The Maker of Mischief, Prince of Lies, Son of Secrets, Tom Hiddleston — Loki Laufeyson is known by many names. Prior to his appearance in the MCU however, very few knew anything of this horned trickster, other than comic fans or Norse mythology nerds.
Today, we know him best as the treacherous but still very likable brother of Thor, who very nearly conquered both New York City and Asgard with his really good hair. But did you know he also likes to cross-dress, is a pansexual and almost looked a lot like Jim Carrey?
The adopted son of Odin and jealous brother of Thor, Loki most often plays the role of villain endlessly scheming to overthrow his homeworld and make his brother look like a fool. He may have connived his way into the mainstream during 2011’s Thor, but he has actually been pulling tricks in the Marvel Universe ever since 1962’s Journey into Mystery #85.
This means there is still plenty up this sorcerer’s sleeve to surprise even the most well-informed of Asgardians, and prove he is far more than just a walking tyrannical inferiority complex in a Viking helmet.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Thor‘s Loki.
15. He Originally Had Red Hair and No Connection to Thor
As we said, the modern day incarnation of Loki debuted in Journey into the Mystery #85 when he revealed as Thor’s half-brother and began a long tradition of trying to kill Thor and play with his cool hammer.
His cosmic meddling would famously a few years later, similar to his role in the MCU, cause the formation of the Avengers. However, Loki appeared in comics well before any of that and actually predates the earliest of Marvel’s heroes by over ten years.
Sporting a red crew cut and pink costume (outfitted with epic shoulder pads) the God of Mischief’s first true appearance came in 1949’s Venus #6. Published by Timely Comics — the future Marvel – this comic series followed the romantic adventures of the Greek Siren Venus which naturally brought her into contact with some of mythologies greatest characters.
For his part, Loki is depicted as the ruler of Hades, having nothing to do with his Norsian background or Asgardian lineage. When comics made way for the era of superheroes, Loki was reimagined by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as the trickster we all know and sneer at today.
14. His Father is Actually His Mother
As we will find out later on, Loki’s history is ripe with gender swapping and confusing sexual proclivities. Apparently he inherited all that from his biological father — or should we say mother. It’s tough to say. One thing is for sure, it is no wonder why Loki is so screwed up.
Though the adopted son of Odin, Marvel’s Loki Laufeyson is not actually an Asgardian. His biological father is, as his last name suggests, Laufey. But is he really? According to North mythology Laufey is actually a female and therefore the mother of Loki.
To confuse things even more, the gender of his mother has also been switched. His mother Farbauti is not a she but a he and goes by Farbaut, quite contrary to what Marvel would have us, or Loki, believe.
13. He is a Tiny Frost Giant
Anyone who has seen the first Thor film might recall that Loki’s real father — Laufey — is the king of the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. These monstrous beasts are on average around 25 feet tall and covered in ice and snow — not exactly a spitting image of Loki.
His mother Farbauti, who has yet to appear in either the comics or films, was also a Frost Giant. So it would figure their son would probably look like them, right? As it turns out Loki was the runt of the litter being unusually small, much to the chagrin of both his parents.
12. He Has Been a Woman
One of Loki’s more interesting party tricks is his ability to shapeshift. Pigeons, tigers, Anthony Hopkins, there is really no limit to things he can transform into. By far the craziest though was when he turned himself into a full-fledged woman.
There’s actually a precedent for this. In Norse mythology Loki spent 8 years living as a milkmaid and gaving birth to several kids. Never one to let a creepy storyline slip by, Marvel decided to adapt it on several occasions.
In 2014’s Loki: Agent of Asgard, he had a field day going back and forth between being a man and a woman to keep everyone on their toes. In another storyline from Mighty Avengers he pretended to be Scarlet Witch for awhile.
Even more shocking was during Secret Invasion: Dark Reign when Loki inhabited the body of Lady Sif, who was dating Thor at the time. It was all a deviously evil ploy to take the throne of Asgard and presumedly trick Thor into sleeping with his own brother. There are probably better ways to go about gaining power, but to each their own.
11. He is Dead
The Loki of the big screen so brilliantly portrayed by Tom Hiddleston is in fact dead in the comics. It occurred during 2010’s Siege story arc where Loki manipulates an all-out assault on Asgard, which at the time is located within the United States.
