The Time Variance Authority in the Disney+ series Loki has a weird vibe going on. Yes, it has a familiar bureaucratic feel, but it still feels a little bit off and out of this reality (which, it is). The show creators intentionally made the TVA feel this way, and used obvious and tiny touches to create its odd ambiance.
One of those small touches is Mobius’ (Owen Wilson) favorite drink: Josta soda. Josta was a real product from the ‘90s, and it had a tumultuous, short-lived life in our reality. Mobius, however, is a diehard fan — could his predilection for it tells us something about him? Read on for the true history of Josta, as well as a speculative take on why Mobius likes it so much.
Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda
Josta is a PepsiCo creation and was America’s first energy drink. It apparently had a fruity taste and included guarana, a caffeinated plant extract that people use for pretty much everything, including as an aphrodisiac.
Those properties of guarana could have played a part in the first so-called energy drink’s ad campaign. When the soda launched in 1995, PepsiCo gave the soda the tagline “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” and commercials for the beverage featured old men opining about how they wish they had partied harder with all the hot chicks when they were young.
PepsiCo didn’t create Josta, however, because they believed in guarana’s alleged miraculous properties. The maple sugary beverage was in direct response to the soda battle they were having with Coca-Cola. The soda battle was a fraught one, and Josta was one of many casualties.
Josta’s other slogan was, “better do the good stuff now.” For Josta drinkers, that catchphrase became sadly relevant when PepsiCo discontinued the drink in 1999, just four years after its introduction. A small contingency of hardcore Josta drinkers are still petitioning to get the drink back. For now, however, it only exists in our memories and on Disney+’s Loki.
Mobius — the New Spokesperson for the Discontinued Soda?
Which brings us to Mobius. The TVA agent contains multitudes (his fervent passion for the jet ski, for example, boggles the mind), and his laid-back demeanor clashes with the intense Josta brand. Why does Mobius like this drink, a beverage that has such a short life on the Sacred Timeline, so much? Jet skis and Josta — two items popular in the ‘90s — do seem to go together, after all. Maybe Mobius is obsessed with the 1990s and chugs Josta to remind him of that decade? Or maybe there was once a branch where Josta was the Coca-Cola of the world, and Mobius became obsessed with it before he reset the timeline. Or maybe Mobius really, really, likes guarana.
Whatever the reason, we see Mobius drinking Josta in the first two episodes of Loki, which certainly suggests he imbibes it on the regular. Will his informal sponsorship bring back the soda for us in the real world? There are tens of old Josta drinkers who would love that, I’d wager, but that decision rests in PepsiCo’s – and potentially the Loki marketing team’s – hands.
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