Victor Timely’s fingerprints are all over Loki season 2, even when he isn’t. As one of the many versions of Kang the Conqueror, Timely immediately feels important to the second season, even before we know it’s his designs that inspired (nay, created?) the Time Loom. Sure, that was by He Who Remains’ design, but still! As we see from his workshop of inventions and the way Miss Minutes tries to come on to him: Timely’s got the juice!
[Ed. note: This post will now spoil the end of episode 4 in some detail, with some speculation of what’s to come. Ye be warned.]
So it’s kind of surprising when, after all the teamwork and effort and Marvel CGI that got him to the TVA with O.B. to build the magic machine that saved the day, he just… spaghetti’d. In just an instant, Timely turns into noodles, and Loki is left dumbstruck, just wondering what the hell they’re going to do without him, while the audience wonders what the heck Loki will do without him.
Still, this season folding in on itself so much has taught us one thing: This moment might have major implications for the space-time continuum. Timely getting the time-space pasta treatment might mean his existence, life, consciousness, or matter has simply been wibbly-wobblied somewhere else. As such, spaghettified Victor Timely might not be gone — or at least, the narrative might not be done with him. So what exactly could have happened to him? Here are our theories.
Theory 1: Victor Timely’s episode 4 fate creates Kang the Conqueror
We know that there are seemingly endless Kangs spread across endless realities, but how did they become… you know, Kang? He comes from the future, so his advanced technology (and his supersuit) can account for many of his powers. And we know he has a genius-level intellect, as shown through Victor Timely’s less-than-timely inventions. But his ability to manipulate time and reality? It’s sometimes attributed to his suit, but I think it’s also a little left open to interpretation.
What if we just saw its origin in Loki? The man was, as many have put it before me, completely and totally spaghetti’d as he approached the Loom and the many different branches of the multiverse. Could his essence have been spread out into the multiverse through the Loom, gaining unexpected powers in the process? Or, even more directly, did this event somehow change the brain chemistry of all other variants across the timelines, due to sheer proximity to those timelines? Could this have been the event that transformed Victor Timely/Nathaniel Richards into Kang the Conqueror? It seems like the kind of thing the MCU would do — they love a grand reveal, after all, and Loki has been asked to be surprisingly load-bearing when it comes to the universe’s next Big Bad. So showing his “origin” of sorts in the series wouldn’t be that much of a stretch. —Pete Volk
Theory 2: Victor Timely is going to go somewhere else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
What little we know about the technobabble of the Time Loom is it’s pulling all the various timelines of the multiverse and getting clogged. But unlike an actual sewing machine, the Loom is just sitting in massive space, pulling in whatever strands get near it. So maybe when Victor turns into strands in the vast vacuum outside the TVA, his remnants just also get sucked up into the Loom, like one giant machine-like wormhole.
From there, Timely could plop out… anywhere! My guess is it doesn’t even have to be anywhere big (or certainly shouldn’t be), like the Battle of New York or the fight against Thanos. It’ll just be a quick little end-credits gag, like the original Guardians of the Galaxy tag with Howard the Duck. Hopefully he lands somewhere he can keep making his little inventions; if not, well, there’s always the next Kang. —Zosha Millman
Theory 3: Victor Timely died!
I think he’s dead. Which would seemingly present a problem to the timeline: If Victor Timely is really the Kang who invented the TVA, then he’d need to have not died before he invented the TVA. Perhaps we’re about to see the fallout of that — two climactic episodes in which all TVA employees wake up in their normal lives on the timeline, because there was never a TVA to pull them out of it. Maybe Mobius would finally get to ride a Jet Ski. Maybe he’d have to choose between Jet Skis and putting the TVA back into existence somehow.
But honestly, causality only seems to exist when Loki wants it to, so who knows! If Timely is dead, there are plenty more Kangs to go around. —Susana Polo
Theory 4: Victor Timely is spaghetti now, period.
My theory is short, uncomplicated, and best summarized through the words of Polygon executive editor Matthew Patches when he’s in dad mode: pasghetti.
That’s right, Victor Timely is not He Who Remains, necessarily, but he is an equally if not even more important variant of Kang: the one who started spaghetti. Inside the walls of the TVA, far outside the bounds of regular time, all spaghetti, and possibly all European noodle shapes in general, were discovered chiefly through the disintegration of Victor Timely. Through his sacrifice, the bright divinity of his newly noodly form will slip into the loom and be dispersed throughout the multiverse, sliding right into the perfect place in each universe’s history to help someone discover the holiest form of pasta sauce delivery: the spaghetti noodle.
Of course, it’s important to remember that Victor is but one man, and his corporeal form is limited by its size, even when stretched by the unstable Loom. This means, tragically, that not every timeline will get to experience the magic of spaghetti. Some lost out on its pasta perfection, because their universe was never delivered a horrifying Cronenberg-esque noodle-shaped piece of a man. But thank God we exist in one that did. —Austen Goslin