Marvel has knocked it out of the park with their first two Disney+ shows, each of which tackled some pretty big topics. Wandavision dealt with grief and loss (while paying tribute to the history of sitcoms!), while The Falcon And The Winter Soldier looked at America’s history with race, refugees and immigration. So, what should we expect from the upcoming series Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the mischievous brother of Thor?
One thing to keep in mind is, this isn’t the Loki that joined forces with Thor (and the “Revengers”) in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. This is a somewhat younger Loki, right after his defeat at the hands of the Avengers five years earlier in 2012’s The Avengers. Judging by the trailers, Loki picks up right after the younger Loki escapes with the Tesseract in a time-travel scene in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Yeah, it’s a bit confusing, but stick with us: Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius works at the Time Variance Authority and is trying to fix the timeline that apparently Loki has damaged. So, in some ways, it might be similar in tone to Ragnarok: cosmic and epic in scope but also fun and funny (surely Marvel cast Wilson for his comedic abilities, and show creator Michael Waldron comes from Rick And Morty).
But if you want to watch Loki and you’re new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or if you just haven’t memorized every film, here’s a list of movies you might want to catch before the premiere drops.
Thor (2011): The film not only introduced the Asgardian brothers Thor and Loki to the Marvel Universe but actors Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, who were relatively unknown names but were part of a cast that included Sir Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba and Rene Russo. The film established Loki as a rogue with a motivation that you could understand, if not totally agree with. His charisma rivaled that of Thor’s, and he was the best villain that we’d seen in the MCUs then-short history. And, because of the post-credits scene, we knew he’d be back…
The Avengers (2012): … and he was back, just months later, in the first major MCU crossover film. It was appropriate, as Loki was the villain in Avengers issue #1, back in 1963 (back then, the lineup was Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp; Captain America didn’t join until issue 4). Of course, the Avengers prevailed and Thor took Loki to Asgard where he was imprisoned.
Thor: The Dark World (2013) Here, Loki is in prison on Asgard, until Thor seeks his help in fighting a huge threat (it’s complicated, and honestly, this is one of the MCU’s lesser films). Stuff happens, Loki appears to sacrifice himself for the greater good and all’s well. Except it’s not: after Thor leaves Odin, we see that it’s not Odin at all: Loki used his shape-shifting abilities to mimic Odin! (Earlier in the film, he took the form of some of Thor’s friends, including Captain America, leading to a hilarious Chris Evans cameo.)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) The best Thor movie, and one of the MCU’s very best films. Thor returns to Asgard and figures out that Loki is mimicking their dad, Odin. They team up to take on their evil older sister, Hela (played deliciously by Cate Blanchett). She kicks their butts and they end up on planet Sakaar, ruled by the Grandmaster (played to perfection by Jeff Goldblum). Weirdly, Loki ends up there weeks before Thor and he’s already made friends with the Grandmaster. Thor meanwhile, is forced to compete in the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions where he has to take on his “friend from work,” Hulk. They meet up with yet another Asgardian – Valkerie (played by Tessa Thompson) and the four of them return to Asgard, which ultimately meets its demise, but not before the population escapes on a huge spacecraft. And in the final scene, they find themselves face to face with an even huger spacecraft…
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Infinity War picks up just minutes after Ragnarok ends; Thanos and his forces have decimated the Asgardians ship, with just Thor, Loki, Hulk and Heimdall left. As we said, SPOILER ALERT: Loki dies, ending his story. Or does it?
Avengers: Endgame (2019): By now, half of the universe, including most of the Avengers and their friends, have been “snapped” out of existence. Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Ant-Man go back in time to “The Battle of New York” from the first Avengers film, and that’s where Loki changes history by escaping with the Tesseract. As The Ancient One explains to Hulk, their time traveling gambit might have unintended consequences… one of which, clearly, was Loki’s escape, moments later. Which leads us — we think — to the Loki series.
Loki premieres on June 9, 2021 on Disney+ with new episodes dropping every Wednesday. The series is six episodes.