by Paul Deeter
It's April 5th and we're luckily just shy of April Fool's Day. If a Marvel announcement was set for some sort of prank, oh boy, there might have been a nerd reckoning. So this morning, through a shared link from my brother, I was lucky to catch the newest Marvel Studios' project trailer, for Loki. This series, which was announced back in November 2018, has had its fair share of rumors and murmurs through the grapevine but what the studio had left us with for over two years was a title, with a particularly clever font. While some fans of the MCU on the Internet took to making memes about the play on font-type with the series title, others took it to mind to question whether or not it was a clue as to the mixed bag of surprises we might expect from this series. After all, we are watching a full show with our favorite Marvel trickster, who in this newly dropped trailer jokingly questions why nobody can seem to trust him. And it's through his tricks that worked the character's way into our heart, after a bumpy start in 2011's Thor as the jaded brother to our lead's heroic arc, we get him a solid role in 2012's The Avengers by Joss Whedon. While the film has gone on to some degree of disdain over time and is certainly outshadowed by almost every other Marvel project since, Loki gets a fair shake here at the villain role. He's got some major charisma which works his way into leading an army and almost ending the world. And because of his overall charm and wit, we somehow call back on him to be our sidekick time after time over the next 8 years of Marvel films. Literally a year after his attack on Thor and the gang, Thor asks for Loki's help in 2013's Thor: The Dark World (underrated in my opinion) and is responded to with this smarmy reply: "you must be truly desperate to come to me for help." And yeah, pretty much that's the case for a lot of movies to come.
Part of me would argue that the overall talent Loki's Tom Hiddleston brings to his role is part of why he keeps getting attention project after project from the MCU. Hiddleston was a mostly underknown UK actor until his casting in Thor and ever since has commercially and critically succeeded in roles inside and outside the MCU. It was only inevitable too, with the MCU's decision to work with Disney Plus+ on future series put out by the studio rather than sticking only to big budget movie theater releases, that a fan-favorite like Loki would get his chance back in the sun. Afterall his final line in Avengers: Infinity War was "I assure you brother, the sun will shine on us again." (I get chills still.) I should also note, after a brief discussion with my mother on the status of Loki, he was killed off just like Vision was in Thanos' bloody path to peace in the same film. However just like Vision is quoted saying something to the effect of having 'said goodbye to Wanda before, they may yet say hello again', what is dead is never truly dead in Marvel just as it was in Game of Thrones. So let's grab some popcorn, replay the Loki trailer for a 616th time and talk theories!
Why is Loki back, and how?
This may not come to as much surprise to hardcore Marvel fans, but in Avengers: Infinity War we do see Loki dead by Thanos' hand in the introduction to the movie. (No more tricks). However, when the post-snap Avengers go on their time heist, they return to 2012 to retrieve the Tesseract which has the space stone inside of it. Their mission is less than successful though, at least in 2012 when they return to the arrest of Loki and retrieval of the stone near the end of the original movie. Some goofiness ensues including the greatest scene of all time in cinematic history: when Captain America fights Captain America. However, due to a slip of the hand, 2012's Loki manages to get a hold of the Tesseract, and create a wormhole to escape New York. It's here that we can assume 2012 Loki becomes the existing Loki, as it's put in the Marvel Cinematic Fandom Wiki:
Loki took the Tesseract and used it to open a portal and escape his confinement. After Thor managed to reboot Stark's Arc Reactor, he turned his back to see that Loki was already gone. Teleporting away with the Space Stone, Loki created a branched reality in the alternate timeline.
Just like Cap goes back to enjoy life as Steve Rogers, Loki has control of his timeline again, but who's to say what he does with it.
2. Who is Mobius, and what is the Time Variance Authority?
This one stumped me so I did some research. The TVA for short is defined as follows by Marvel.com :
The Time Variance Authority (TVA) is an agency concerned with monitoring realities throughout the multiverse and attempting to keep temporal interference to a minimum. They operate from the Null-Time Zone dimension, in which time cannot be interfered with...
So basically, time traveling is a big no-go in the Marvel Universe, but it seems that the TVA has gone unmentioned for over 12 years of Marvel. And while this wasn't all time shenanigan based, why now? Well TVA and its chief executive Mobius, played by Owen Wilson (wow), seem to take concern with Loki, perhaps after years of keeping tabs on him. The TVA are in full control of forces including the Minutemen, and have kept tabs on lots of characters from the Fantastic Four through the X-Men over the course of their canonical existence starting in 1986 in Thor issue #371. Again, I have to ask what took so dang long for them to step in? Knowing they've worked against some of Marvel's prolific heroes and slapped a big no-no on their time travel, it seems like the biggest fish to fry on their plate would be about the Time Heist. Time will tell (hehe) their role in monitoring Loki or working with him, but I'm excited.
3. Is Loki a prisoner again?
It can be argued, since Mobius claims Loki has meddled too far with the Tesseract and mucked up time's flow, that Loki is more of a teammate for the TVA than anything else. And in his long history of being recruited and then betraying our protagonists, it's inevitable that Loki will sneak his way out of any sort of partnership at some point. In the trailer alone, Loki asks if he will get any weapons in his missions to which Mobius says no. Then in about ten seconds later he's duel wielding daggers, so that lasted long. He's also quoted as saying "I'm ten steps ahead of you", but does get caught off guard at the pointy end of sticks in a few shots of the trailer. Perhaps Loki will meet his match, or be neutered enough to work with the association rather than run his own ship. Too early to say!
4. Has Loki literally stabbed people in the back 50 times?
In an attempt to curry favor with Mobius while sitting down in some space diner, Loki argues that Mobius should trust him more. Mobius says Loki has literally stabbed people in the back 50 times over the course of his detailed analysis of Loki's life. I mean they would know right? Is this a jest though, or is it true? Well for one we know that Loki stabbed Thor when they were children because in Thor: Ragnarok Thor retells the story of Loki "disguising as a snake and then stabbing Thor". Seems like a pretty dysfunctional family! But that being said, TVA would know Loki's everything having written down every line he has ever spoken. So let's see some flashbacks STABBY STABBY!!
5. Will we see Steve Rogers again? Or worse, Thanos?
Nothing ever truly dies in the MCU. We shall see.