tableau. It depicts three gods, including Odin and Thor. Loki, as Odin’s other son, would be a natural choice for the third pillar. Instead, though, the display includes a new face: a god named Balder. “No one’s ever even heard of Balder,” Loki scoffs. “Sure they have,” Mobius responds. “Balder the Brave!”

Loki has a right to be upset—after all, he’s been snubbed by other Asgardians his entire life, and being left off the diorama is yet another slap in the face—but there’s something funny going on here. Why introduce a new god, when the Marvel Cinematic Universe already has plenty of good ones to choose from? The way I see it, there are two possible reasons: a straightforward one, and a crackpot theory that I’ve concocted for your amusement.

Is Marvel introducing Balder to the MCU?

Like his counterpart in Norse myth, Balder really is a member of the Asgardian pantheon in Marvel comics. In the comics, he’s Odin’s son and Thor’s half brother. He’s not a major character in the Marvel comics universe, but he has all the standard superhero traits.

Funnily enough, Balder almost made it into the MCU in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. You’ll recall that in the film, Strange is captured by a secret group of superheroes called the Illuminati. In summer 2023, some leaked concept art showed that Balder was originally going to be an Illuminati member—played by Daniel Craig.

It’s possible that the reference to Balder in Loki is paving the way for Balder to appear in a future MCU film or series, similar to how Thor: Love and Thunder introduced Brett Goldstein’s Hercules.

That’s the most likely explanation. But let’s put on our tinfoil hats for a second and have some fun! What if there’s another reason Loki was left off the display?

What if Loki no longer exists in the Sacred Timeline?

Did Loki pruning himself from time erase him from the multiverse?

In episode 1, “Ouroboros,” O.B. tells Loki that to stop time slipping, he has to pull himself out of every thread of time and space simultaneously. This is obviously a bigger deal than just pruning one variant from one branch. Loki does it, aided by a mysterious figure who prunes him from behind, and we see him emerge in a flash from the fibers of the Temporal Loom.

But has Loki gone back and checked on his place in the timeline since he was pruned? What if fixing his time slipping affected his place in history? If he’s ripped himself out of every thread of time, and he’s now absent from a diorama that should have included him, could that mean that fixing his time slipping erased him from the multiverse?

Of course, that kind of bombshell would have huge ramifications for the MCU. It would affect the events of The Avengers and everything afterwards. It would change Thor’s entire life. Like I said, it’s a crackpot theory.

Still, it’d be a boss move. Plus, in a roundabout way, a drastic plot twist like that could set Loki up to be the new Molecule Man, the hero who keeps the patchwork universe Battleworld together in Secret Wars.

Loki’s not done time slipping, or messing with the loom. There’s trailer footage that shows him time slipping outside of the TVA, and then going out on the TVA gangway to fix the loom without a radiation suit on. Whatever happens in the next three episodes, it looks like Loki’s going to have a pretty close encounter with the raw fibers of the multiverse. Who knows what will happen to him afterwards—or what’s happened to him already?

(featured image: Disney+)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>