The Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to get a lot bigger, with multiple MCU spinoff series planned for Disney’s streaming video service, Disney+. Among the shows will be Loki, a series focusing on the titular Asgardian trickster who’s played a prominent role in the evolution of Marvel’s movieverse.
Tom Hiddleston will reprise his MCU role for the series, according to the latest reports on the show. With the series expected to premiere in 2021, here’s everything we know about Loki so far.
We were all excited by recent news Paul Bettany had to cancel a July comiccon due to WandaVision filming. I've just learned that #Loki and #FalconAndtheWinterSoldier are also expected to continue filming in July. This is a new source for me & I must keep it anon but I believe it! pic.twitter.com/nayj453ZaI
— Liz (@MsLizzieHill) June 5, 2020
According to entertainment reporter Liz Hill, Loki has been cleared to resume filming in July. Disney has yet to confirm this report, however. No word yet on how the production delays will affect the 2021 release date.
New photos from the set of Loki have surfaced, and certainly appear to be teasing a popular premise from the comics. Sophia Di Martino is in a costume that is markedly similar to Loki’s Asgardian garb. Maybe she’s a different character entirely, or maybe she’s the trickster himself, transformed into a woman. In the comics and in Nordic mythology, Loki can change his form — as we’ve seen to in the MCU when he took on the form of Odin to rule Asgard for a time. However, he can also turn himself into a woman. There is no confirmation, but it sure looks like Di Martino’s character may be Lady Loki. See the photos below.
LADY LOKI? pic.twitter.com/mQzocQm7rt
— Marvel News (@BRMarvelNews) March 4, 2020
Loki, Loki, Loki pic.twitter.com/CIl5vsbv14
— ven (@hiddlesgold) March 4, 2020
Super Bowl spot
Disney teased several new series coming to its Disney+ streaming platform, including Loki, WandaVision, and Falcon and Winter Soldier, in a 30-second spot during Super Bowl LIV on February 2. While the Asgardian trickster is only in the spot for a moment, he makes it count with a sinister proclamation: “I’m going to burn this place to the ground.” We also see flashes of a few different logos for the series, an appropriate touch for a character who can multiply himself.
Tom Hiddleston will return to play the trickster god who has been plaguing the MCU for the past decade or so, but he won’t be going on this journey alone.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is the most recent addition to the show, after a Variety report confirmed her casting. As usual with Marvel, details about her character are being kept under wraps.
Zoolander and Wedding Crashers star Owen Wilson will reportedly play an unidentified role in the series, according to Variety. The nature of Wilson’s role is a secret at this point, but if the report proves true, it will be the actor’s first role in a prominent superhero feature.
In November 2019, Variety reported that British actress Sophia Di Martino, best known for the TV show Flowers and Danny Boyle’s Beatles-themed comedy Yesterday, was also in talks to join Hiddleston in Loki.
The identity of Di Martino’s character is also unknown, but it’s expected to be a co-starring role alongside Hiddleston.
During Marvel Studios’ panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2019, the studio revealed its Phase 4 plans for the MCU, which included Loki and other Disney+ projects in addition to its big-screen features.
— Dustin Sandoval (@DustinMSandoval) July 21, 2019
Marvel’s timeline indicates that Loki will debut in spring 2021, at some point between the May 7 theatrical debut of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the summer premiere of Marvel’s What If? anthology series.
Marvel also revealed the official logo for the Loki series during the studio’s Comic-Con panel.
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) July 21, 2019
The logo elicited a polarizing public response, with some praising its asymmetrical design as a reference to the character’s chaotic, mischief-making ways, while others criticized it as one of the few Marvel graphics to miss the mark.
Where (and when) it fits
Loki evolved as a character quite a bit throughout the MCU’s timeline, beginning as the wonderfully entertaining, charismatic villain introduced in 2011’s Thor, only to realize his heroic potential in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. However, Marvel turned back the clock on the trickster in Avengers: Endgame, which had Loki acquire an Infinity Stone just after the events of 2012’s The Avengers and teleport himself to parts unknown.
The Loki series picks up after that point in the MCU timeline, with the title character hopping from one place to another with the powerful artifact — the Infinity Stone known as The Tesseract — and engaging in what’s likely to be all manner of schemes.
“You guys saw Avengers, right? He’s still that guy,” Hiddleston explained to the audience at Marvel’s Comic-Con panel. “And just about the last thing that happened to him was that he got Hulk-smashed, so there’s a lot of psychological evolution that hasn’t happened yet, but [Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige] has generously showed me what his plans are — I can’t tell you any of them — but it is one of the most exciting creative opportunities I think I’ve ever come across.”
Speaking as a guest on the Forever Dogs Podcast in March 2020, showrunner Michael Waldron revealed that the show would hinge on Loki’s “struggle with identity.”
“I think it’s the struggle with identity, who you are, who you want to be,” he said. “I’m really drawn to characters who are fighting for control. Certainly you see that with Loki over the first 10 years of movies — he’s out of control at pivotal parts of his life, he was adopted and everything, and that manifests itself through anger and spite toward his family.”
A question of time
The first image and an early logo for the Loki series were revealed during Walt Disney Company Investors’ Day in June 2019, and they subsequently ended up online (as all things do). Although the updates were intriguing, the most interesting element might be in the background of the photo.
Marvel Studios reveals first look at the new 'Loki' series for Disney+
— Fandom (@getFANDOM) June 9, 2019
The image features Loki star Tom Hiddleston walking down the street during what appears to be 1975 — the year Steven Spielberg’s Jaws hit theaters. This suggests that the rumors of a time-travel element in the series could indeed be true (unless it’s actually a flashback, of course).
This tracks well with an early synopsis for the series that indicated Loki would follow the title character as he “pops up throughout human history as [an] unlikely influencer on historical events.”
How he ends up with the ability to travel through time in addition to teleporting through space remains a mystery.
Behind the camera
Michael Waldron, a writer and producer on the upcoming season of Cartoon Network’s irreverent sci-fi comedy Rick & Morty, will oversee the Loki series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Waldron will write the series pilot, act as showrunner, and serve as executive producer.
Waldron previously developed a pilot for Showtime, and is currently working a series called Florida Man with director Steven Soderbergh.
Updated June 8, 2020: Noted that production will resume in July.
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