Loki, or not Loki? That was the question for fans when Marvel announced in September 2018 that one of its first series for the Disney+ streaming service would star Tom Hiddleston and be simply titled Loki.
At that point, the last time audiences had seen Loki, he was a little beyond only “mostly dead.” The life had been quite definitively crushed out of him by Thanos, who promised, “No resurrections this time.” How was everyone’s favorite trickster god going to get out of this one?
Well, the thing is, he didn’t — last least that not that version of him. In 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, audiences were presented with a series-birthing possibility when Loki took advantage of a slight hitch in the 2012 portion of the Avengers’ time heist to swipe the Tesseract: He used it to escape custody by vanishing into thin air.
The first trailer for the series, released during Disney’s extensive investors’ presentation on December 10, opens with that scene from the film — confirming that it’s that version of the character that will be seen going forward and explaining how the dead-in-one-timeline Loki could be alive for his own show.
How weird is Loki’s timeline going to get?
It’s a trick the Marvel Cinematic Universe has already pulled once. At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) like Loki, was dead — sacrificed by Thanos on the planet Vormir in order to obtain the Soul Stone. However, by the end of Avengers: Endgame, a version of Gamora that had been brought into the present from the year 2014 is alive and at-large in the galaxy.
That Gamora may have turned on Thanos, but she comes from a time before she joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and so doesn’t recognize them. So, while it would make sense that this Loki, whose escape occurs in 2012, might be a couple of movies behind, that’s probably not going to slow him down.
It’s unclear from the trailer exactly when the new series will take place. We know the Disney+ show involves Loki traveling throughout the new branch timeline he’s created, altering human history. Given the presence of Marvel’s TVA –– the Time Variance Authority, a far-future bureaucracy charged with keeping reality running free of temporal paradox –– it will probably get complicated.
Fans will find out exactly how much so — and who else might be coming back from the MCU’s past – in May 2021, when Loki debuts on Disney+.