Even though it’ll be several years before audiences get a sequel to summer 2012’s box office champion, The Avengers, fans of the Marvel cinematic universe have plenty of reason to be excited. Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man are all in active development – with the first two scheduled for release in 2013, the second pair in 2014 (along with a possible Ant-Man release as well).

Of course, few of those films would even be possible if it weren’t for one (evil) man – Loki, played by fan-favorite Tom Hiddleston. The actor, who was recently declared “The World’s Hottest Actor” by Total Film Magazine, is anxiously awaiting the return of his character in Thor: The Dark World and talking up the inner-workings of his Avengers bad guy.

In a conversation with Total Film, Hiddleston was extremely candid about why his Marvel character is more than just a typical comic book “villain” – insight that will, no doubt, lend credence to speculation that the evildoer might have a change of heart in Thor 2:

“Underneath the steely cold veneer of his trickster charm is a certain vulnerability and sensitivity – the wounded fragility of an outcast brother and son. His mind IS a box of cats though! But I love him.”

Unlike some of the Marvel movie bad guys (we’re looking at you Red Skull), Hiddleston has always portrayed Loki as more than just a stock supervillain. Even while perpetuating one unspeakable action after the next (in both Thor and The Avengers), filmmakers Kenneth Branagh and Joss Whedon gave the character room to shock viewers with his vile and thoughtless behavior – paired with a subtle emotional conflict. A conflict that Hiddleston describes as “a well of spiritual pain.”

“He is a combination of mercurial intellectual ability, emotional ambiguity, rakish charm, charisma and provocative wit. He has a wicked inclination to mischief, underneath which is a well of spiritual pain. Both these aspects are central to his depth as a character: his unashamed and perverse delight in creating chaos; and his capacity for raw emotional expression […] And – as my American friends tell me – he’s kind of a badass! He’s one of the richest, most rewarding, most fun characters I’ve ever played.”

Looking back, to the beginning of the superhero craze, it might have been hard to imagine an accomplished actor (War Horse, Midnight in Paris) describing a Marvel villain as “one of the richest, most rewarding, most fun characters I’ve ever played.” However, it’s been especially interesting to see Hiddleston develop Loki over the course of two films (even more than some of the core Avengers heroes). As mentioned, Loki’s character arc will continue in the upcoming sequel Thor: The Dark World – and Hiddleston is eager to get started (even if he is tight-lipped on details):

“I don’t want to give too much away. But I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Alan Taylor’s vision of Thor 2 is utterly brilliant. The journey continues in the most epic dimension and proportion imaginable. It’s very, very exciting.”

As we’ve talked about in previous coverage, iconic Thor foe Malekith (likely played by Doctor Who and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra‘s Christopher Eccleston) is expected to be the central bad guy in Thor: The Dark World – which should mean “epic” altercations on Earth and in Asgard. In addition, insider speculation (along with comments from Frigga actress Rene Russo) suggest that an offer from Malekith will also give Loki an opportunity to redeem himself – or fall even deeper into villainy.  Very exciting, indeed.

Do you want to see Loki redeem himself or become an even darker movie villain?

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Thor: The Dark World as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Thor: The Dark World is slated for release on November 8th, 2013.

Source: Total Film