Let's start out near the beginning of the recent streaming success for the House of Mouse, Loki. We all know the show has concluded and set up what we are now experiencing with What If... but there was a conversation early on that changed everything and it has gone relatively unexplored, until now.
The first time we meet Judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) she is explaining to Loki (Tom Hiddleston) that he has messed with the sacred timeline when he spaced out of Avengers: Endgame and right into his own Disney + series. The god of mischief then says one key sentence that I immediately picked up as a messy bit of plot planning and the only reason I haven't put it out there sooner is that I am new here at Movieweb. The sentence is "I suspect the Avengers...." While he does cover his tracks with the word 'suspect' this is still quite a leap even for Loki. Although Renslayer does readily confirm his suspicions with the words" What they did was supposed to happen." this is still knowledge that Loki shouldn't have. In the moment that launched Loki as a show out of Avengers: Endgame, Loki witnesses a squabble that includes Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) bumping the case that holds the Tesseract. Loki sees this and does put an expression of "Huh?" on his face, but this is a long stretch assuming it was the Avengers behind anything. Loki is smart enough and in the know with universal knowledge to know time travel is not a thing yet and the Loki we know would be mortified that beings he clearly believed inferior would be the ones to come up with time travel.
Let's break this down a little bit and explore some possible options to explain this starting with option numero uno: lazy writing. Let's face it, while Kevin Feige, Louis D'Esposito, and the gang have done a tremendous job getting us to where we are in the MCU, it hasn't been all perfect. There has definitely been some lazy writing along the way. For example, we have known since the first Avengers that Thanos sent Loki to execute the attack on New York. Thanos gave Loki the scepter that enabled him to mind control the likes of Hawkeye and several others. It was revealed in Avengers:Age of Ultron that the scepter contained the Mind Stone. You may ask yourself why this is lazy writing. Well it's quite simple. Why would someone who is bent on acquiring all the Infinity Stones give his only one to someone like Loki, god of mischief, as well as someone who frequently betrays those he works for and with. That doesn't make any sense for what we know now as the full agenda of Thanos. There are, of course, several more examples, but this one is the one I lean on often.
Delving into the second reason, this could be just plain exposition. I won't lie, when the TVA came for Loki at the beginning of the series for disturbing the sacred time line, one of my first thoughts was "Well why weren't the Avengers arrested by the TVA for doing the same thing?" In a way, this quick exchange between Loki and Judge Renslayer does kind of serve as some brief exposition as to why this is the case with Judge Renslayer saying "What they did was supposed to happen." This sets up an entirely new set of problems in itself though. We now know that He Who Remains is a variant of Kang the Conqueror (let's face it, most of us figured out he would be involved as soon as we learned the judges name was Renslayer as Kang and the judge are an item in the comics). Kang is a distant relative of Reed Richards, thus the show Loki has established Reed Richards exists already in the MCU. Kang, Nathaniel Richards, says he organized the sacred timeline to ensure he came to power over other versions, or variants, of himself which probably includes Iron Lad, Kang the Conqueror, Rama Tut, and others. One big glaring reason for the Avengers being 'allowed' to go back in time is Nathaniel knows that although he came to power over the timeline in the universe Earth-199999 (the MCU), he undoubtedly saw the ramifications of Thanos snap and the destruction it caused if it went unchecked. The obvious reason for Richards to allow this to happen in the current timeline is Reed Richards or Sue Storm were either both victims of the snap or one of them was, and if Reed or Sue never exist then neither does Nathaniel. Allowing the Avengers to correct Thanos snap and including this movement in the sacred timeline does mean that yes, one or both were snapped away, but then brought back 5 years later when Professor Hulk brought everyone back with his snap.
The third and final reason is much less likely, but since we are talking about these issues, I do feel the need to include it. This Loki might be yet a variant within a variant. We know that Loki saw no other action before he was picked up by the TVA, meaning the time we ourselves observe Loki spacing out of Avengers: Endgame and the beginning of Loki is instantaneous for Loki, but due to production schedules, a couple years have passed for us. He makes no other stops and is landed right in the middle of the Gobi desert. The accusation he makes though, as explained is pretty forthcoming and out right though as well as being correct. In the brief instant, there is no way he could have obtained this knowledge so where did he get it? This sets up quite a few hypothetical scenarios that I won't go into because they go further and further in depth than we need to go, but still, it is an interesting thought.
Out of all of these scenarios, the most likely is a brief, yet pointed conversation to give us some exposition to explain why the Avengers weren't in court instead of Loki. The show is a glamourous dance that explores several interesting subjects including free will, morality, and even getting into a little bit of what Captain America once told Tony Stark "every time we end a war before it begins, people die, every time. " If for some reason you have been living under a rock and haven't seen Loki yet, catch the full first season now streaming on Disney + and enjoy the series it set up, What If... with the first two episodes now out for our enjoyment.