The season finale of Loki made waves across pop culture and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did the episode open up a whole new sector of the MCU with unlimited possibilities, but the end of the episode confirmed that a second season was on the way. In fact, that ending seemed to take a cue from a iconic film, and series producer and finale writer Eric Martin has confirmed that to be the case.
Major spoilers for the Loki finale follow.
Loki Finale Ending
In the final moments of Loki, after the God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston) takes a moment to work through the heartbreak he’s just experienced at the hands of Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), he’s filled with new resolve to help the Time Variance Authority prepare for the impending multiversal war that will be waged by the variants of He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), AKA Kang the Conqueror. But there’s a problem.
When Loki walks up to Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) to warn them of the forthcoming threat to the entire universe, they appear to be confused and panicked about what’s going on. But that’s not just because they’re worried about the news that Loki has given them. It’s because they don’t know who Loki is, meaning Sylvie has (accidentally or purposely?) dropped him into an alternate timeline with a version of the TVA that has never worked with Loki.
Yep, It’s the Planet of the Apes Ending
When Loki realizes that Mobius and D-15 have no idea who he is, he looks out into the atrium of the TVA to see a statue of He Who Remains in place of the Time Keepers. But this statue is one that looks more like the classic comic version of Marvel villain Kang the Conqueror (sans the helmet).
In our round-up of Easter eggs, we assumed this final shot of the Loki finale was a reference to Planet of the Apes, and writer/producer Eric Martin has confirmed that’s exactly what they intended, along with a little Twilight Zone influence as well. Martin said:
“I love old sci-fi. This ending comes straight from those first Twilight Zones and the original Planet of the Apes. Michael Waldron and I wrote A LOT of different versions of the ending. But when this one came out, it just felt right.”
In the classic ending of Planet of the Apes (watch above), Charlton Heston’s character sees half of a rundown Statue of Liberty on the beach and realizes that he’s not on a different planet that’s inhabited by intelligent apes, but rather a conquered version of Earth in the future. Loki‘s ending also has a lot in common with Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes remake, which ends with Mark Wahlberg stumbling upon an ape version of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, but the less we talk about that movie the better.
The Matrix Reloaded
If you watched the Loki finale and also felt like there were some similarities to one of the climactic scenes in The Matrix Reloaded, you’re not alone. We’re talking about how the confrontation between He Who Remains, Loki and Sylvie feels like the scene where Neo meets The Architect and has a load of exposition dumped on him. Martin said:
“The biggest risk was having this entire epic lead to a single conversation. But we just didn’t want to do the expected big battle at the end. And, again, our whole show is about conversations, so it felt like it was in the DNA.”
Even though this scene feels a bit like The Matrix Reloaded, Martin said they tried to avoid echoing that scene as much as possible:
“The obvious concern was that this would all just become the Architect conversation in Matriculates Reloaded. As such, our project took the code name: A warning not to repeat what was done before us.”
Martin is referring to the fact that the working title for Loki during production was “Architect.” Many big blockbuster projects will take on a codename during production so if the set is spotted by an average citizen walking by, they’d have no idea what “Architect” was and wouldn’t stick around to bother the crew and snap spy photos.
Though the Loki finale does feature tons of exposition and the similarities to The Matrix Reloaded are still there, it’s not quite as dense as the conversation Neo has with The Architect. It’s also a lot more fun thanks to Jonathan Majors energetic performance as a ruler who seems right on the edge of insanity.
The entire first season of Loki is streaming on Disney+ right now.
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