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The ‘Loki’ Entrance Survey

Soon enough, the God of Mischief (or at least a version of him) will be back from the dead, meddling with timelines. There’s no better time for an MCU temperature check.

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Wednesday marks the premiere of Loki, Marvel and Disney’s series centered on Tom Hiddleston’s antihero, the third MCU series to be released in 2021. Before the first episode drops, let’s talk series expectations, cameo predictions, and superhero saturation.

1. What are you most hyped for heading into Loki?

Andrew Gruttadaro: Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson, two of the most charming actors in Hollywood, spending a lot of time together.

Jomi Adeniran: More Tom Hiddleston in the MCU? SIGN ME UP!

Kate Halliwell: I’m ready for the online Hiddleston redemption arc. Return him to the internet boyfriend status he left behind years ago! It’s time!

Miles Surrey: All the tongue-in-cheek ways that Loki influences or alters human history. Here’s hoping Loki-as–D.B. Cooper is just the tip of the iceberg.

Ben Lindbergh: Weird Marvel remains my favorite Marvel, so give me more of that: the Time-Keepers, the TVA, and Loki in love (with himself, sort of).

Lex Pryor: I’m looking forward to this being an actual TV show, as opposed to an [insert absurd running time]–length movie. Television is good! We should do it more often!

Charles Holmes: The absence of personal hype heading into the third Disney+ Marvel show of the year has me most excited. After the WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier culture wars, it’s nice approaching something with zero expectations. I’ve finally succumbed to the content. We are one.

2. Loki has been an iconic Marvel villain and a Redemption Arc feel-good character. Are you more interested here in Good Loki, Bad Loki, or That Quintessential Blend of Both Loki?

Lindbergh: The Loki who varies from moment to moment.

Holmes: The only interesting Loki moving forward is Lady Loki, inspired by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel’s 2007 Thor run.

Surrey: Loki is going to start Bad, contemplate being Good, and eventually settle for his Quintessential Blend of Both. It’s important to remember this is an alt-timeline Loki, the one who tried to conquer Earth in The Avengers. By the final episode, though, I’m sure Loki will be more similar to what we saw in Thor: Ragnarok.

Pryor: Seeing as Good Loki got his windpipe crushed by Thanos and Bad Loki had the political leanings of a cosmic social Darwinist, I’ll go with a Blend of Both Loki. The MCU already has enough heroes and villains—I want a centuries-old identity thief with great comedic timing.

Adeniran: Loki is at his best when he’s straddling that line of good and evil. Bad Loki is an interesting villain but not fun to root for, and Good Loki is plain boring. Loki is fun when he’s doing, as Peter Quill put it at the tail end of Guardians of the Galaxy, “Something good? Something bad? A bit of both?”

Gruttadaro: These days Marvel—or should I say Disney?—never seems to pass up a chance to tell us that a Bad Guy is actually a Misunderstood Good Guy. I’m sick of it. I like Bad Guys. I see no path for Loki to return to his villainous roots, but he’s immensely more interesting as Bad Loki rather than Bad Loki Who’s Just Working Through Some Stuff.

Halliwell: Let’s go full Breaking Bad Loki! Good guys are no fun.

3. Which new-to-the-MCU actor will emerge as this show’s MVP?

Miles: There’s no way it isn’t Owen Wilson wowing us by being … himself.

Holmes: Hearing Owen Wilson’s first “wow” will be more satisfying than a sip of Asgardian ale on a midsummer’s day.

Lindbergh: After a couple of close calls and one false start, the MCU takeover of the Wes Anderson cinematic universe is picking up steam. Owen Wilson is the latest in a string of Anderson-verse–MCU crossovers, including Tilda Swinton Swintoning as the Ancient One (however regrettably), Jeff Goldblum Goldbluming as Grandmaster, Willem Dafoe possibly reprising his role as Norman Osborn, and Frances McDormand staring at a poster for The Avengers in Nomadland. Maybe it’s time to give Anderson a Marvel movie, although that could kill Scorsese.

Pryor: There is no answer but Owen Wilson. His mustache alone—giving me hints of Mad Men sans the “I have a second family” vibes—will launch the series into a different stratosphere.

Halliwell: Richard E. Grant has never not been the MVP of anything he’s been in.

Adeniran: I’m zigging where everyone is zagging: BAFTA winner Wunmi Mosaku from Luther and Lovecraft Country is a superb actress and I’m excited to see what her character will bring to the story and the MCU as a whole.

Gruttadaro: [Extreme Owen Wilson voice] Wow. I can’t believe you’d even ask. Wow. Wowww.