Confusing for sure, but all that really matters is at the climax of the attack Sentry flips out into his psychopathic uberpowered alter-ego Void, destroys Asgard and rips Loki literally in two. With his final breath he touchingly says to Thor, “I’m sorry, brother.” Presumedly for being such a dick all those years, and pretending to be his girlfriend. Better late than never.
Of course, this being a comic book Loki would be reborn. However ,it was made very clear that this new incarnation was not the original Loki. That guy one hundred percent died forever when Void ripped him to shreds like a bloody piñata.
10. He Was Reborn as Kid Loki
Moments before dying during Siege, the ever resourceful Loki put into place a scheme to break from the chains of destiny (aka Hel) and be reborn as an ten year-old boy.
In 2011’s Thor #617, he then reappeared in France as a Parisian street hustler under the name Serrure (“lock” in French) with no memory of his former self and spending his time pickpocketing tourists. Thor realizes his brother is kind of alive, takes the boy under his wing, and Kid Loki turns a new leaf, even becoming a member of the Younger Avengers.
Kid Loki has made a career of doing a lot of weird and crazy things, at one point even lighting himself on fire. On another occasion he has run in with a magpie possessed by the spirit of original Loki, and reacts like a lunatic by eating the bird, which we guess signifies… something.
9. He is Pansexual
For those who do not know, a pansexual is someone who has no limits to their sexual choices or activities, regardless of someone’s biological sex, gender, or gender identity. Amongst their ranks you might also be surprised to learn resides Loki. Looks like Marvel has a mainstream LGBTQ character after all.
As a part of the Young Avengers, Loki repeatedly admitted he was a pansexual, despite nobody asking and the fact he was a kid at the time. Later series like Loki: Agents of Asgard, in which we’ve already mentioned he liked to play for both genders, didn’t go quite as far as calling him a pansexual but writer Al Ewing went on record as saying, “Loki is bi.”
8. He Can’t Swim
Not surprisingly Loki is not the same god today as he was when he first appeared on the comic scene. For one, he’s dead. However, Kid Loki aside, like with any superhero or villain, you should probably take whatever crazy things they did in their younger days with a grain of salt, especially since they seemingly get retconned every other month.
Still, we would be remiss to mention that Loki’s greatest weakness is not large men that look like Fabio, but water.
During his first Silver Age appearance in Journey Into Mystery, it was revealed that Loki’s superpowers do not work in water. This means he can’t go for a swim as a man and come out looking like a woman.
It’s also implied that he doesn’t even know how to swim. Loki’s aqua-impotency was never mentioned again, but we ask you, how often do you see Loki in water, or even take a bath? Looks like somebody’s got a secret they don’t want anyone else knowing about.
7. He Has Wielded Thor’s Hammer
Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor. So goes the one and only rule to wielding Mjolnir. Though apparently “worthiness” can mean a lot things, and there have been no shortage of people able to lift Thor’s mighty hammer, including Loki.
Loki has made a career out of playing tricks to separate his brother from his hammer. It all stems back to when they were kids and Odin entrusted Mjolnir to Thor, sending Loki wheeling with hammer envy.
In Avengers & X-Men: Axis #9, thanks to a spell inverting the ethical orientation of both heroes and villains alike, Loki finally became worthy of Mjolnir. He then promptly proceeded to beat the crap out of Thor with it, nearly killing him. Though to put things into context, on account of the spell Loki was now the God of Heroism and Truth, and his once mighty brother was a villain, as well as belligerent.
6. He Has Created Many of His Own Characters
Why get your hands dirty being a villain when you can create others to do it for you? That was Loki’s whole M.O. when he appeared in 1963’s Avengers #1 and tricked a bunch of superheroes into thinking the Incredible Hulk was an evil circus clown. Of course the plan backfired and inadvertently ended up forming the Avengers, but Loki has had some practice refining his villain creating skills.
Being the powerful sorcerer that he is, Loki has had a hand in making some of Marvel’s longtime troublemakers, from the Wrecking Crew to Absorbing Man, the Enchantress, Super-Skrull and, everyone’s favorite, Jinku the Lava Man.
