Loki just confirmed that nothing in Avengers: Endgame’s climactic time heist broke the multiverse because they technically didn’t break any rules.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Loki episode 1.
After two years of questions, Loki has finally answered one of the biggest nagging questions about Avengers: Endgame – or more appropriately, cluster of questions – thanks to a catch-all rule protecting the film’s time heist plot from scrutiny. The introduction of the TVA and the idea of the Sacred Timeline, as governed by the Time Keepers and dictated by the TVA’s regulators per their instructions is that genius catch-all. In short, anything that happened in the Endgame ending can now not be considered a plothole by established MCU logic.
That means that there can be no questions over Captain America creating a timeline branch by returning to the past and taking back his happy ending with Peggy Carter. It’s now set in stone as protected by the TVA, thanks to Loki. So too is the fact that Gamora stayed in the Sacred Timeline despite being a variant after her Infinity War death. There’s also no question of the problematic branch created in 2014 by the death of the version of Thanos who leaped forward in time to fight the Avengers in Endgame. And even the briefest suggestion that stealing Pym Particles from Hank in the 1970s could have caused another MCU timeline branch is now unwelcome.
In other words, Marvel has closed the book on Endgame time travel plotholes thanks to the TVA’s assertion that absolutely everything in the Avengers plan happened as intended. It was all part of the Time Keepers’ plan to preserve the main timeline, and thus none of their activities during the time heist can be classed as an abomination, much to Loki’s annoyance. There’s no faulting the general logic for the most part since it fits in with what The Ancient One told Bruce Banner about being able to restore the timeline by returning what was taken (the Infinity Stones), but the rule crucially absolves Captain America’s deviation from the Sacred Timeline of any criminal consideration.
That point on Steve Rogers is the most telling, because even the Avengers considered Cap’s failure to return to the Sacred Timeline after the Stones were replaced in the right periods as a deviation from their agreed plan. Only Doctor Strange could have known that Captain America was going to return to the 1940s after completing his task, given his foresight into the future. But for the TVA, Cap broke no rules, and the timeline branch he created was presumably allowed to exist alongside the Sacred Timeline because it was in service of its preservation. At the very least, the fact that he was able to return from that branch at the end of Endgame confirms that the TVA never sent its hunters after him.
Thanks to Miss Minutes’ presentation to Loki, it’s established that the Multiverse was thrown into disarray by the presence of multiple competing timelines that led to a temporal war of supremacy. While Captain America’s branch added a competing timeline to the mix, the TVA allowing it to exist protects it from any plothole accusations. It’s effectively a Word of God killswitch, even when there are legitimate questions, like why the God of Mischief‘s deviation with the Tesseract is considered a temporal crime in Loki when it was a necessary part of Tony and Steve’s second phase of the time heist. But again, it all comes down to five words: because the TVA said so.