Disney+: Loki Episode 1 (Spoiler-free)

Hey everyone, Tom Hiddleston’s back.

Avengers: Endgame marked a definitive shift in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s not hard to imagine some executives at Disney sat around a board room at some point during phase three and said “shit, where do we go from here?” With the previous slate of superheroes either retiring (Robert Downey Junior, Chris Evans) or likely seeking retirement in the near future, Marvel needs to decide who their next cast of front runners are going to be.

With phase four underway, Marvel announced a deluge of shows to bridge the gap between movies, establish characters, and tell stories without saturating the market whenever the movie theaters re-opened. January’s WandaVision brought Agatha Harkness and revived Vision for future use, while Falcon and the Winter Soldier brought in US Agent and a few other characters.

My prediction with Loki before I even saw the first episode is that this is how Marvel brings Loki back into the main MCU timeline. Because Loki was killed by Thanos in Infinity War, he wasn’t brought back when Tony Stark resurrected everyone killed in the snap. Tom Hiddleston is too handsome and has far too many fans for Marvel to just cast him aside.

Loki the series kicks off after Loki’s escape with the tesseract during Endgame. The disappearance of Loki of course splits the timeline, creating a new strand and putting the universe in danger for one reason or another. Almost instantly, Loki is snapped up by a powerful organization called the Time Variance Authority, whose job it is to fix breaks in the timeline.

Outside of Hiddleston’s Loki, our other main character for the series so far is Mobius M. Mobius played by the equally charming Owen Wilson. Maybe it’s the lighting or Wilson’s age, but the camera almost seems to put extra emphasis on Wilson’s busted nose (the result of multiple breaks over his lifetime). Mobius’ job is to recruit Loki as a less-than-cooperative asset to hunt down dangerous variants, people who are out of time.

Like a suicide squad, but it’s just Loki.

It’ll be interesting to see how Hiddleston handles this Loki, as the character that exists in the series is one that never experienced the pain and reform that the main timeline Loki did. This Loki didn’t live through any of the events of phase two onward, meaning he never experienced his adoptive parents’ death, the destruction of Asgard, and his related changes as a character. This Loki is still the god of mischief who desires to rule Midgard as its benevolent god.

The TVA for its part allows the screenwriters and visual effects department to do whatever the hell they want. A bureaucratic organization on the level of power that it is several levels of god above even Loki, the TVA exists outside of time and space. So you get weird mishmash of technology like a hologram machine that inexplicably runs on magnetic tape. We also get a different type of interaction with Loki, as the TVA isn’t some boy scout organization for Loki to swindle, but instead a powerful force that has neither the time nor patience to entertain his trickery.

The episode is overflowing with charm thanks to its cast of characters. At six episodes, Loki is as short as Falcon and Winter Soldier. While WandaVision and the Winter Solder shows were meant to lead up to upcoming phase four movies, Loki has already confirmed a second season. So it might be longer before Hiddleston gets back into the MCU proper, if that is the plan.

Hiddleston and Wilson have great chemistry together. With a premise revolving around fixing the timeline, the folks at Marvel basically have free reign to do whatever they want without worrying about implications on the overall MCU world. Hopefully they take advantage of that freedom and don’t play the series too safe.

Check it out on Disney+.

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