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Loki: What you need to know before watching Marvel’s Disney+ series

Everyone’s favorite god of mischief is set to return in Loki, the next live-action series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Premiering June 9 on the Disney+ streaming service, Loki brings Tom Hiddleston back as the Asgardian trickster last seen in Avengers: Endgame and sets him on a time- and space-traveling adventure certain to test both his formidable talents and his questionable moral compass.

It’s been more than two years since Endgame hit theaters, so we could all use a little refresher when it comes to our last encounter with Thor’s troublemaking adopted brother. Here’s everything you need to know before watching the Loki series.

Note: Discussion of plot points from prior Marvel Cinematic Universe movies will occur from this point forward, so consider this a spoiler warning.

Loki in Thor Ragnorok
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Once a trickster…

In the MCU, Loki is the adopted brother of Thor, who he has long resented for his punch-first, question-later approach to life and his seemingly favored status in the eyes of their father, Odin. Preferring strategy and deception to brute force, Loki is a shape-shifter capable of taking on the appearance and voice of others, and although he’s also a skilled fighter — having trained and battled alongside Thor on many occasions — he often uses his abilities to trick Thor and other heroes in order to gain power and status.

Hiddleston first appeared as Loki in 2011’s Thor, with the god of mischief living up to his name by enacting a scheme to have Thor banished to Earth so he can usurp the throne of Asgard. He seemingly perished after his plan was foiled, only to return in 2012’s The Avengers with a mind-controlling Infinity Stone and an alien armada primed to invade Earth. Once again, his plan was foiled, but not until after he used the Tesseract — another Infinity Stone — to briefly open a portal into deep space for the alien invaders. He was finally beaten by the Avengers (mainly Hulk) and taken into custody at the end of the film.

Subsequent MCU films set Loki on a redemptive journey that had him ally with Thor on various occasions, rescue a ship full of Asgardians from the destruction of their planet, and ultimately sacrifice himself to save Thor, Hulk, and many Asgardians from the cosmic conqueror Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.

Marvel Studios' Loki | Official Trailer | Disney+

Rewind and play again

Loki’s story arc got a reboot of sorts in Avengers: Endgame, which had Earth’s heroes travel back through their own timeline in order to pluck the various Infinity Stones from history and reset Thanos’ universe-changing actions at the end of Infinity War. Their travels through time weren’t without a few missteps, though — including an accident that sets up the events of Loki.

In Endgame, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) travel back to 2012 and attempt to steal the Infinity Stone that Loki used to open a portal for the alien armada, arriving just after the trickster god is defeated. Their plan backfires, and in the commotion, Loki acquires the powerful artifact and escapes through a portal to an unknown location.

His whereabouts and actions after that point are currently unknown, as his encounter with the Infinity Stone effectively rebooted his story and created an entirely new timeline for him after the events of The Avengers. All of the experiences that set him on a redemptive path, beginning with Thor: The Dark World and running through the remainder of the MCU — including Thor: RagnarokInfinity War, and Endgame — have now been erased, leaving his current status in Marvel’s interconnected universe unknown.

Basically, Loki will now offer a new timeline of events for the character after The Avengers.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

God, fugitive … hero?

According to Marvel’s synopsis of the series, Loki is expected to have his space-hopping adventure curtailed by the Time Variance Authority, an agency tasked with preserving the timestream. This alternate version of Loki threatens the fabric of time and space with his mischievous machinations, so he’s given a choice: Be erased from existence or use his talents to help the agency “fix” other threats to the timeline.

And that appears to be where (and maybe more importantly, when) we find Loki when the series begins.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Familiar faces, new faces

So far, the only MCU actor confirmed to return for the first six-episode season of Loki is Hiddleston, but given the character’s affinity for changing his appearance, there’s a good chance Hiddleston won’t be the only actor to play the show’s titular trickster.

Among the other confirmed Loki cast members are Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Wunmi Mosaku, who play various agents in the TVA. Actors Sophia Di Martino, Richard E. Grant, Sasha Lane, Erika Coleman, and Eugene Cordero are also confirmed cast members in the series, but their roles haven’t been identified.

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