Marvel Studios are bringing back the best version of Tom Hiddleston's Loki for their forthcoming Disney Plus TV series. First appearing in 2011's Thor, Loki has experienced one of the most colorful and varied arcs in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Beginning as a despicable, power-hungry villain willing to sacrifice any amount of peasants to achieve his goal, Loki evolves as a character with each appearance before meeting his demise at the hands of Thanos in the opening scene of Avengers: Infinity War.
Despite this apparent end to the character, Marvel Studios announced that a Loki TV series was set to air as part of Disney's forthcoming in-house streaming service, Disney Plus. Hiddleston will be reprising his role as Thor's adopted brother for the project, which will feature Rick & Morty writer, Michael Waldron, as showrunner. Set to premiere in Spring 2021, an official plot synopsis suggests that the God of Mischief will be causing trouble throughout time and space, influencing key historic moments in his own unmistakable style. Marvel have also confirmed that the version of Loki starring in the Disney Plus series will be the one seen in Avengers: Endgame.
In order to reverse the effects of Thanos' snap, the Avengers stage a time heist in Avengers: Endgame, dipping into various points in the timeline to borrow past versions of the Infinity Stones. Seeking to retrieve the Space Stone, then known as the Tesseract, the heroes travel back to the aftermath of the Battle of New York, as seen in the first Avengers movie. Predictably, not everything goes to plan, as the Tesseract finds its way into the hands of Avengers-era Loki, who promptly uses it to escape. The Loki TV series will follow on from these events.
Building a TV series around the 2012 villainous Loki, rather than the modern day version, is a very wise tactic from Marvel for a number of reasons. Firstly, bad Loki is infinitely more fun than antihero, redeemed Loki. After the events of The Avengers, Loki begins a journey of gradual penance, culminating with the end of Thor: Ragnarok, where the two brothers protect Asgard together from their even more bothersome sibling, Hela. Loki's redemption story is immensely satisfying and an engrossing evolution of the popular MCU character, but is also nowhere near as fun as Loki's time as a genuine baddie.
Avengers-era Loki was unpredictable, menacing and conniving and it was impossible to tell exactly how, when and why he was screwing someone over. Combined with Tom Hiddleston's sublime performance, these qualities are what made Loki a fan-favorite of the MCU in the first place. The MCU is sometimes criticized for the strength of its villains, but Loki was a notable exception, and every bit as important to the franchise as Thor, Iron Man and the other original Avengers, stealing virtually every scene he graced. This appeal diminished somewhat when it became clear to the audience that Loki was no longer a threat, and the villain turned into more of a comedic foil.
Bringing back the Loki of 2012 offers the upcoming TV series a blank slate. As engaging as Loki's redemption arc was, Tom Hiddleston's time in the role came to a natural end after being killed by Thanos, with Loki reaching the peak of his potential virtues and completing his multi-film story. Many fans suspected that Loki survived his scrap against Thanos somehow, but to revisit this version of the character would leave the Loki series no room to develop without undoing the progress already made in previous movies.
By focusing on Loki fresh from the Battle of New York, however, viewers will get to see an alternate path for Hiddleston's famously snarky character, free from the influence of both Thor and Thanos, and this is a far more attractive proposition than watching a reformed Loki in a straight-up protagonist role.
Loki premieres in Spring 2021 on Disney Plus.