Loki Laufeyson is one of the most iconic and complex characters in the Marvel Universe. As the Norse god of mischief and chaos, he is a master manipulator and schemer who is always looking for ways to gain power and influence, but fans worry that the Disney+ series has changed Loki a little too much.
Loki was first created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Larry Lieber and first appeared in Venus #6 (1948). The modern version of Loki that we have today appeared in Marvel Comics with Journey into Mystery #85 (1952). It was at this point that he was introduced as the mercurial villain Loki, sworn enemy of his brother Thor. Throughout the Marvel Universe, Loki appeared in titles like The Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men and The Defenders.
God of Mischief in the MCU
Loki debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the 2011 film Thor. Tom Hiddleston played Loki, and he quickly became one of the most popular characters with fans. Loki was the main antagonist in the first Thorfilm, and he also played a significant role in 2012’s The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World.
The success of The Avengers and Loki’s pivotal role in the film made the character one of the most beloved MCU characters. Famous scenes in The Avengers, notably the Battle of New York, when the Hulk smashes Loki, became iconic and cemented Loki as an MCU icon.
Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki was superb. He effortlessly conveyed Loki’s complex, duplicative nature. He is not simply a one-dimensional villain. Loki moves between good and great evil, and he is always unpredictable. Hiddleston played the anti-hero and the villain seamlessly. Loki’s dramatic moments in the first two Thor films are his best. His jealousy toward Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Loki’s ambition and scheming for power were high points in the MCU.
From Avengers: Endgame to Disney +
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Loki got his original Disney+ series in 2021. The series picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame and follows the god of mischief as he travels through time and space. The original series was the best-received Marvel series on Disney+. The cast featured Hiddleston alongside Owen Wilson, who stars as Mobius M. Mobius, Sophia Di Martino, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conquerer.
Loki’s battles with Kang and his efforts to preserve the Sacred Timeline and prevent a Multiversal War have created exciting moments in the MCU. The whimsical and mysterious Miss Minutes and Loki’s adventures in the TVA with Mobius offer some worthwhile TV entertainment but have all these additions and alterations moved Loki too far away from his original purpose within the Marvel Universe, especially within the MCU?
Some have argued that the Disney+ series version of Loki has drifted too far from the character’s origins in the comics and the Marvel films. Loki has become soft and sympathetic. The character’s backstory and motivations have been convoluted, and he appears too eager to be a hero. Loki went from a supervillain and sometimes anti-hero to a neutered character that is a creation of the television series.
Others argue that the Disney+ series is a faithful adaptation of the comic book character. They argue that the series has made Loki more complex and nuanced, a necessary step in Loki’s character development. The shift to the Multiverse has introduced multiple versions of Loki, including a female version, ‘Sylvie, ‘ significantly deviating from Loki’s familiar arc. This deviation has led to a mixed reaction among fans, with some feeling that Loki has ‘lost the plot’.
Loki Carrying the Multiverse
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The Disney+ series of Loki has put the character and the show at the centre of the Multiverse Saga. Kang’s storyline and the rest of the MCU’s storytelling pivot on Loki. Marvel and Kevin Feige are using Loki to do most of the heavy lifting to readjust the MCU timeline and explain the Multiverse and shifting timelines, which affect all the current and future stories in the MCU.
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was the current Saga’s chief means of explaining the origins of the Multiverse. Still, everything else has been left to Loki to decipher and explore. Kang also features heavily in the series, and due to his prominent role in the Multiverse Saga, is weighing Loki’s character down; attempting to be the nexus point for the MCU has overburdened Loki and strained his persona.
The TVA, Kang and the Sacred Timeline are all crammed into the show, and if Mobius, Hunter B-15, Sylvie or Judge Renslayer were the central characters, then it would be plausible. Loki’s outsized involvement in the confusing Sacred Timeline and Multiverse Saga has forced the character to abandon his traditional role of villain and anti-hero to become a regular television character, leaning more toward a spartan hero than a complex villain.
The Disney+ series has done the character another disservice by removing him too far away from Asgard and Thor. The character is stranded in a world that reinvents and strips him of the elements that give the character his meaning. If Loki were removed from these elements for a short while, that would be okay, but he has been removed from Thor, Asgard and his wider mythology for a very long time now.
Loki without Thor strips Loki of his true purpose, which is to betray Thor and work against him while pretending not to. Loki can continue on this path for a while, and Kevin Feige was right to give the character some growing room, but the Loki series stripped him of his natural characteristics and environment far too much and for too long.
Villain in Hiding?
Interestingly, the series seems to obscure whether Loki can genuinely change or is simply living up to his title of god of mischief. Marvel’s architect, Kevin Feige, always knows how to keep audiences guessing. Perhaps Loki or Fiege is playing the long game, and the old original Loki will return whenever it suits him or, instead, whenever it suits Marvel Studios.
With all these changes to the character and his story, can Loki retain his mercurial appeal, or has he strayed too far from the charmingly mischievous character we came to know? Loki is one of the most complex and fascinating characters in the Marvel Universe. He has been a fan favourite for decades and more so this last decade.
According to Deadline, The streaming numbers for the second season of Loki debuted lower than the first season’s numbers and might offer a clue to the overall health of the franchise. If the numbers are down and fans are complaining, the third season of Loki has to readjust and attempt to realign the Disney+ version of the character with the cinematic version, which original fans came to love.
Loki is one of the most beloved characters in the comics and the MCU.
The Disney+ Loki series has made adjustments to the Loki from the films.
Has the series gone too far in altering the character?
Is Loki better now than before, or has he changed too much? Please comment below.