The God of Mischief is stepping out of his brother’s shadow to embark on his own adventure. Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston, is set to hit Disney+ this week.
Here’s everything to know about the new Marvel series before you watch!
The new series marks the triumphant return of everyone’s favorite villain/hero/antihero. Since his on-screen debut in 2011’s Thor, Loki has been plenty of things: he’s been a trickster and a traitor, he spent a brief stint as a king, he went from full-on supervillain to antihero for Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok, and even wound up a self-sacrificing hero in Avengers: Infinity War. But this time, Loki is back as the star of the show for the very first time.
So if you’ve been keeping up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you know that Loki died (again) at the hand of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
So how is he alive for his own Disney+ series? We’re doing the time travel thing.
Just like how Vision found himself suddenly alive again in WandaVision, Loki is back from the dead for Disney+. Loki won’t be a projection of Wanda Maximoff’s imagination, though. Loki is really alive here, thanks to a little time travel loophole from the clever minds at Marvel.
Instead of “main timeline” Loki (who is long gone), Loki will introduce a version of the character who never experienced the redemption arc in Infinity War. The show is playing off the time travel plot of Avengers: Endgame, to journey all the way back to the less-developed Loki from 2012’s The Avengers.
In Endgame, you’ll remember that Loki grabs the Tesseract and teleports to another dimension. This is where the new series picks up.
Marvel is ready to double down on the time traveling. The Loki series is set inside of the world of the TVA, aka the Time Variance Authority. In the MCU, time travel causes timelines to split off into their own realities — which can make things complicated. That’s where the TVA comes in. It’s a futuristic bureaucratic organization (pulled from the comics) that monitors and governs various timelines of the multiverse. They are here to clean up messy timeline shenanigans.
Apparently the TVA was created in the future, but it exists outside of time… in other words, things might get a little confusing… and a little bit weird. And Loki is a time criminal. He’s no longer facing justice on Asgard; he’s under scrutiny from the TVA instead.
“We protect the proper flow of time,” TVA analyst Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson, wow) tells Loki in the trailer. “You picked up the Tesseract, breaking reality. I want you to help us fix it.”
So, where do you start if you’re not deeply involved in the MCU? Can you still enjoy Marvel’s new Loki series? Absolutely!
All of these time shenanigans mean that you don’t actually have to watch all of the movies that Loki is in to prepare for the new series. Tom Hiddleston has played the role in six Marvel movies since 2011: Thor, The Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. The last four of these technically exist in a different timeline than the upcoming Loki series.
To get a better sense of Loki’s history–and his complicated relationship with his brother and father–you need to watch Thor. And to get a better sense of who Loki is as a character, dive into The Avengers, which takes place right before the alternate timeline of Loki.
If you can’t wait for Loki, good news: the first episode hits the streaming service this week! Originally slated for June 11, in keeping with Marvel’s usual Friday releases, Loki has been bumped up to Wednesday, June 9. The first season will feature six episodes, with expected 40- to 50-minute runtimes.
Check out the official trailer here: