Loki has cheated death three times in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was presumed dead at the end of both Thor and Thor: The Dark World. But he always came back. He died for real in Avengers: Infinity War. But Avengers: Endgame found a way to bring him back for the Loki Disney+ series. And the reason for him continuously surviving wasn’t that Marvel couldn’t make up its mind about the character. It all started one fateful day at Comic-Con 2013.
‘Thor: The Dark World’ was supposed to be Tom Hiddleston’s last Marvel movie
Hela might be the Goddess of Death, but Loki might as well be the God at this point. In Thor, Loki was presumed dead after he intentionally fell from the Bifrost. After The Avengers, he was stabbed in Thor: The Dark World and presumed dead again. And in fact, Kevin Feige’s plan was for him to stay dead. But Feige told Entertainment Weekly test audiences refused to believe Hiddleston’s character actually died. Instead, Loki was revealed to be alive and disguising himself as Odin in Thor: Ragnarok.
His death became final in Avengers: Infinity War. And Hiddleston said even he believed that was his final stand.
“It felt very, very final,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “And I thought, ‘OK, that’s it. This is Loki’s final bow and a conclusive end to the Odinson saga.’”
Thanks to time travel, Hiddleston returned in Avengers: Endgame and escaped with the Tesseract/Space Stone. This escape opened the door to the Disney+ series. But the scene wasn’t supposed to do more than cause another problem for the Avengers.
Tom Hiddleston’s 2013 Comic-Con appearance made Marvel rethink his arc
Feige knew how vital a character Loki would be to Phase 1 of the MCU. He wanted Thor’s brother to be the main antagonist in The Avengers in order to give Thor a compelling connection to the rest of the superheroes. But Hiddleston had no idea this Odinson saga was even a possibility when he landed the role.
Another thing Hiddleston and Marvel didn’t expect was the overwhelming fan response to the mischievous Asgardian. Despite being a villain, Loki is one of the most beloved characters in the entire MCU. And Comic-Con 2013 is when Marvel Studios saw that popularity firsthand for the first time.
“Humanity, look how far you’ve fallen,” he said over a God mic to the Comic-Con crowd. The fans roared in applause. And the screams only got louder when Hiddleston emerged dressed as the God of Mischief. The actor was met with a combination of cheers and boos, but there was no denying the energy of the room. Marvel producer Nate Moore said that was the moment that changed the character’s entire future. That, and the fact that the excitement around Hiddleston’s appearances at the annual event only built over the years.
“If you’ve ever been to a Comic-Con where Tom Hiddleston makes an appearance,” Moore told Vanity Fair. “You see what magic that is.”
Loki will struggle with his identity again in the Disney+ series
Hiddleston was able to give Loki a redemption arc through the Thor trilogy and Avengers movies. But the Loki in the Disney+ series will be the version of him from The Avengers, aka less evolved and still very much a villain. But writer and producer Michael Waldron hinted Loki will have the chance to evolve yet again.
“I wanted to explore slightly more complex character questions,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s not just good versus bad. Is anybody all good? Is anybody all bad? What makes a hero, a hero? A villain, a villain?”
We’ll soon find out. Loki debuts on Disney+ on Wednesday, June 9.
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