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This Huge MCU First Finally Arrived In The Loki Season 1 Finale

Contains spoilers for "Loki," Season 1, Episode 6, "For All Time. Always."

In March 2019, Disney officially acquired Fox, merging what were already two of cinema's biggest corporations into one. Fox's onetime catalog of movies and TV series now under the purview of Disney is considerable, spanning countless genres across both adapted material and original IP. That said, among the properties included in the acquisition are certain Marvel characters, the rights to which Fox acquired prior to the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Before Disney purchased Fox, this meant that certain Marvel characters were entirely off-limits to the MCU. In Marvel comics canon, for example, Wolverine is a noteworthy member of the Avengers. The team featured in the MCU "Avengers" films, however, is absent Wolverine, not for plot purposes but due to the fact that Fox owned the rights to most major "X-Men" characters.

Following the Fox acquisition, Kevin Feige claimed that it would be years before Disney owning the rights to Fox characters would impact the MCU. This has generally proven true, though a cameo appearance by Evan Peters' Quicksilver in "WandaVision" was a soft introduction of formerly Fox-owned Marvel property into a Disney Marvel project. Furthermore, Deadpool recently appeared beside the MCU's Korg in an ad for the Ryan Reynolds film "Free Guy," similarly merging what were previously two separate canons, though in a non-canonical context.

The "Loki" finale, however, holds the distinction of being the first time a character to which Fox once held the rights has appeared in a canonical MCU project sans qualification.

Introducing He Who Remains

Episode 6 of "Loki" introduces a character titled He Who Remains as the leader of the Time Variance Authority, an organization in charge of time and extradimensional travel that serves as the backbone of the plot of "Loki." While He Who Remains is a distinct Marvel character with his own unique backstory, "Loki" viewers with Marvel comics knowledge quickly recognized Episode 6's He Who Remains not as the character from the comics, but a version of Kang, the Conqueror.

Not only is the inclusion of Kang significant for story reasons, but it marks the first proper inclusion of what was once a Fox-owned character in a Disney project. In 2015, James Gunn revealed that Kang was among the characters off-limits to him in the conception of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (via TechTimes). Kang's inclusion in "Loki," then, is the first time the results of the merger have directly impacted MCU canon.

Fans expect the debut of Kang to have significant reverberations in future MCU projects. Kang is already confirmed to be a part of "Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," but given the character's breadth of power in his comic book source material, he'll likely remain a steady presence beyond just the next "Ant-Man" film. "Loki" star Tom Hiddleston described Kang to Marvel as a "character of such breadth, and depth, and charisma, and intelligence" and noted that his portrayal by actor Jonathan Majors "blew us all away."