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What You Should Know Before You See ‘Loki’

Need a refresher on Loki's backstory? Here's everything to know about the master of mischief before his Disney+ series debuts.
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In case you haven’t heard, Marvel’s God of Mischief has been given his very own spin-off on Disney+. Based on the popular character’s storyline, how far backward (or forward) Loki will ultimately travel remains a bit nebulous. But one thing’s for certain, there’s going to be a lot of time traveling involved. So buckle up.

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And while we’ve got a minute, let’s look into Loki’s backstory to get a sense of where we’re going next.

Loki Is Thor’s Brother

GIPHY | | Marvel Studios

As you might expect from someone dubbed “The God of Mischief,” Loki switches allegiances from one movie to the next. He’s Thor’s brother, but he’s not the biological son of Odin. Played by Tom Hiddleston, Loki finds out he was adopted by the King of Asgard during the Thor movies. Much to his dismay, Loki discovers he’s not only a descendent of the Frost Giants, he was born to their leader, Laufey. Laufey abandoned Loki and left him for dead.

With the best of intentions, Odin took Loki in and raised him. Growing up, Thor and Loki have a Godlike sibling rivalry and an all-around complicated relationship. On more than one occasion, Loki tries to take over Asgard with sights set on claiming his father’s throne by whatever means necessary. But it turns out he’s not all bad.

He’s More Than Just a Villain

GIPHY | Marvel Studios

Loki is a complex character. With each appearance, we slowly realize there’s some good in him that seems to keep growing. Yes, Thor’s tricky and power-hungry brother forms an alliance with Thanos in Avengers. And yes, he attempts to enslave all of Earth. But many times, he sacrifices himself for Thor.

More on that in a minute.

At one point, he joins forces with his brother in an effort to save the lives of their civilization. Thor and Loki start planning a better tomorrow for the people of Asgard. But old habits die hard. As the Asgardians are fleeing a crumbling world, something goes terribly wrong. Thanos is prowling the planet for some missing Infinity Stones and won’t rest until he finds them. Loki’s eternally sticky fingers prove to be the culprit. When everyone was packing up to leave Asgard for good, Loki nabbed an Infinity Stone from the treasure room. As usual, he just couldn’t help himself.

Thanos (and more mayhem) soon follows.

He’s Faked His Death More Than Once

GIPHY | Marvel Studios

Loki is also a master of magic and frequently uses it to his advantage, especially when sacrificing himself on his brother’s behalf. In the Thor movies, he dies twice. Or at least, he appears to. Every time fans were sad to see the popular character go, it turned out to be another trick. Somehow, Loki always returns and gradually seems to be evolving from evildoer to good guy. But his path to reformation is never straight or narrow, to put it mildly.

During Thor, the first time Loki fakes his own death, he hurls himself into a wormhole. And he doesn’t stop there. When he fakes his death the next time, he returns to Asgard and takes over the throne by pretending to be Odin. He’s pretty convincing for a minute. While masquerading as his powerful pops, Loki even has an unusually touching father-son (but secretly brother to brother) moment with Thor. Thor eventually figures out the ruse. But it’s not the last trick up Loki’s sleeve.

Loki Died For Real. Or Did He?

GIPHY | Marvel Studios

While pretending to have Thanos’ back, Loki sneakily plans his demise. Of course, killing this supervillain proves easier said than done. Thanos figures it out and kills Loki first. Brutally, I might add–he does it right in front of Thor. That’s the moment it starts to look like we’ve truly seen the last of Loki. Thanos lets it be known there will be “no resurrections this time.”

So yes, Loki’s technically dead from that moment forward. But this is Marvel we’re talking about. Any character can and will return to the big or small screen when it suits, especially when there’s so much time travel involved. But when it comes to Loki, it helps to know which version of this villain we’re meeting each time.

The Loki We’ll Meet This Time

GIPHY | Marvel Studios

In Avengers: Endgame, we encounter a past version of Loki who escaped with the Tesseract. In this alternate timeline, Loki is still gung-ho on world domination and other dark desires. For the new Disney+ series, everything that happens beyond Thor and The Avengers has yet to take place.

Starting today–June 9, 2021–we’ll get to know this 2012 version of Loki as he travels through time and space, it seems. So get ready for some top-tier mischief, Marvel fans. This wild ride could go just about anywhere.

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