Some of Thor’s earliest foes, these villains would continue to plague the God of Thunder for years to come, all thanks to Loki’s meddling. Then there’s the three-headed magical Sentinel he conjured to help him conquer Earth, that was only destroyed after Captain Universe merged his Uni-Power with Spider-Man. If you’re not really sure what that means, take it from us, that’s a lot of firepower.
5. He Formed the Greatest Supervillain Team of All-Time
Having had enough with getting his horns handed to him by Thor and his superhero buddies, Loki eventually took a page out of their book and gathered together a group of Earth’s mightiest villains. Dubbed the Prime Movers, their mission statement focused entirely on destroying the Avengers, and occasionally getting shawarma.
The group comprised a who’s who of villainery including Dr. Doom, Kingpin, Magneto, Mandarin, Red Skull, and the Wizard. (Apocalypse and Namor declined membership.) Their master plan was to each attack a superhero they would not normally fight, figuring that it confuse the crap out of the X-Men when Mandarin attacked them.
Not exactly ironclad, but hey, you gotta give Loki credit for trying. The team fell apart due to an overabundance of superiority complexes, and everyone’s mutual disdain of Red Skull. Proving yet again, nobody likes Nazis.
4. In the MCU, He Was Inspired by Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholson
It is safe to say that Loki is the MCU’s only truly memorable villain thus far. All the credit goes to Tom Hiddleston, who somehow managed to make his character just as likable as he is detestable, while holding his own on screen beside such show stopping personalities as Robert Downey, Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson.
To achieve this feat, Tom says he based his performance as Loki on the personalities of three of film’s greatest actors. To capture Loki’s enigmatic reckless side Tom turned to Peter O’Toole of Lawrence of Arabia fame. For his charismatic edgy persona bordering on insane, who better to emulate than Jack Nicholson?
3. Fans Originally Wanted Josh Hartnett to Play Loki
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Tom Hiddleston playing Loki. But leading up to filming of the first Thor film, a good percentage of people had no trouble picturing Josh Hartnett, star of Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down and several other films you’ve probably forgotten about.
Who exactly these fans were, we have not idea, but a proactive online campaign from around that time was enough to encourage studio execs to heavily consider him for the part.
Josh has famously balked at some of the best parts in Hollywood over the years, like Christopher Nolan’s Batman, and as a result fallen far from the limelight. But apparently donning Loki’s horned helmet was something he had his sights on since he had never played a villain before and after seeing how well received Heath Ledger’s Joker was, thought playing the Maker of Mischief might just be a good idea.
2. He Was Almost Jim Carrey
Tom Hiddleston was perfectly cast as Loki, making the part entirely his own. Amazingly, Hiddleston didn’t originally want the role, instead auditioning as Thor. If that had happened who knows who would have played the God of Mischief and whether his impact would have been as great or his hair as awesome.
Charlie Cox of Daredevil fame was one possible choice, as he was called in for an early audition. As we have already mentioned Josh Hartnett was too. By far the most crazy casting to imagine has to be Jim Carrey, who for had been linked as a strong contender for the role ever since his mischievous hijinks were put on fully display during 1994’s The Mask.
Ironically, the wooden mask that Jim Carrey’s Stanley Ipkiss dons in that film was originally created by Loki. Luckily that wasn’t enough to get him the part. No offense to Mr. Carrey, but we can’t picture Loki having the same lasting impact had he talked with his butt cheeks.
1. There is a Theory that He Won in the Avengers
By now everyone is familiar with how 2012’s The Avengers ended. The Avengers assembled, the Chitauri were defeated, New York was saved (kind of) and Loki got thrown around like a rag doll by Hulk and sent packing straight to an Asgardian prison. But what if that’s not exactly what happened, or rather, what if that was exactly how Loki wanted it to happen?
There are several fan theories floating around that, while the Avengers may have saved the day, Loki came out the true winner. Think about, Loki wants one thing in life, and that’s to rule Asgard. So why would he want to conquer Earth? Answer: He didn’t want to.
What Loki actually wanted was the complete annihilation of the Chitauri army and a ride back to home so he could get to the business of overthrowing the throne, and possibly the universe. He knew the Avengers would form to stop the threat and they would help him get from under the Chitauri’s thumb, all the while making it appear as if it was everyone else’s idea.
However, we shouldn’t be surprised, he is the Prince of Lies after all.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Thor‘s Loki? Tell us in the comments!
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