With WandaVision revealing just how expansive and stylish Marvel Studios’ series on Disney+ can be — and with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier shedding a light on some sociopolitical intrigues of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s primary Earth — attention is beginning to turn toward Loki for the next level of Multiversal madness. But what is it all about? How can Loki (Tom Hiddleston) star in his own series? While some of those answers are still lost in the mists of the Nine Realms, we have some idea of what the show will be thanks to trailers, casting choices, and some pre-release marketing. So let’s take a look at what we know about Loki so far.
[Updated on 5/5/21 – Scroll to the end for new info.]
(Photo by ©Paramount Pictures)
As it happens, Loki was one of the earliest reported series planned for Disney+ alongside the programs that became WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Solider. Like those series, the intent was to focus on characters who appeared in the films but generally supported the main Avengers cast. It is still the guiding principle as series like Hawkeye and Secret Invasion will promote supporting players to lead roles. But Loki never quite fit the “supporting character” mold, as he is as much a star attraction in the Thor movies as the God of Thunder himself. Some would even argue Loki is the main draw of those films.
To recap, the character is Asgardian prince Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) adoptive and quarrelsome brother. He also happens to be the son of the Frost Giant king Laufey. As we meet the pair, Loki engineers a plan to get Thor exiled so he can become Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) heir apparent. Things do not go as planned, and after Thor throws him off the Rainbow Bridge connecting Asgard to the other realms, he meets Thanos (Josh Brolin) and joins the quest for the Infinity Stones. He quickly locates the Space Stone on Earth and plans another scheme to recover it while laying waste to the planet.
This also goes awry with Thor taking him back to Asgard in shackles. But his knowledge of the other ways in and out of Asgard come in handy when the Dark Elves invade and Thor must spirit Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) out of the realm. Loki seemingly dies during the adventure, but it later turns out he took advantage of the situation to assume Odin’s identity and run Asgard his way.
(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)
It turned out to be a mistake as it allowed Hela (Cate Blanchett) to escape her confinement and absolutely wreck the party Loki started in Asgard. After a tense conversation with her, both he and Thor would end up on Sakar, where they eventually agree to join forces and stop Hela. Although, in order to do it, Asgard is destroyed.
Soon after, Loki dies at the hands of Thanos, who was mighty angry that he never returned with the Space Stone. And, now that we think about, he also had the Mind Stone (hidden in a scepter) in a transfer of weapons that never quite made sense.
Charting the course of Loki’s story across the Marvel Cinematic Universe films is important because, despite often faking his death, that Loki is still dead, and his journey is seemingly over.
(Photo by Marvel Entertainment)
The Disney+ series will presumably revolve around the Loki we saw escaping with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame. In this series, Hiddleston is playing a version of Loki who is much angrier, more obviously villainous, and still ready to hand the Space Stone over to Thanos. Well, maybe. As a trickster, he probably always planned to keep it just out of the Mad Titan’s reach. According to some reports, his plan is to use the Infinity Stone to alter human history.
But the teaser Disney and Marvel released last December complicates this notion with the program’s apparent status quo – a notion amplified by April’s full trailer. Loki is now the guest of the Time Variance Authority, an organization devoted to keeping the timelines (and the Multiverse) secure. Loki’s theft of the Tesseract at the moment seen in Endgame is an aberration of the timeline and must be corrected. Being the God of Mischief, though, it is easy to see how he would confound the TVA. Less clear, though, is how this conflict would send him careening through time.
Although, we have a couple of guesses…
Joining him on this journey are actors like Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, Sasha Lane, Erika Coleman, and (for a single episode) Richard E. Grant. Wilson plays Mobius M. Mobius, a TVA middle manager dedicated to getting the truth out of Loki. The others, like Mbatha-Raw’s Judge Renslayer and Mosaku’s Hunter B-15, will meet Loki as he enters TVA processing and Mobius selects him for a perilous mission. Or does Loki volunteer to atone for his crimes? Apparently stuck in a thriller of his own making, Loki is both cop and criminal. It is a Scanner Darkly–like situation that somehow leads him to become infamous 1970s hijacker D.B. Cooper.
