Between the recent spate of set photos from The Avengers' Cleveland shoot - and what appears to be further confirmation of who exactly will make up "Loki's Army" in the film - there's been little to no discussion about what kind of villain Thor's trickster sibling will be in Joss Whedon's Marvel superhero extravaganza.
The man behind Loki (Tom Hiddleston) touched on that very topic in a recent interview, as did Stellan Skarsgård - whose Marvel Universe character, Professor Erik Selvig, was seemingly being manipulated by Loki during the post-credits scene in Thor.
Skarsgård spoke with I Am Rogue about his role in The Avengers, confirming what we all pretty much suspected - that Loki has somehow entered Professor Selvig's mind and controls him for a good portion of the film. Other than that, Skarsgård was fairly tight-lipped about the mechanics of how exactly that works.
He did allude to a matter that Hiddleston likewise confirmed recently: Loki in The Avengers won't be the conflicted semi-villain that he was before, even by the conclusion of Thor.
Here is what Hiddleston told MTV about that matter:
"In 'The Avengers' [Loki is] really dark and kind of sociopathic, or maybe even psychopathic is the word, in a deluded way. Obviously I haven’t let go of the spiritual damage at the heart of him, it still comes from that lost place, but he’s just incredibly nasty. I think that probably in 'Thor 2' his previous actions will, he’ll have to take responsibility for what he’s done."
Part of what made Loki such a great antagonist in Thor was his "spiritual damage," as Hiddleston puts it. He wasn't merely a one-dimensional, power-hungry madman out to rule the world (or, rather, Asgard); instead, Loki was tormented by his jealousy of Thor being favored over himself - feelings that were only enhanced when he discovered the truth about his birthright. Misguided, to be sure, but it's hard to not sympathize with the guy, on some level.
Point being: Loki is definitely a figure who could be an agent for either good or evil, and Hiddleston says that won't change in The Avengers - even as the character takes a turn for the worst and wreaks havoc against the citizens of Earth. To quote:
"The great thing about Loki is there is potential in him for greatness and awfulness, for great heroism and great villainy. There are still, even within 'The Avengers,' there are moments where you see within Loki a glimmer of hope and that possibility of redemption. Nobody is black and white, there are shades of gray in all of us. We all have potential for greatness and we all have flaws. I for one am championing the redemption... This isn’t definitely going to happen, but I think there would be nothing more awesome than seeing Loki and Thor fight somebody side by side."
The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Colson, Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Stellan Skarsgard as Professor Eric Selvig.
It is of course written and directed by Joss Whedon, opening in theaters on May 4th, 2012.