Review: Loki 2021 Tv Series – Disney Plus
Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino
All the way back in November 2018, Disney announced its plans to create a Loki TV show for its streaming service Disney Plus, and now we’re finally getting close to series’ June 2021 release date.
Focusing on Tom Hiddleston’s Norse god trickster and reluctant brother of Thor, Loki will take us into a brand new timeline in the MCU and answer the question of what happened to the character after his escape with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame. The show has been described by Disney as a “crime thriller”, so it’s certain to be a little different from what we’re used to, but we’re looking forward to seeing what the God of Mischief gets up to when he has the chance to take center stage.
Loki will be six episodes long, with each lasting around 45-55 minutes. It’s just one part of Disney Plus’ enormous Marvel Phase 4 catalogue, which includes other spin-off shows such as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the now-streaming WandaVision, featuring Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch alongside Paul Bettany’s Vision.
Loki TV show release date: June 2021
Originally confirmed for release on June 11, 2021, Loki has now been bumped up slightly, arriving two days earlier than expected on June 9, 2021.
That also means new episodes of the show will arrive on Disney Plus on Wednesdays rather than Fridays.
Loki was originally planned for a release in May 2021, but the dates shifted in February 2021.
Loki trailer: see the show in action
We only have one full trailer for Loki so far, which was released as part of Disney’s Investor day in December 2020. It offers our first look at Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius, a member of the Time Variance Authority, who will play a big role in this show.
Loki’s story: what’s the show about?
Caution: the following section contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
Those who have watched Avengers: Endgame may remember that in the course of the team’s time-jumping adventures in that movie, Tony Stark, Scott Lang, Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner go back to the battle of New York in 2012. Their actions in this scene result in Loki – Avengers-era Loki – escaping capture with the Space Stone, housed within the Tesseract, which creates a branching timeline.
The Loki TV show, then, follows the god of mischief into this branching timeline. Tom Hiddleston has confirmed that the Loki TV show will answer some huge questions raised by Avengers: Endgame concerning the fate of the trickster god. Hiddleston had this to say about the show during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert:
“In the years since Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which came out this Spring… Two questions I’ve been asked are ‘is Loki really dead?’ and ‘what’s Loki doing with that cube?’ It’s always the cube somehow. And this series will answer both of those questions.”
“In many ways it’s the character you know, but in a context you’ve never seen him in before,” Hiddleston told EW.
The trailer shows Loki messing around in the past – indeed, it’s strongly implied he’s legendary criminal DB Cooper, who stole $200,000 back in 1971 before disappearing after jumping from an aircraft. This presumably ties in to how Loki ends up in the hands of the Time Variance Authority, who in Marvel’s comics, look after the various timelines in that fictional multiverse. Mobius M. Mobius, Owen Wilson’s character, is a member of the TVA, as is an unnamed character played by actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
In an interview with MTV, Hiddleston teased that in the series Loki will “come up against more formidable opponents, the like of which he has never seen”. It’s unclear to what extent the TVA will act as the villains of the show.
It’s worth remembering that this isn’t going to be the Loki we saw evolve over the course of the Avengers movies and Thor sequels – he was killed by Thanos, remember. This is the same Loki who just got humiliated during the Battle of New York.
Loki is expected to be a crime thriller, and we’re looking forward to a funny show, given the credentials behind the scenes. The showrunner of the series is Rick and Morty writer Michael Waldron, while Sxx Education’s Kate Herron is the series’ director.
Other than what we’ve learned from the trailer, the events of the series and what part it’s going to play in the wider Phase 4 is still something of a mystery. Kevin Feige has, at the very least, said that the TV show will tie into the Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is expected to release in 2022.
Waldron is a writer on the Doctor Strange sequel – so expect some strong story links between the two multiverse-themed Marvel projects.
Loki season 2 looks like it’s happening, too
Loki’s writer Michael Waldron has apparently just signed a big deal with Disney, as of January 2021. And that includes working on an unannounced Loki season 2, according to a report from Deadline – not to mention a new Star Wars movie produced by Kevin Feige.
While not every Disney Plus Marvel show is expected to return for a second season, then, with some envisioned as limited series, Loki looks like it will continue further down the line.
Loki Episode 2:
The second episode of the Disney Plus series introduced a brand new character played by Sophia Di Martino and told us a bit more about how the TVA works before ending on a dramatic cliffhanger.
Ahead of the third episode, here’s a reminder of what happened in episode two, as well as a lowdown of all the best fan theories and predictions.
