Loki looks out of this world — this reality, even. And that’s the intention of the upcoming Disney+ limited series centering around Tom Hiddleston‘s God of Mischief, who we last saw in Avengers: Endgame stealing the Tesseract and teleporting off to goodness knows where. And it turns out, Loki isn’t so sure himself, as the trickster god finds himself jumping through time, and various realities, and apparently pursued (and at one point, captured) by a mysterious organization known as the TVA, led by Owen Wilson.
There’s a lot to unpack in the jam-packed Loki trailer, so let’s head into our trailer breakdown.
The trailer starts off with a minute of footage from Avengers: Endgame, leading up to Loki’s theft of the Tesseract and his disappearance. Then, a flash of weird cosmic lighting that forms some kind of tunnel through space and time, and we cut to: the desert, where a disheveled Loki has landed, just as perplexed as we are. He’s greeted by three Mongolian-looking people, and his eyes flicker back and forth, apparently considering his options.
Things only get stranger from there, as we cut to the interior of a
Marriott Hotel mysterious building that seems to house infinite floors, each with stranger and stranger designations — LK3, 2W1, FHF, VG2, 3FG, CET, XN1, and TSL among them, with peculiar “x” and “=” signs in the middle, and a symbol that looks like a smiley face. What could they mean? I can’t say for sure, but if the Marvel Comics depiction of the organization that runs this building, the TVA (or Time Variance Authority) is correct, then they each level could house different realities and timelines.
In the comics, the Time Variance Authority is an organization responsible for monitoring the multiverse and maintaining interdimensional order…and can even bring an end timelines if they’re deemed too dangerous to exist. Which makes a trickster god like Loki in possession of a stone that allows him to bend space their worst nightmare.
“You taking me somewhere to kill me?” an imprisoned Loki, wearing a collar and a jumpsuit with the “TVA” logo emblazoned on his chest, asks his captor.
“No I’m taking you someplace to talk,” Owen Wilson’s cryptic new character wryly responds, to which he and Loki engage in a back-and-forth about the trickster god’s tendency to lie, going so far as to take a mocking tone with Loki — which proves that Wilson’s character is one of the few not intimidated by him. So who is Wilson playing? His character was not confirmed at the Disney Investors conference, but — in perhaps a slip of the hand from Marvel — the captions on the trailer for Loki refer to Wilson’s character as “Mobius M. Mobius,” a mid-level manager of the TVA, who is one of dozens of clones (all taking the appearance of long-time Marvel writer/editor, and continuity expert, Mark Gruenwald, in a Marvel meta-joke). This isn’t confirmation that Wilson is playing Mobius M. Mobius, but it definitely suggests he is — especially with the cropped hair and mustache he shares with the comics character.
More hints are given as to the TVA’s powers, as Loki asks his captor how long he’s been there, and Wilson responds, “It’s hard to say, you know, time passes differently here in the TVA,” before pushing him through the elevator doors.
Suddenly we cut to a new setting, where a soldier enters a darkened tent. The trailer is cut in a way that suggests that as soon as Loki was thrust through the elevator doors, he was thrust into a new world (or reality), but that’s likely a bit of fancy editing. Still, it sets us up for an intriguing series of events, in which a unit of soldiers scope out this darkened outdoor area, lit only by gas lamps.
This is where things become even more puzzling and difficult to explain. A hooded figure appears, apparently at the same setting that the soldiers are scoping out. The figure carries a gas lamp, which the figure then throws on the ground, lighting the grass on fire.
As the fire spreads, one of the soldiers scrambles away — but he stands out from the rest. The helmet that tumbles off his head bears some resemblance to Captain America’s World War II helmet, and his uniform bears some parallels to that of the first Avenger’s, though the bearded brunette man beneath the helmet is clearly not Chris Evans. It’s possible that this is an alternate version of Captain America, being attacked by the hooded figure. This may confirm the rumors that the villain of the series — and the figure in the hood — is an alternate Loki from a different dimension, who has been rumored to be played by Richard E. Grant. Grant was confirmed to be part of the Loki cast last night, though Marvel was naturally tight-lipped on his role. However, the hints from this trailer lend nicely to the rumors that Grant is playing Old Man Loki, a villainous future form of Loki from an alternate timeline, who may be set up as the Big Bad for the series.
But we have to be reminded that this Loki in the limited series is not the reformed Loki, but the one still hot off his crimes in The Avengers. He may not be as keen to help the TVA maintain cosmic order, as seen in this shot where Loki is back in his old outfit, looking in the mirror and remarking, “Glorious.”
Back at the TVA, Loki appears to be taken to trial by the organization’s top authorities, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw presiding as judge. Behind her are three faces carved into the wooden wall, which is interesting since, in the comics, the TVA is literally a faceless bureaucracy — most of its agents being artificial clones without faces, sent to monitor each divergent reality. But a few higher-ranking judges enforce the TVA’s regulations including Justice Peace, Justice Love, Justice Goodwill, Justice Might, Justice Truth, and Justice Liberty. The TVA is also led by a mysterious being known as Mr. Alternity.
Mbatha-Raw may be playing one of these justices — who, in the comics, sometimes have a tendency to go rogue and commit the crimes they’re meant to prevent. Which may explain a later scene which sees Mbatha-Raw’s character, flanked by two agents, fighting with Loki.
More sculptures within this seemingly infinite TVA building. I’m guessing they’re the same three figures in the courtroom.
In another sequence with the imprisoned Loki, he’s shown scenes of the lead-up to his capture by the Avengers over a hologram, which Loki turns his head away from, in shame. It suggests Loki is captured soon after he teleported away with the Tesseract, his defeat still fresh.
But an interesting turn of events takes place halfway through the trailer: Loki appears to be working with the TVA, or at least accompanying them on a mission at a store called “Boxxcart,” where the agents take down a man for crimes unknown.
In one of the most intriguing shots of the trailer Wilson’s character (who may or may not be Mobius M. Mobius), hands something over to a little white-haired girl, as they stand under the refracted light shining through a stained glass window pane of a demonic figure surrounded by cosmic imagery. Who is this ethereal-looking girl? A guardian of some dimension or reality? One that is evil, considering the demonic figure on the glass? It’s too hard to say for now, but it’s clear that Loki is stepping up its visuals in a big way.
Loki is getting tossed around the TVA a lot, landing in a depot with a metal detector covered in some red paint, standing over a scorched piece of floor. Another TVA staff member glances at Loki with mild annoyance as Loki appears to look for a way out.
Speaking of stepping up the visuals, look at this gorgeous, cosmic image of what appears to be a planet or moon crumbling to pieces. Perhaps an effect of Loki’s reality-warping mischief?
Apparently beneath that crumbling moon/asteroid/planet, sits a young girl in the ruins of her planet, bathed in a purple light. The next shot shows meteors showering down on this same planet surface. There’s also the possibility that this is one of the instances when the TVA puts a “stop” to timelines considered too dangerous to exist.
Loki, in the TVA jacket we saw him in before while accompanying the agents into the Boxxcart store, stands among the ruins of a city. It’s another stunning, intriguing piece of imagery that I can’t make heads or tails of.
But in one fo the most fun twists of the trailer, we see Loki board a plane as D.B. Cooper — yes, that D.B. Cooper. The man behind the hijacking of the Boeing 727 aircraft in 1971, who managed to extort $200,000 in ransom money and parachute out of the airplane, never to be seen again. The manhunt for Cooper and his disappearance has remained one of the greatest unsolved cases of the 20th century, but here we get a magical little spin on it: that Loki was D.B. Cooper, and that his disappearance is explained by Heimdall suddenly beaming him up to Asgard as he jumps out of the plane.
When Loki was first announced, we’d heard many descriptions of it being a “time-hopping” adventure, and thus far we’d seen little of that, except for the D.B. Cooper scene. But in a short scene of Loki tossing a tunic-wearing woman out of the way, we get another glimpse of what appears to be a historical setting that the god of mischief has found himself in (still wearing the TVA agent gear).
Has Loki become an agent for the TVA, finding himself in increasingly absurd situations? That seems to be the case with this one sequence which sees a man dressed remarkably like M’Baku from Black Panther taking a hammer to a Loki lookalike, knocking the antler helm off his head, as the real Loki looks on in shock behind the fray. There are vines and wreckage bursting through ceilings and walls of this room, which suggests realities colliding in some way.
The final scene of the trailer, in which Loki wears a green suit and his antler helm, with a political “Loki” sticker on his chest, appears to be a deliberate nod to the Vote Loki comic book arc by Christopher Hastings, a four-part 2016 comic book run that parodied the 2016 presidential elections and followed Loki’s controversial political campaign for President of the United States.
Another alternate reality that Loki finds himself in? Or perhaps a sign of the decaying barriers between realities, as he is in the same destroyed room as before (filled with artifacts from across history) surrounded by various historical warriors, also wearing Loki stickers, who quickly turn on the Norse god after he smugly remarks, “What did you expect?”
We don’t know what we expected, nor what to expect, when Loki hits Disney+ in May 2021.
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