So far this year, Marvel Studios has taken us on an emotional journey with its first two Disney+ shows. We cried as we witnessed Wanda’s grief take over a whole town in WandaVision, and cheered as Sam Wilson revealed himself as the next Captain America. The MCU’s Phase four has well and truly begun, so what next do they have in store for us?
Put simply: Loki. Everyone’s favourite anti-hero and God of Mischief is back from the dead (sort of) to bring chaos to the MCU once more. He is joined by a new cast of characters, including Owen Wilson as Agent Mobius. Wondering what the heck is going on? Here’s everything you need to know about Loki as he heads to Disney+.
Who is Loki?
Underneath the familiar horned helmet is Tom Hiddleston as Loki, the God of Mischief. He’s charmed his way across the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the past ten years, coming up against the Avengers, Thanos and even his own families (it’s complicated). He’s the adopted son of Odin, King of Asgard, whose MCU story began when his brother Thor was named the heir to their father’s throne.
That didn’t exactly go well for the Odinsons, leaving Thor banished to Earth and Loki wreaking havoc across the nine realms. He opened up a portal in New York, bringing an alien army to conquer Earth. Eventually, Loki faked his death to take the Asgardian throne whilst disguised as his father. So, all in all, some pretty messed up stuff.
After going full circle, gaining redemption, Loki sacrifices himself to save Thor and dies at the hands of Thanos during the first scene of Avengers: Infinity War.
So Loki is Dead?
Yes. He may be the master of resurrections, but this time he is actually dead; even Thanos confirmed it himself: “No resurrections this time,” Thanos proclaimed, as he choked the life out of Loki, snapping his neck and throwing him at the feet of a helpless Thor. Even for the God of Mischief, there is no coming back from that.
Or is there?
This is where things get weird (Because they’re entirely normal up until now). During Infinity War’s sequel, Avengers: Endgame, the surviving Avengers travelled back to specific moments in time to retrieve the Infinity Stones and use them to undo Thanos’ snap. One of the moments the Avengers needed to return to was New York, 2012. That specific moment placed 3 Infinity Stones in one place.
In 2012, Loki was still going through his ‘evil tyrant’ phase, attempting to rule Earth as their king alongside his alien army, which he brought in through a portal. In his possession was the Tesseract, a cube that contained the Space Stone; it was this that the time-travelling Avengers were after. During a scuffle in the lobby of Avengers Tower, the Tesseract lands at a defeated Loki’s feet. Ever the opportunist, he picks it up and uses it to vanish, and that is the last we see of him.
This creates a Loki variant and a new timeline where he is alive, but it also puts him on the radar of the Time Variance Authority and straight to the top of their most-wanted list.
The Time Variance Authority?
Yes, that’s right, the Time Variance Authority or TVA for short, are at the centre of the plot of the series. The TVA is a bureaucratic organisation that protects the “proper flow of time”. It’s safe to assume that Loki doesn’t conform to their protocols at all.
The series will see the TVA take Loki into custody to use him to solve a serious crime and help fix the timeline he damaged when he escaped with the Tesseract. Loki must work alongside Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius, and with all the new branch timelines created, the pair will have plenty to keep them busy across six episodes. But how will Loki fare, given his previous history of not being good at following orders?
So is Loki good or bad?
It’s hard to tell, given the characters complex history. Loki has never been strictly one or the other; he’s more of a grey character, operating somewhere in the middle. One minute he’s hatching a plot to take over the human race, the next, he’s sacrificing himself to save his brother.
We know, though, that the Loki variant we get in the series hasn’t been on the same emotional journey or character development as the Loki who sacrificed himself in Infinity War. This Loki is fresh from causing carnage in Manhattan, defeated by Thor and the Avengers. This means it’s safe to assume that this Loki is back to his villainous best and that the series is an excellent opportunity for character development we haven’t seen before.
Who else is set to appear in the series?
Joining the MCU is Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer, a judge in the TVA, and Wunmi Mosaku, who plays Hunter-B15, a badass hunter, determined to delete the Loki variant. Sophia Di Martino, and Sasha Lane are cast in undisclosed roles, with the former rumoured to be playing a version of Lady Loki. Richard E. Grant is also cast and could play an older version of Loki.
Episode 1 of Loki lands exclusively on Disney+ on June 9th, with new episodes hitting the streaming service every Wednesday.