A new trailer for Loki, the next-in-line series from Marvel on Disney+, dropped this morning and YES, THIS IS EXTREMELY MY SH-T. I mostly liked WandaVision, and am so-so on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but Loki is the Marvel show I am most interested in and excited for. It’s not just that I love this character, though I do, it’s because this series is borrowing from “Loki: Agent of Asgard”, one of my favorite comics of the 2010s. From the moment I saw that book I was convinced it should be adapted with Tom Hiddleston, and now it is, at least in some form, so I am happy. Maybe this show will have the usual Marvel problems—slow starts, shoe problems, pacing issues—but Loki has always ranked among the more interesting of Marvel’s forays into TV. Even if it does have those issues, perhaps like WandaVision, Loki will have enough weirdness to float the rougher aspects. That’s a problem for Falcon/Winter Soldier, it’s about as grounded as Marvel gets, but that means there is nothing to hide its faults behind.
This Loki trailer promises a lot of action, but more than that, it expressly lays out what is happening with the timeline of the MCU. As everyone noticed, Loki absconding in Endgame with Tesseract means he broke reality. As a result, the timeline is all screwed up, and now Loki must fix what he broke. No, that was not a plot hole in Endgame, it was deliberate setup for Loki. We can have a conversation if that kind of setup is actually good storytelling in the moment, but it is a separate conversation from plot holes (which are massively abused as a complaint against popular films. Most “plot holes” are just cognitive leaps the storytelling depends on the audience making that, increasingly, audiences don’t seem to want to make). There is some fun imagery in this trailer, like various familiar MCU landscapes standing in ruin in these alternate, broken timelines, but most especially Loki in that “Variant” jacket. One, this will undoubtedly be a popular cosplay, since it’s relatively easy, but also, yes, WE KNOW this is not “the” Loki but a new, “alternate” Loki. THE Loki died. This guy has to earn his redemption all over again.
Which is the element of this show that most intrigues me. Sure, I love Owen Wilson and his little mustache verbally sparring with Loki. But what made “Loki: Agent of Asgard” stand out as a comic was the idea of Loki trying to get ahead of his fate, and the question of whether or not we can ever really change, and whether or not “destiny” is just a self-fulfilling prophecy. This Loki isn’t trying to defy his fate, but there is a similar vein of what we can and cannot change about ourselves, and how much of our destiny is self-fulfilling based on our own best and worst impulses. Loki is a shifty guy, I would never expect him to be 100% above board, but I am interested in this character as a vehicle for those questions. And whew, that is a LOT for Tom Hiddleston to chew on. So far, the main draw of the Marvel shows has been watching great actors finally get to dig into this characters and spin out these sorts of interesting threads. Hiddleston should be able to knit a whole sweater.