I had two things in my head after Tom Hiddleston’s appearance in character as Loki at Comic Con last weekend. Click here for a refresher. A) People REALLY love Loki, and B) I wonder if Marvel will still have the stones to go through with killing him off.

Wait, WHAT?!

Yeah, at the end of Thor: The Dark World, Loki eats it. (Don’t yell at me, you were warned up top.) And it actually plays really well. His arc builds to it, there’s a particular poetic justice in the specific method used, and it feels like an earned and justified conclusion to his plotline since his world fell apart in Thor. It isn’t cheap and it’s one of the most emotional moments in any Marvel movie so far. It feels like a proper goodbye. It feels finite.

Except, apparently, it isn’t. Speaking to Empire Online after the Marvel panel at Comic-Con, honcho Kevin Feige said that Loki “could be the big bad for us for a long time”, and that all the Loki cosplayers wandering around the convention told them to “keep following their instincts”. Translation: Loki sells a lot merchandise. Loki is indispensable.

I don’t have a problem with resurrection in and of itself. I’m not, for instance, at all troubled by Agent Coulson’s return. And Loki is magic and from space—they can pull out any space magic bullsh*t explanation for his survival and it would work just fine. It’s just that Loki’s story in Thor 2—and it’s almost a movie more about Loki than Thor, which should surprise approximately no one—really does conclude in a natural and considered way. It’s a shame to undo what his death achieves, and it’s especially a shame to announce the fact of his survival before anyone gets a chance to see the movie. (I was really looking forward to the audience’s reaction.)

Feige could be bullsh*tting, but he’s not in the habit of outright lying and he doesn’t proscribe to the JJ Abrams School of SECRETY SECRETS. If he’s willing to talk about Loki’s future, it’s because Loki has a future. Marvel is taking increasingly big risks in Phase Two, and Loki’s death was one of the biggest. It really is too bad they balked.