[Update: By now you've likely seen Thor: The Dark World which is currently in theaters and now we have a greater idea of where Loki is headed to in the future. Reading ahead will subject you to spoilers for Thor 2.]
In the final months leading up to the early international release of Thor: The Dark World extra sequences were shot to give Tom Hiddleston more screen time, specifically the scene at the beginning where Odin (Anthony Hopkins) sentences him to life in prison. This was done to give a scene where Hiddleston and Hopkins share the screen (they don’t any other time in the film) and to remind fans or newcomers of what Loki did and why he spends his time in the Asgardian dungeons.
Throughout the course of the film, Thor needs Loki’s help to find another way to the other realms without using the Bifrost/rainbow bridge and out of slight sense of obligation and loyalty to Asgard and his mother Frigga, Loki obliges under threat of death should he betray Thor and friends again. In an interesting twist for moviegoers, the film’s primary antagonist Malekith sees Loki betray Thor and cut off his hand but it is all an elaborate move of deception. Loki genuinely displays concern for Thor and Jane Foster, even saving them. But as always, Loki has the bigger picture on his mind and it’s all a part of his larger plans – to gain a throne.
After Malekith is defeated and Thor is ready to become King of Asgard, he instead chooses to remain on Earth with Jane, choosing to be a protector of Earth and the realms, but not as its king – as least, not yet. This, as it turns out, is the reason Loki fights so hard for Jane Foster to survive, him knowing that Jane would make Thor choose Earth over his Asgardian birthright, leaving the throne vulnerable for takeover. The final scene of the film shows Odin begrudgingly letting Thor leave, although it’s not really Odin at all – Loki has usurped him and is currently the ruler of Asgard under the disguise of Odin.
Where is the real Odin? Why is Loki willing to lead under someone else’s face and name? What will he do with the power? We’ve heard repeatedly from Tom Hiddleston himself, The Avengers: Age of Ultron writer/director Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige that Loki isn’t involved at all in the seemingly Earth-only Avengers sequel but we know The Dark World leaves Asgard and its characters in an interesting spot come time for Thor 3 which we expect to see in theaters in 2016. That is where we will see Tom Hiddleston’s Loki once again.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh and written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne, Thor stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Rene Russo, Clark Gregg, Jaimie Alexander, Colm Feore, Tadanobu Asano, Joshua Dallas and Joe Gatt.
Alan Taylor directs Thor 2 off of Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins.
Iron Man 3 is now available on home video, Thor: The Dark World is currently in theaters, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.