4. Which familiar face, location, or moment are you most hoping Loki revisits while attempting to repair the fractured timeline?

Lindbergh: While he’s fixing fractured timelines, maybe Loki can direct reshoots for the Flag-Smashers mess in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Holmes: I wouldn’t be mad if Loki traveled back to 2013 and fixed Thor: The Dark World.

Gruttadaro: Can we go back to the moment when they cast Chris Pratt as Peter Quill instead of Dennis Reynolds?

Surrey: They won’t, but Marvel should make fun of themselves a little and bring back actors who were replaced in the MCU—like Ed Norton (Hulk) and Terrence Howard (James Rhodes)—and retroactively make the characters’ change of appearance the result of Loki’s timeline meddling.

Adeniran: So far, every Disney MCU show has relitigated one of the movies that preceded it: WandaVision with Age of Ultron and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with Endgame’s ending. I’d love to see Loki tackle the growth he shows at the end of Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. And while I doubt Chris Hemsworth had time in between arm days to sneak in a cameo, it would be nice to see the Odinsons share the screen again.

Pryor: I would love to see Loki catch up with the Hulk at some point during his travels. Their interplay (Loki gets his ass kicked, Loki internalizes said ass-kicking) has been one of the great through lines in the films. There are very few figures who’ve been able to get the upper hand on the God of Mischief; seeing the Hulk do it through sheer strength and rage is always a treat.

Halliwell: I’d love for him to revisit any of the events of Ragnarok, simply because it’s such an incredibly entertaining movie. Also, Cate Blanchett.

5. How have Marvel’s previous two series—WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier—affected your expectations for this series?

Gruttadaro: Those shows have taught me two lessons: (1) These series are capable of both great and horrible things and (2) stay off the internet on release day.

Surrey: One of the series was pretty good (WandaVision) and the other was terrible (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier). It’s too early to have a definitive take on the MCU’s small-screen experiment either way, but Loki falling on the WandaVision end of the spectrum would definitely be encouraging.

Holmes: At this point, I’m sure that the following things will not appear or happen in Loki, or any Disney+ Marvel show:

  1. Mutants
  2. Mephisto
  3. Reed Richards
  4. Any universe-changing consequences that will impact the movies

Halliwell: WandaVision raised my expectations and Falcon lowered them, so we’re about even. I’m hoping for more of WandaVision’s endearing weirdness and less of Falcon’s CGI battles and dragging story lines.

Pryor: WandaVision gave me hope that Loki might end up being something unprecedented in the MCU. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made me a bit less confident in that hope (I tapped out when Sam gave those senators a stern talking to), but I still think Loki has as good a chance as any of the new series to reshape what being part of the global Marvel behemoth means.

Adeniran: If we can take anything from the first two Disney+ shows, it’s that they work better when you make them for TV instead of making a long movie and then chopping it up for TV. Loki looks more WandaVision than The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so it could be great. But at the end of the day, I really have no idea what Loki: Timecop has in store until it drops.

Lindbergh: Both were mixed bags, but because of the good times with Wanda, Cap, and Co., I’m going into Loki with higher hopes than I would have had six months ago.

6. Do you have MCU fatigue yet?

Holmes: Does Taika Waititi enjoy a nice throuple?

Surrey: Me after six straight months of Marvel content:

Lindbergh: I haven’t yelled “Enough!” after staring at the release schedule, but I wouldn’t mind spending some time apart from the MCU. Not that it matters to Marvel; my streaming queue has no quarrel with Kevin Feige’s boot. We’re not going to get a break from the superhero onslaught, because in the end, we will always watch.

Gruttadaro: I don’t really believe anyone who says they aren’t even a little exhausted by the MCU’s output in 2021. (And we haven’t even gotten to the movies!) But I don’t foresee fatigue metastasizing into rejection any time soon—even at their worst, MCU products are undeniably watchable—so focusing on the exhaustion is probably counterproductive.

Halliwell: Yes, but what aren’t we fatigued with these days? If anyone can insert some joy into Marvel’s tired universe—and ours, to be honest—it’s probably Loki. Or Owen Wilson. One of those two.

Pryor: I’ll be honest, I do have a bit of MCU fatigue, but less because I’m tired of the source material and more because I’d like to see more risk-taking in the execution. Loki looks to be a step in that direction, and if it is, I will gladly sign up for more.

Adeniran: I’ve been at opening night for every MCU film since 2014 so … no, not really. Why would I be tired of watching the best interconnected story universe of all time? By the way, we are in for an unprecedented run of MCU content for the rest of this year and I could not be more excited. I’m riding this train until the brakes fall off.