There is still the possibility, of course, that the Loki we’ve come to know and love may have cheated death again and is playing a game with his time variant. It would not be the first time Loki (at least in the comics) has faced himself in a battle of wits. But what end would it serve the Prime Loki to have a variant of himself running loose?
Well, it would be mischievous for a start.
(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)
But with the Space Stone seemingly in TVA custody (note the TVA operative holding the Tesseract early in the April trailer), it would seem the series will also concern itself with some unfinished business from the Infinity Saga – namely, the Hulk’s (Mark Ruffalo) promise to return the Stones to their rightful place in time. As the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) warned him, keeping the Stones (or misplacing them) would cause the creation of aberrant timelines which would unleash their own horrors. A deleted Endgame scene offered a glimpse of a reality in which Dormammu could not be bargained with, for example. And in the December teaser, we got a glimpse of a completely devastated New York.
But then, as we are presumably dealing with a younger version of Loki, would he have the empathy to care about such things?
As the TVA’s jurisdiction extends into the Multiverse, it is possible these scenes of devastation occur in realities other than the MCU we’re used to. If this is the case, Loki may be the series to most thoroughly cover the nature of a Multiverse, which will matter to Marvel films fairly soon. In fact, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige already confirmed the events of the series, like those of WandaVision, will spill into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — a project that now seems poised to fill the role of an Avengers film in Phase 4 of the MCU.
(Photo by Marvel Entertainment)
And while we’re talking connections, there’s that brief glimpse in the April trailer of Loki seemingly entering the Soul Space and talking to Black Widow. Of course, that could easily be as much of a distraction as all the talk of Mutants appearing on WandaVision. Meanwhile, the inclusion of Judge Renslayer in the series may lead to a connection with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania villain Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), as her comic book counterpart has a history with the time-travelling despot.
Then there is, of course, the person who actually went back in time to put the Stones back where they belong. Now, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) definitely put the Space Stone that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) retrieved from the 1970s back in place, but would he feel honor-bound to recover the one Loki stole during their first attempt to get the Tesseract after the Battle of New York? Maybe that’s a question for the second season. Speaking of which…
(Photo by Jasin Boland/©Marvel/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Although initially announced to be a limited series like WandaVision and TFaTWS, Loki appears to have lied about its status as a miniseries. Instead, plans are already underway for a second season of the program. Such a change is consistent for the character and an alteration Hiddleston could definitely live with. Part of the original appeal in making the first Marvel Studios shows limited was allowing the actors to have maximum flexibility in their schedules. But Hiddleston is no stranger to shooting television and fitting the format’s demands into his acting calendar. In fact, out of all the Avengers actors to appear in a Marvel TV series, he would seem to be the most game to continue.
And why not? The fans love him as Loki. He clearly loves playing the part, too – just look up that video of his appearance as Loki at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con to see the glee on his face while wearing the horns (figuratively, anyway). Also, since he will once again be the more devious and callous version of the character (presumably), we get to experience him becoming an anti-hero (or is that anti-villain?) in a whole new way. That certainly makes Loki a series worth watching when its six-episode first season debuts in June.
On May 5, 2021, Marvel released a new teaser and, more importantly, an announcement video featuring Hiddleston out of character and addressing the audience. In the latter, Hiddleston interrupts a series of iconic superhero props — Cap’s shield, Iron Man’s mask, Mjolnir — to introduce himself and lament the way Loki is often sidelined in similar montages. He concludes by stating, “Wednesdays are the new Fridays,” after which the video reveals Loki’s premiere date has been moved up a couple days from Friday, June 11 to Wednesday, June 9. New episodes will drop every Wendesday thereafter, breaking the pattern set by WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He’s a tricky one, that God of Mischief.
Season 1 of Loki will premiere on June 9, 2021 on Disney+.