The second season of Loki shows the promise of delving deeper into the multiversal lore than ever before. As Loki races against time to prevent the destabilization of the entire Multiverse, you can guarantee that the events that unfold in the show will have consequences across several MCU projects before ultimately setting the stage for The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars. It’s no secret that all roads of the Multiverse Saga lead to Avengers: Secret Wars. Several elements have already begun to fall into place for that story. However, some comic fans have questioned how Secret Wars will unravel when some of the key players in that story have yet to be introduced. While the popular choice for the main key player in Secret Wars is Doctor Doom, one character is equally if not more significant for the story Marvel seeks to tell: Owen Reece, aka The Molecule Man.
Comic backstory: Owen Reece, The Molecule Man
In Marvel Comics, Owen Reece became the Molecule Man following an accident with a particle accelerator, which gave Reece his matter and atomic-altering powers. It is later revealed that his “accident” was actually part of a larger plot from a race of multiversal beings known as the Beyonders. The Beyonders made Reece a multiversal constant, allowing for a version of him to exist in every possible known universe. His death would trigger a chain reaction, destroying that universe.
The Beyonders intended to use Reece as a timed bomb, which would go off simultaneously in every universe, thus destroying the Multiverse. However, their plan was partially unsuccessful when Reece caught wind of it and, with the help of Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange, partially prevented the destruction of the entire Multiverse by condensing it into a patchwork amalgamation of a world made from the remnants of destroyed realities known as Battleworld.
In this amalgam world, Doctor Doom became the omnipotent ruler with the power of the Beyonders. However, the source of his power originated from Molecule Man, whom he kept locked away in a hidden chamber from the rest of Battleworld. When the surviving heroes of Earths 616 and 1610 emerged to threaten Doom’s power, among them Reed Richards, Reece granted Richards the power of the Beyonders, destroying Battleworld and ushering in a new Multiverse.
Now, as exciting as the potential for this character in the MCU can be, currently, no such character exists there just yet. Based on the current line of projects set for Phases 5 and 6, it is highly unlikely that Marvel will seek to introduce Owen Reece soon. However, one existing MCU character could step in to fill the spot of the Molecule Man, and that would be our very own God of Mischief, Loki.
Loki’s current state in the MCU
While watching the trailers and promotions for the second season of Loki, one particular shot in one of the final trailers caught my eye, specifically the opening shot in this trailer.
In it, Loki appears to look at the Time Loom in horror as it glows a bright orange. The shot in question reminded me of the panel from the Secret Wars comics in which Molecule Man was inside his prison on Battleworld, as seen in the comparison above. This got me thinking about Loki’s potential and made me question why, out of their roster of characters, Marvel chose Loki for this story, which is undoubtedly one of the most significant building blocks for this Saga. After rewatching the first season of his show, the answer suddenly be came clear in Episode 5: “Journey Into Mystery.”
A quick refresher on the episode: Loki tries to escape the Void, accompanied by variants of himself, Sylvie, and Mobius, as they take on the interdimensional being, Alioth. By the episode’s conclusion, Loki and Sylvie manage to enchant Alioth, revealing the gateway to the Citadel at the End of Time. At this moment, things started to connect and clicked in my mind.
Let’s acknowledge for a second what Alioth is precisely. Alioth is a trans-temporal entity crafted from the rifts in time and space. Therefore, it is time and space weaponized into essentially a guard dog. Loki and Sylvie were able to enchant Alioth and harness the power of time and space to calm it down. It echoes back to a line Loki said in his episode: “I think we’re stronger than we realize.” That’s where the answer became clear.
Loki’s “true” glorious purpose and possible role in Secret Wars
Based on the season’s synopsis, Loki will “navigate an ever-expanding and increasingly dangerous multiverse in search of… the truth of what it means to possess free will and glorious purpose.” We also know from an interview with the Executive Producer of the show, Kevin Wright, that the ending will not be a cliffhanger, and will be fulfilling.
So, chances are that the second season of Loki will end with Loki realizing his true potential and fulfilling his “glorious purpose.” And what could this purpose be? I theorize that Loki will rise to the challenge of harnessing the power of the Sacred Timeline and potentially either calm the “wild strands of time” into the Sacred Timeline once more or reset the Multiverse to avoid the destabilization of space and time.
Several clues were already dropped in the trailers and in the promotional material that Loki will, at the very least, attempt to harness the power of the timeline. The main evidence stems from the shot pictured above, and also from the trailer mentioned earlier, where Loki is seen walking outside of the TVA and towards the Time Loom walkway where Mobius was in the first episode. Notice how he isn’t using the protective suit as he approaches the Loom.
If this theory is correct, and that is Loki’s intent, however, we have to consider the implications of this choice. While Loki may have a stronger tolerance to the radiation of time than Mobius due to his godlike nature, it is unlikely that anyone could survive such a feat. In the chance that Loki is successful, it is likely that this will serve as a sacrifice play on Loki’s part and will, more likely than not, lock himself away, harnessing unlimited power, similarly to how Molecule Man was locked away in Secret Wars.
Is Loki going to be the new Molecule Man for Secret Wars?
If my theory is correct, this would fulfill Loki’s glorious purpose and also set up one of the necessary key players by the time Avengers: Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars come into play during Phase 6.
But what do you think? Do you like the idea of Loki taking on the important role of the MCU’s Molecule Man? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or on The Cosmic Circus Discord.