But be warned, there are lots of spoilers ahead.
What happened in Loki episode two?
Episode two, entitled The Variant, opens at a Renaissance Fair in 1985 Wisconsin. A group of agents from the Time Variance Authority (TVA), led by C-20, are tracking variance energy.
Just like in 1549 France and 1858 Oklahoma last episode, it’s a trap, and the shadowy Loki variant attacks and kills the group, stealing their reset charges and taking C-20 hostage.
Later, after Loki sabotages Mobius’ (Wilson) mission to Wisconsin, he is put to work looking through all the different variants’ case files to find clues to help them catch the dangerous variant.
When looking through a file about the events of Thor: Ragnarok, he comes up with a theory that a variant could successfully hide in the window of time just before an apocalypse, because when everything is about to be destroyed, individual actions don’t matter.
A quick trip to Pompeii proves his theory is correct, and Mobius and Loki subsequently end up identifying where the variant is hiding: 2050 Alabama during a “Class 10 Apocalypse”.
They head to Earth with a task force, and after splitting up to look for the Loki variant, Mobius’ team find the abducted C-20 rocking back and forth saying she’s given up the location of the Time-Keepers.
Meanwhile, the variant finds Loki, and swaps from body to body as they talk, before finally revealing themself as a female version of Thor’s adoptive brother.
“Lady Loki” (Di Martino) then activates dozens of reset charges, which fall into different times and bomb the Sacred Timeline, causing numerous branches to form simultaneously. The variant leaves, and Loki follows, leaving Mobius behind.
What are the best fan theories for Loki episode two?
Last week’s episode gave fans a lot to unpick. From who the mysterious Loki variant really is to the significance of cup rings, here are all the best fan theories and predictions based on the second episode.
The Time-Keepers don’t exist
After Mobius’ failed mission to 1985 Wisconsin, he visits Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Mbatha-Raw), and the pair have an interesting exchange.
Mobius also reveals he has never met the Time-Keepers, and Renslayer tells him that they are monitoring every aspect of the case, and have never before been so involved in a mission.
Some fans think that Renslayer — who so far seems to be the only one in communication with the Time-Keepers — actually has a lot more power than she’s letting on, and may even be a Time-Keeper herself.
Lady Loki or the Enchantress?
It’s widely presumed that the variant played by Sophia Di Martino is an alternate version of Loki, known as Lady Loki.
However, some eagle-eyed fans noticed that in some foreign language versions of the credits, the character is listed as “Sylvie.” This could be the MCU’s version of Sylvie Lushton from the comics, also known as the Enchantress.
The character is both a hero and a villain over the course of the comics, so only time will tell how she will fit into Loki and beyond.
Loki is setting up Marvel’s next series, What If?
The episode ends with the reset charges disappearing through portals to different time periods and planets (including Thanos’ home planet), throwing the timeline into chaos.
Though TVA agents will likely be able to repair some of the damage in time, the variant’s bombing of the timeline may mean the creation of more variants, and perhaps even the beginning of the multiverse.
Some theories shared on social media predict that this act will be what creates the alternate universe storylines for Marvel’s upcoming animated anthology series, What If? due to premiere in August.
The significance of coasters and cup rings
Finally, you need to hear us out with this one. During the scene in Renslayer’s office, she instructs Mobius to use a coaster for his drink, with the camera zooming in on the previous rings he’s left on the table from not using one.
Then, in the credits there are two more appearances of cup rings, this time on some documents. When Owen Wilson’s name comes up, it is alongside a table with a coaster on it.
It could be coincidental, but knowing Marvel, the focus on water rings is significant, so watch this space.
Loki Episode 3:
At the end of the last episode, the titular god of mischief jumped through a time portal after his variant, in a bid to find out what she’s up to and see just how he can use it to his own ends. It’s a risky move, since he doesn’t know where she’s going, and when he jumps after her, he does so with Mr. Mobius and the TVA right on his heels. Lucky for him that he lands somewhere safe! Like … the headquarters of the very organization he just fled from.
Loki’s ersatz self, who we’ll come to know in this episode as Sylvie, is on a mission to kill the Timekeepers and destroy the TVA as a whole. Her name as given confirms last week’s suspicions: Sylvie is meant to be an incarnation of Amora, the Enchantress, just not the original. In Marvel Comics, Sylvie Lushton is a teenager from the fictional Broxton, Oklahoma, where the entirety of Asgard resided (or, technically, floated a few feet above) for a time. There, she was a pawn in one of Loki’s many plots at the time, which led to her gaining magical powers and joining none other than the Young Avengers — the same team featuring Kamala Khan, Kate Bishop, and Wanda Maximoff’s twin sons, all of whom have made or are scheduled to make an appearance in Marvel’s Disney+ slate.
