The Marvel Cinematic Universe just can’t seem to quit Tom Hiddleston as trickster God Loki. Both the actor and character he plays are returning for their seventh total Marvel project, the chronologically ambitious Disney+ procedural Loki, on June 9.
In an interview Thursday with EW promoting the new series, however, Hiddleston and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige revealed that the MCU did try to quit Loki several times throughout the franchise’s run. The God of Mischief was marked for death (for good) not once, but twice in the MCU.
As was previously reported, Loki was never intended to make it out of Thor: The Dark World alive. Loki’s death at the hands of Malekith and the Dark Elves was supposed to be permanent, closing off a story arc that began in the original Thor and continued with Loki as the big bad of the first team up film, The Avengers. Fortunately for Loki though, Hiddleston was just too convincing as a devious character for audiences to think he could be taken out so easily. Test audiences literally did not believe that Loki was really dead so the character was spared.
After a successful, largely redemptive arc in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, Loki made what Hiddleston thought would be his final appearance in Avengers: Infinity War, when Thanos crushes his neck in the film’s opening minutes.
“It felt very, very final, and I thought, ‘Okay, that’s it. This is Loki’s final bow and a conclusive end to the Odinson saga,’” Hiddleston told EW.
Loki would, of course, return for a brief scene in Avengers: Endgame, in which the team has gone back in time to the events of The Avengers to secure the Space Stone within the Tesseract. Though that earlier version of Loki escapes with the Tesseract, the scene was never intended to set up a Loki spinoff on television.
“[That scene] was really more of a wrinkle so that one of the missions that the Avengers went on in Endgame could get screwed up and not go well, which is what required Cap and Tony to go further back in time to the ’70s,” Feige said.
It wasn’t until Disney CEO Bob Eiger approached Feige about developing Marvel TV shows for Disney+ that the new de facto Marvel showrunner realized there was an opportunity to continue Loki’s story.
For those keeping score at home, that represents two times that Loki was supposed to die definitively in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, before wriggling his way out of certain death. This guy is only seven more lives away from reaching cat status…which is probably why he’s one of Marvel’s cat people.
That EW piece is worth reading in its entirety for a look behind the scenes at how Marvel is developing its third, and potentially biggest, series. One item that’s particularly interesting to note is that Loki technically did die and stay dead in Avengers: Infinity War. It’s only the parallel 2012 timeline version of him that got away to live another day.
This means that the Loki who underwent some redemption in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War is no more. The Loki we’re set to meet on television hasn’t even endured the events of The Dark World yet! He’s a full three years away from the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA Finals. I can only hope Loki’s Time Variance Authority chooses to keep that particular event as part of its Sacred Timeline.
Loki is set to premiere its first episode Wednesday, June 9 on Disney+.