Note: this article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
When Tony Stark, Scott Lang, Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner/Hulk travel back to the battle of New York in 2012, their interference means that the then-alive Loki is able to escape with the Space Stone.
Directors the Russo brothers have now explained what happened to the God of Mischief, admitting that Captain America's intent to correct timelines gets a bit complicated.
"The intent was that he was going to correct the past timelines at the point that the stones left," Joe Russo told Business Insider.
"Loki, when he teleports away with the Time Stone, would create his own timeline. It gets very complicated, but it would be impossible for [Cap] to rectify the timeline unless he found Loki.
"The minute that Loki does something as dramatic as take the Space Stone, he creates a branched reality."
Anthony Russo added: "We're dealing with this idea of multiverses and branched realities, so there are many realities."
It all ties in to that Captain America timeline problem too, with Joe explaining: "So he would have to come back to this timeline in order to hand off the shield."
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"There's a question of, how did this separate timeline Cap come to reappear in this timeline and why?" Anthony added – although the directors admitted that was a story for another day.
Still, it seems that the "branched reality" Loki may be the one that we see in his own upcoming standalone Disney+ TV series.
Avengers: Endgame is out now.
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