Of course, it took a lot of comics to get to that point originally, and a six-episode TV show doesn’t have that kind of time. The solution here is elegant; a different version of Loki himself. It’s dressed up with ideas of continuity and timeline variations, sure, but at the heart of it, think of it in TV parlance as … going in a different direction. It also gives Sylvie a nice bit of agency that she lacked in her original incarnations; instead of a girl in over her head with an Asgardian god, Sylvie is her own person, who’s made her own choices and has her own goals.
It seems like a very standard villainous plot, but then that’s the thing about it. The show’s first two episodes have walked us through the brutal, merciless tactics that the TVA uses to enforce its idea of order; it ends entire, unique lives based on nothing more than a simple choice, or an accident of fate. Sure, it gives a compelling argument regarding the safekeeping of the timeline, but even that’s suspect. Viewers (and Loki) only know what the TVA has told them, and the TVA has an interest in protecting itself. What makes this particular timeline sacred? Why that word, with its connotations of mysticism? It wouldn’t seem odd coming out of Loki’s mouth, but the organization is generally more technology-focused; it leans into drabness and bureaucracy.
Of course, it’s not that Loki isn’t able to ask these questions; it’s that he just doesn’t care. The TVA’s doing the same thing he wants to do, and he figures it’s probably easier for him to use that than to fight it. Sylvie, though, has a reason, even though she hasn’t yet said what it is. Later in the episode, the pair have a discussion about their childhoods, which is interesting; Sylvie mentions that she had always known she was adopted, unlike Loki, from whom it was hidden. She also doesn’t remember her mother much, she says. What’s fascinating about this isn’t what it reveals about her or Loki, but about the TVA: If these are all simply variants of the same Loki, then why are their stories so different? Surely, if there were only one sacred timeline, only one originating point, then both of these Lokis would have the same memories up until the first point that one of them diverged. It’s a reinforcement of something hinted at last episode, when we saw the many divergent Lokis that the TVA has killed: Every one of them was different, and not just in small, superficial ways, but in body, mannerism, skill set. These are large changes that would take time to achieve. It’s certainly possible; Sylvie herself evaded the TVA for years. It seems more likely, though, that the big secret the TVA is covering up is the existence of a multiverse. We know that’s coming, thanks to the title of the Doctor Strange sequel; perhaps this is how?
At any rate, before our pair of leads can worry about that, they have to figure out how to get out of their current predicament; as Loki interrupts Sylvie’s attack on the TVA, he’s forced to make a desperate play to save both of their lives; he steals her TemPad and uses it, blindly teleporting them to the planet Lamentis 1. It’s not the best destination they could have ended up in. According to Sylvie, Lamentis is one of the worst apocalypses in the timeline, a planetary collision that ends with no survivors. Also, the TemPad’s out of power. It’ll be fine, right?
Lamentis 1 does provide a nice change of pace, though. Without the TVA directly on their heels for a change, Loki and Sylvie are given time to get to know each other a little more, to share stories and motivations and feelings, in between plots to hijack first a train and then a space shuttle. These talks are where we learn about Sylvie’s history, for instance, and where the show takes time to confirm that Loki himself is bisexual. It hints too that Sylvie is, but of course she doesn’t confirm that, instead spending quite a lot of time pulling information from Loki while revealing scant details about herself. Instead, the scene is a way for Sophia Di Martino to shine as an actor, displaying wistfulness, mischief, humor, and melancholy as Sylvie skirts the questions posed to her.
The conversation becomes a discussion of love, as an abstract concept, as a way to distance the pair from their own painful memories, and it’s maybe the weakest point of the episode. For all that it tries to be charming and clever in its exploration of what love is, it feels forced and heavy-handed, instead of natural. It’s true that love is a very complicated feeling, sometimes, but the very fact that it’s complicated means that it needs time to explore, and it’s not a subject that’s done justice by a little pithy banter.
