After 2013's Thor: The Dark World it could be a while before Hiddlestoners get their next fix of lovable Loki action. This week saw the official unveiling of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and while a third Thor movie (titled Thor: Ragnarok) was announced, it's not going to hit theaters until July 2017. Fans can see Chris Hemsworth and his long golden locks next summer in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but for this Avengers team-up, Tom Hiddleton's trickster Loki isn't part of the story as Ultron (James Spader) takes over the part of primary antagonist.
During the Marvel Studios fan and media event last week at Los Angeles where all of these announcements were made, producer Kevin Feige did however, also confirm that Loki will indeed be back for Thor: Ragnarok even if it was to be expected given how The Dark World concluded with Loki taking the throne of Asgard.
What sends Thor back to Asgard during or after Age of Ultron we have to wait to find out, but the bigger question with regards to Hiddleston's role in Phase 3 is simply about what Loki wants. Daddy issues aside, all of his actions point towards the trickster's desire to simply rule. He wanted Asgard and was jealous of his brother in the first Thor, then he seemingly wanted Earth when he attacked with the Chitauri army and support of Thanos in The Avengers. After that, in The Dark World he did end up getting the throne of Asgard once again although under the disguise of his adoptive father, Odin.
Of course, it's not that simple. Loki owes Thanos big time and Thanos always collects. As we now know officially, the scepter he was given by Thanos and used in The Avengers does in fact house one of the six Infinity Stones (the Mind gem) and Thanos wouldn't give that out easily. My thinking, and something we talked about on the latest episode of the Screen Rant Underground podcast, is that getting Loki back to Asgard and back in charge was part of a larger master plan. Thanos needs all the gems and the golden gauntlet that houses them. At least one of those gems (the Tesseract aka the Space Gem) are in Odin's Vault on Asgard and I would expect Thanos might be heading to the realm to collect.
That might not happen until after the events of Ragnarok however, a story from Marvel Comics we had a good feeling was going to be adapted in Thor 3 before Thor 2 even hit theaters thanks to some hints from The Dark World producer Craig Kyle - who just so happens to be helping write the script for Thor: Ragnarok. That story might explore an apocalyptic event that ends Asgard. Don't worry though, according to Yahoo! (we've not been able to verify because this wasn't confirmed at the event), Tom Hiddleston will be back again for the two-part The Avengers: Infinity War story afterward, meaning our theory above about him being potentially involved in Thanos acquiring the Gauntlet might be reserved until the first part of Avengers: Infinity War.
It's easy to see why the somewhat sympathetic but always entertaining Loki is such a fan-favorite character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it's a good thing for the franchise to have notable villains with depth and who can reappear throughout the years. If the next Thor, potentially the last solo feature for Chris Hemsworth, takes its cues from the comics then we could be seeing Loki teaming up with Surtur, the leader of the Fire Demons of Muspelheim (from Norse mythology). In the books, Loki actually teams with Malekith (Thor: The Dark World's villain played by Christopher Eccleston) to free Surtur.
Ragnarok representing the "end of all things," more Loki, and a movie that Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige says will "take Thor to another level" like The Winter Soldier did for Captain America and "impact everything to come afterward." Excited? There's more...
*Potential spoilers ahead for The Avengers: Age of Ultron*
Here's the twist and potential spoiler. Idris Elba, who plays Asgardian guard Heimdall in the Thor movies, let slip to The Telegraph the he has a scene in The Avengers: Age of Ultron with Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Tom Hiddleston's Loki... so you may get the God of Mischief much sooner than expected. And if true, this was what Kevin Feige was referring to this week when teasing that Thor: Ragnarok "picks up right where we leave [Thor] in Avengers 2." Of course, a year ago Hiddleston said that Loki would not be appearing in The Avengers 2 so plans have changed or he's keeping a secret. Or both.
Does Heimdall reach out to Thor and let him know of Loki's actions? What do you think brings Thor back to Asgard?
Check out our previous exploration of the past, present and future of Tom Hiddleston's Loki.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2 on May 3 2019.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!