Tom Hiddleston’s Revelation Rocks Marvel Universe: Loki’s True Nature Unveiled

MCU veteran Tom Hiddleston has suggested that Loki was never actually a villain, and these comments make sense in the grander scheme of the MCU.

Tom Hiddleston smiling as Loki in Loki season 1

Tom Hiddleston has suggested that Loki was never actually a villain in the MCU, and he has the evidence to back it up. English actor Tom Hiddleston first appeared as the MCU’s God of Mischief and Thor’s brother, Loki, in 2011’s Thor, and despite starting out as a small-scale villain, Loki has gone on to become one of the central figures in the MCU. Hiddleston has appeared in a total of nine live-action and animated MCU projects, spanning feature films and TV shows, which have seen him go from sinister villain in Phase 1 to bona fide hero in Loki.

Thor marked Loki’s introduction as a villain in the MCU, a storyline that continued into The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World. His subsequent appearances in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War saw him take on a slightly more heroic role, though this was reverted in Avengers: Endgame as a variant of the God of Mischief from 2012 escaped during the Avengers’ Time Heist. However, the events of Phase 4’s Loki featured Loki finding his true “glorious purpose,” making him one of the most improved and transformed characters in the MCU, but Tom Hiddleston has different opinions about his journey.

Tom Hiddleston Says Loki Was Never A Villain

Loki fighting to protect Asgard in Thor Ragnarok

The cast of Loki, including Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson and Sophia di Martino, spoke to Deadline on April 13, 2024, to reveal more about the inner workings of the Loki series. During the Contenders TV event, Hiddleston spoke about Loki’s villainous roots, but claimed that Loki had never actually been a villain. Hiddleston noted that Loki was “a broken soul with a shattered heart who felt like he didn’t belong,” and it was this grief that hardened into grievance, better connecting him to Sylvie and Mobius in Loki, and suggesting his villainous actions may not have been his actual intention.

Playing Loki has changed the course of my whole life, no question. And I feel so proud of where we’ve ended up in Season 2. It was very creatively fulfilling to bring something full circle. I always saw him from the very first film as a broken soul with a shattered heart who felt like he didn’t belong … all that grief hardens into grievance. That’s what binds him to Sylvie. And the grievance is what drives him to become a villain in the Avengers and the Thor movies, and this second chance that he’s given by Mobius to rediscover that glorious purpose that he feels he’s always been burdened with … it comes in a shape he would have never recognized and would never have anticipated. And it gave him a kind of catharsis that he wasn’t ready for.

Tom Hiddleston stressed how much he loved portraying Loki between Thor and the ending of Loki season 2. The finale of the Phase 5 season left Loki’s future in the MCU unclear, so while the former God of Mischief has been heavily rumored to be returning, there has been no confirmation from Marvel Studios. Hiddleston appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 12, 2024, and revealed that he is satisfied with the “narrative conclusion” reached at the end of Loki season 2, but also dived deeper into his idea that Loki wasn’t a villain, but was only making “misguided choices.”

I don’t know. I really don’t know. I know that we’ve reached some sort of narrative conclusion with season 2, which feels very satisfying to me. I’m aware that he’s made some interesting choices, which could be accumulated into a picture that looks like he’s a villain, and once upon a time, he was making some misguided choices. You know, trying to take over New York and the Avengers having to assemble to stop him, that was a bad day in the office. I’d like to think that you know, 14 years later, he’s making some slightly more generous, loving and heroic choices.

Odin Was Behind Loki’s Trauma (& His “Evil”)

Odin with young Thor and Loki in Thor flashback

Even though Loki was featured as one of the most prominent villains in the MCU’s Phase 1, Tom Hiddleston makes a good point that Loki’s “evil” actions weren’t actually made with evil intentions. In fact, the majority of Loki’s villainy was caused by Odin’s treatment of his adoptive son. Anthony Hopkins’ Odin had stolen Loki as a newborn Frost Giant in the hopes that he and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Odin’s biological son, could one day forge a partnership between their two warring species. This meant that Odin always favored Thor, and neglected Loki, which contributed to Loki constantly feeling second-best.

Loki’s isolation from his own family made him desperate to seek approval and acceptance from his adoptive father. This desire contributed to him manipulating Thor’s banishment from Asgard, and the Frost Giants’ entrance into Asgard and defeat in 2011’s ThorThese could evidently be seen to be purely villainous actions, but they were borne from Loki’s need to be seen by his father, though these plans ultimately backfired. Part of his evolution into a true hero in the MCU’s more-recent projects is due to Loki becoming more confident in his own worth, rather than seeking the attention of his father.

Loki Proved His True Goodness In His Solo Series

Loki guarding every timeline at the end of Loki season 2-1

Marvel Studios’ Loki season 1 introduced a villainous version of the God of Mischief back to the MCU, as he had only just escaped from the Avengers’ clutches in an alternate 2012. Loki acted in his own self-interest for most of Loki season 1, teaming up with Sylvie to try and take down the Time Variance Authority. However, Loki season 1’s finale saw the titular God of Mischief reconsider this course of action for the sake of the Sacred Timeline. After the Sacred Timeline’s destruction and He Who Remains’ demise, Loki season 2 saw Loki embrace his heroism more fully.

Loki season 2 transformed the former God of Mischief into a truly altruistic hero, as he took it upon himself to destroy the Temporal Loom and assume the responsibility of protecting the infinite branching timelines of the multiverse. This was a true sacrifice for Loki, particularly since he had only recently found a new family with his TVA comrades, including Mobius, Hunter B-15, Casey, Sylvie, and Ouroboros. The fact that Loki chose to sacrifice these new relationships and dedicate his life to protecting the multiverse proves his transformation into a bona fide hero, far removed from any self-interest or villainy.

Only The Avengers Made Loki A Villain (But It’s More Complicated Than That)

Loki smiling at Tony Stark in The Avengers

The only MCU project that seemed to put Loki’s villainy on display was 2012’s The Avengers, which saw the God of Mischief journey to Earth and begin an invasion of New York with the help of his Chitauri army. This put millions of innocent lives at risk, yet Loki continued to get back at his brother, who had formed a fondness for Earth. However, this storyline is far more complicated, as the tragic context of these actions is that Loki had just spent a significant period of time in hellish exile, and in the clutches of the Mad Titan, Thanos.

Loki’s tenuous alliance with Thanos during The Avengers meant that the God of Mischief was backed into a corner. Either he engaged in Thanos’ plan to acquire the Tesseract, or he’d be killed. This simple decision meant that Loki had little choice but to proceed with his invasion of New York, so Loki’s villainy in The Avengers was actually the first act of evil by Thanos in the MCU. This proves Tom Hiddleston right, that Loki was never actually a villain in the MCU, but was only misguided, and thankfully got the chance to display his heroism in his more-recent stories.

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