The following story contains spoilers for Loki’s Episode 2, titled “The Variant.”
Even now just two episodes in, it’s clear that Loki, the latest Marvel Studios limited series venture from Disney+, is going more the way of WandaVision (in that it’s an expansive, suspenseful, high-concept mystery) than The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (which was more of a straightforward spy thriller). And that means every single little detail in the time-jumping world of Loki can mean something from the past, present, or future of the Marvel Universe. And in Episode 2, that meant that even a big box superstore—here called Roxxcart—represents a Marvel easter egg, and possibly even more for the future.
The episode finds Loki (Tom Hiddleston) getting used to his new role: off his timeline path after being captured by The Avengers in 2012 and escaping with the tesseract (thanks to some meddling from Tony Stark and company in Avengers: Endgame). Loki turns out to have deeper plans, but for now he’s helping Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) and the TVA to track down and capture another variant version of himself that’s waging war on the timeline hundreds of years apart.
Part of the episode’s revelation is that in order to go undetected, the Loki variant being hunted is going to certain moments just before apocalypse events in order to go undetected (because messing with something right before everyone is about to die isn’t changing anything in the grand scheme of things, the episode argues in time-travel logic that someone out there could sure disprove if they so wanted to).
After some nice detective work between Loki and Mobius, they narrow it down to one place: Haven Hills, Alabama, in the year 2050. It’s a (fictional) town owned entirely by the Roxxon Energy Corporation, where there’s a horrible hurricane taking place and people are using the store—a Walmart-esque big box store—as shelter. That store is called Roxxcart, and while the inside looks like your run of the mill big box store, the outside has some Blade Runner-level holograms and visuals happening.
And while here Roxxcart turns out to primarily just be the setting of the series’ first major confrontation—Loki meets this variant version of himself, who may be Lady Loki, or may be…someone else—there’s a lot more too the ‘Roxx’ part of the store’s name. Let’s get into it a bit.
Is Roxxcart in the Marvel Comics?
So, to put it in a quick answer: no. Roxxcart is an invention of the MCU, but it’s still a rather nifty piece of world-building dropped into the Loki episode. When “Roxxcart” is mentioned, no one twitches, questions it, or anything. Roxxcart is a household name, likely in the mold of Walmart or Amazon. Marvel has also set up a Roxxcart website as a piece of viral marketing, but it’s pretty blank so don’t read into it all too much.
The fun thing about Roxxcart, too, is that the name itself is a clear easter egg and reference to the Roxxon Energy Company, which has been a Marvel Comics mainstay for decades, particularly in the last 10-15 years.
OK, so then what is Roxxon?
The Roxxon Energy Corporation is a huge part of the Marvel Comics lore. It first appeared in Captain America #180 back in December of 1974, and has shown up countless times since then. In a nutshell? Roxxon is the Marvel version of an evil corporation, similar to the Tyrell Corporation in Blade Runner or the Weyland-Yutani Corp. in the Alien world. It’s a huge corporation seen to have its hand in numerous operations, chiefly oil and energy resources, but also mining on Mars, and, as we now see in Loki, in shopping and retail.
Roxxon has crossed paths with all sorts of superheroes throughout its history, including Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, and, in more recent years, Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel and the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man.
But the Roxxon corporation has taken on perhaps its biggest role over the last decade in writer Jason Aaron’s version of Thor, which spanned for several years. Roxxon was one of the chief villains of that story, and the company’s new CEO was a man named Dario Agger. Agger is a modern classic Thor villain, and in addition to being a greedy CEO, he also changes from a human to a minotaur at will. When Christian Bale was first cast in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, we speculated that he could perhaps be playing Dario Agger (he is actually playing another creator of the Aaron era of Thor, Gorr the God Butcher).
Has Roxxon been in the MCU before?
It has, and in multiple iterations too.
There’s a Marvel One-Shot titled A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer where Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) stops at a Roxxon gas station on his way to Albuquerque to check out Mjolnir.
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In Iron Man 2, Roxxon appears as a sponsor for a car during the Grand Prix Monaco race sequence.
Roxxon plays a fairly big role (comparatively) in Iron Man 3. At one point, “The Mandarin” (Ben Kingsley) threatens (and apparently follows through) to kill a Roxxon accountant on live TV, claiming that the company spilled a million gallons of oil from their tanker, the Roxxon Norco, and none of the company’s executives faced any criminal charges.
This eventually leads to the final confrontation of the movie, which finds President Ellis kidnapped, and the Roxxon Norco tanker impounded at a shipyard. This is the setting of the movie’s final battle between Tony Stark/Iron Man and underrated villain Killian (Guy Pearce).
Roxxon plays a bigger role in some of the (possibly no longer canon?) Marvel TV shows, popping up in capacities of varying importance in Agent Carter, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Cloak and Dagger, Helstrom, and with brief easter egg references in Iron Fist and Runaways.
We haven’t had a reference to Roxxon in the main MCU in quite a while, though, and considering Thor: Love and Thunder seems to be utilizing Aaron’s Thor run as its primary source—with Jane Foster as Thor and Bale as Gorr the God Butcher—one must wonder if perhaps Roxxon is being primed to feature more prominently in the next Thor film. Time will tell; we can only wait so patiently until its 2022 release.
Is there really a Roxxcart in Haven Hills, Alabama?
Bad news for your MCU photo tour: there’s not a Roxxcart in Haven Hills, Alabama.
There’s also no such place as Haven Hills, Alabama, period. It’s a made up corporate town (where Roxxon owns everything, presumably) for the MCU’s increasingly-dystopian look at the future. So don’t go wrinkling your map look for it—there’s no such place. Maybe some day at Avengers Campus, though.
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