Few would argue that Marvel’s had a tough time establishing compelling villains in their 15 MCU movies to-date. Ronan the Accuser, Red Skull, Alexander Pierce, Ultron, Melekith, Kaecilius, Iron Monger… the list of one-off villains goes on and on, with one clear exception: Loki, God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston). And many would agree, he’s one of the best film villains of all-time.
Loki debuted in Marvel comics Journey into Mystery #85, way back in October 1962 — he was previously established pre-Marvel in Timely Comic’s Venus #6 from August 1949. (I just included this to show my homework!) Legendary co-creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby defined the modern version of Loki that exists in comics and film today. Of course, Loki is based on the ancient Norse mythology, which includes Thor, Odin, and most of the characters from Marvel’s series of Thor films, which continues in this November’s Thor: Ragnarok.
We last saw Loki in 2013’s Thor: The Dark World – 4 long years ago – wherein, Thor and Loki continued their on-again, off-again sibling rivalry, but they ended much as they started, in a kind of uneasy alliance. But as every comic book fan knows – if you’ve been paying any attention at all – such a truce is only valid so long as it serves Loki’s needs.
In Thor: Ragnarok, we revisit the Thor-Loki relationship, which according to Marvel, starts off in an unexpected place, and that’s where things get interesting. Hiddleston explains:
“The opposite of love is not hate but indifference. That’s a defining feature of his character. I don’t belong in the family; I hate my brother. And the idea his brother’s like, yeah, whatever, it’s an interesting development.”
In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor has once again been cast out of Asgard, this time by the Hela, Goddess of Death and ruler of Hel – who wants to initiate Ragnarok, the Norse legend known as “The Doom of the Gods.” Thor lands on the gladiator planet, Sakaar, where he reunites with Loki, who has also been deposed.
In the originating Norse tales, Loki is responsible for bringing about Ragnarok, and the deaths of pretty much everyone. However, the recent trailers suggest that Marvel combined aspects of the classic mythology with the more recent comics version, and then tweaked them for the film – in other words, don’t be surprised if the plot deviates significantly from ancient lore and comics canon.
Hiddleston indicates that he Loki-Hela relationship is also equally complex in the upcoming film:
“It’s about them recognizing each other; recognizing that we prefer anarchy to order; recognizing that chaos is more fun, if a little exhausting; recognizing the aesthetic value of green capes. The inimitable elegances of a headdress—if you’re gonna be bad, you might as well be bad with style.”
All of this sounds like Loki is once again taking a shadowy position, manipulating both Thor and Hela to swing events into his favor. Ultimately, all Loki wants is another shot at the throne of Asgard – presuming that Hela doesn’t obliterate it altogether. We’ll soon find out how the whole plan shakes out, we’re just over a month from the film’s release!
Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3, 2017.
Thor: Ragnarok is directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows), based on a screenplay by Craig Kyle, Eric Pearson, and Christopher Yost. Thor: Ragnarok is produced by Kevin Feige, Brian Chapek, and Lous D’Esposito. The executive producers are Victoria Alonso, Thomas Hammel, Stan Lee and Brad Winderbaum, with music by Mark Mothersbaugh.