It’s clear that Sylvie has given up a lot on this path. Her insistence on not being called a Loki is interesting too; paired with the context of gender fluidity mentioned by Loki’s head writer Michael Waldron, it paints the picture of a person who knows herself, despite what or who others may think she is. Sylvie has had to fight to be Sylvie, has had to fight just to live as herself, and it’s hard to look at someone like that as a villain. She seems much more tragic in this light, not to mention genuinely likable. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier grossly mishandled its story of a woman trying to push back against uncaring authority, swerving wildly into both-sides discourse. It would be nice to see a similar story done right with Sylvie and the TVA.
It’s just too bad that the TemPad gets broken during a scuffle that sees the pair of them ejected from the train. It’s also too bad that the last shuttle to leave the planet is hit by a meteor just as they’re about to board it, before it can even take off. Lamentable, one might say. Maybe we’ll meet a new Loki in episode four!
Loki Episode 4:
Ok, now that’s out of the way I have to calm down enough to review Marvel’s Loki, episode 4, “The Nexus Event,” which had me on the edge of my seat until the post-credits scene. During said post-credits scene I was very much out of my seat. I don’t remember when I stood up, but I guess it must have happened at some point in the 0.2 seconds between being overjoyed that Loki wasn’t dead (again!) and seeing Richard E. Grant. But let’s backtrack, because there is so much to talk about before we get there.
The first three episodes of Loki were often divisive. As much as I personally loved them, a quick scroll through the comments section under my reviews revealed that not everyone was as enjoying the series as much as I was. However, many of the complaints I read were about elements of the story that paid off extremely well in Loki episode 4.
Patience is very much a virtue, so if you felt there was value in spending last week’s episode just hanging out with Loki and Sylvie on a doomed moon and getting to know the pair better, you likely got a lot out of their forced separation and the moment they reunited to face off against the “Time-Keepers.” If you enjoyed the weird friendship building between Loki and Mobius in the first two episodes, you probably felt that gut punch when Loki had to watch him die. And if you’ve been deeply suspicious of Renslayer and scoping her office for clues during those TVA admin scenes, you finally had the chance to yell “HA! I KNEW IT!” when she turned out to be a wrong’un.
We started the episode with a little backstory. We got to witness Sylvie being snatched by the TVA as a child and eluding her Variant pruning by a dispassionate Renslayer, but this scene immediately became a bit of a Loki timeline headache: this wasn’t a quick pruning before a Nexus Event hit the redline – Sylvie was born a Loki and lived for quite a few years on Asgard before Renslayer and the TVA stepped in. Questions arising from those events are left unanswered in episode 4, so we’ll have to put them on the backburner for now.
We then snapped back to the “present” when the TVA stepped in to haul Loki and Sylvie out of the Lamentis apocalypse, which ultimately led to Mobius and B-15 facilitating their escape from captivity. We suspected this might happen. What we didn’t know was how it was going to go down, and the answer came in agonizing drips as Mobius and B-15 started to question everything they thought they knew about the TVA and its mission. It was tense af – from B-15 taking Sylvie back to Roxxcart and experiencing some heart-breaking memories of her true past, to Mobius finally realizing that Renslayer was a lying liar from Lietown, it really did feel like these breakthroughs could go either way because – as we are all now very much well aware – Renslayer is anything but stupid.
In episode 4, Renslayer did her best to get rid of Loki and Sylvie, but the duo appeared to have formed quite the bond in their brief time together; a bond that Mobius picked up on fairly quickly after love first saved the day. At this point, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: Loki and Sylvie’s budding relationship. Many of us would have preferred this to stay as more of a sibling thing, and episode 4 appears to be laying the groundwork for a romantic connection, at least on Loki’s part. Whether this show will continue to advance the romance between them remains to be seen, but perhaps we should attempt to strap in for the inevitable here?
Elsewhere, Owen Wilson just continued killing it as Mobius. He and Loki’s friendship has been such a key emotional anchor in this series, and the thrill of watching Mobius connect the dots and finally try to break out of the box the TVA put him in was cut so awfully short by his sudden death at the end of a pruning stick. Just a devastating moment, and one that the show allows Loki to feel deeply, albeit briefly. I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Wilson in the show, though I’m not sure how he could be worked into further MCU installments if he somehow reappears and makes it to the end. Loki season 2? Fingers crossed, as there’s obviously even more dark shit going on behind the scenes of the TVA yet to come.
So the omnipotent and lizard-like Time-Keepers are nothing but androids, huh? Nothing but a pantomime. Again, this is something that many Marvel fans have anticipated, but who is really behind the TVA, the mythology of the Time-Keepers’ creation, and the dubious nature of the “sacred timeline”? Is it really going to turn out to be Kang the Conqueror? It’s hard to forget that Renslayer is Kang’s girlfriend in Marvel Comics, and Kang is definitely set to make an appearance in the now-filming Ant-Man 3, but I suspect this show has a few big surprises in store for us in its final two episodes.
Loki Episode 5:
“I am Loki. God of Outcasts. They see themselves in me, and I in them. All of us, alone together. It’s why my stories always end with someone trying to put me in a box. And begin with my spectacular escape.”
An excerpt there from Daniel Kibblesmith’s Loki #5, and quite a prominent theme of Loki’s story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. Classic Loki (a spectacular Richard E. Grant) declared part of it aloud in the fifth episode of Loki when he told his gathered counterparts that they only have one part to play in the story of life, the universe, and everything: the God of Outcasts.
But throughout the series to date, Loki has borne witness to all his terrible flaws made flesh, and right about now he is just sick to death of them. From the God of Outcasts to the God of Losers to the God of Mischief, Loki is tired – so very tired – of himself. He’s also falling in love with himself, but I’m not here to perform that kind of emotional labor. He can take that shit to his therapist and work it out in private.
“Wherever you go, there you are” fits just as well for Loki episode 5’s theme, as Loki got to know some other versions of himself while stranded in the Void; their mistakes laid bare. Kid Loki killed Thor (you could’ve heard a pin drop), Classic Loki survived his Avengers: Infinity War encounter with Thanos by using his beefed-up sorcery …to hide. Alligator Loki ate his neighbor’s cat. Boastful Loki kicked both Iron Man and Captain America’s asses and went on to collect the Infinity Stone set, and “Vote Loki” was all about claiming political power on Midgard, I suppose.
It’s hard to pick an MVP from this gaggle of Lokis on the run. While it’s tempting to immediately choose Alligator Loki (literally every shot of him broke any serious moment with a laugh) or Kid Loki, who I am looking forward to inevitably joining a future Young Avengers lineup, Classic Loki wielded the most thematic impact by revealing what would have happened if Loki had evaded death in the “sacred” MCU timeline: weariness, loneliness, and a mile of regret. Loki really got a chance to see where all his worthless baggage was taking him, drawn heavily in the lines of Classic Loki’s face.
While there was both a lot of emotional resonance and fun to be had in this particular installment of the series, it did suffer from the traditional problems of a penultimate episode. It had “one last boss to fight” in Alioth before our Loki-Sylvie duo forged ahead to challenge the big bad, and we also had to go through the motions of “formulating a successful plan of attack,” all of which drove up enough excitement for the finale but didn’t really get us any closer to the end of our own journey into mystery. After last week’s shocks and surprises, there was bound to be a little calm before the storm, but I’m probably not the only one who hoped for a little bit more oomph in amongst the admittedly extremely distracting and gleeful collection of Marvel Easter eggs onscreen.
It was definitely a relief to see Mobius had managed to stay alive in the Void after being pruned at Judge Renslayer’s behest. Many thanks to Marvel for pulling its own “Lightning McQueen to the rescue” moment in a pizza delivery car – alright, it wasn’t a jet ski, but there’s still time. It seems that Loki has made a real friend in all this weirdness, and I hope that this will be a friendship that endures beyond the end of the series. Owen Wilson has been an excellent addition to the MCU and seems to have had a lot of fun playing the character.
Though it was a pleasure to spend some time with Mobius, the Lokis, and their stories, there was some awkward blanket time with Loki and Sylvie that I really could have done without. I will reiterate that I wish this romance wasn’t happening; it just feels weird as hell. I love Sylvie as a character but making her a love interest for Loki still feels unfortunate and way too rushed.
In the end, Loki and Sylvie managed to enchant Alioth by combining their growing power, but unfortunately it was too late to save Classic Loki, something I do not have it in my heart to forgive at this time. Yes, of course they managed to open a portal to the place beyond the Void in an effort to confront the entity who may truly be behind the creation of the TVA, but would it have killed them to get the job done a few seconds earlier?
Who will be revealed as the villain of this show next week? My first instinct – and one I had when the first trailer was released despite getting all the details laughably wrong – was that Loki and Sylvie were about to meet the MCU’s version of Doctor Doom. The castle we see in the distance looks eerily like the Doomstadt of Battleworld. But so many hints in the series thus far have teased a Kang the Conqueror appearance!