First, he wanted to rule Asgard. Next, he was burdened with a glorious purpose in his conquest of Earth. Now, he’s a cautious ally, with potentially suspect motives. Loki, the adopted brother of Thor, carries a presence that steals the show in every Marvel film he’s in. With INFINITY WAR on the horizon, what’s next for Loki? Is he even still a villain? Let’s look at what we know so far and determine what Loki will do in the next film. Will it be Loki’s redemption or Loki’s epic betrayal? Let’s find out.

Loki Beginnings as a Misunderstood Villain

As the Marvel films have progressed, so has Loki’s development. In the first THOR and AVENGERS films, Loki was a definite villain. Feeling overshadowed by his brother and unloved by his adopted father Odin, Loki seeks to make a name for himself and to rule.

He carefully manipulated events, causing his brother to be banished to Earth. He then allows the frost giants to invade, so he can then save Odin from them, all so he could appear as the benevolent king he always wants to be.

Loki's Redemption

Thor returns and reveals his betrayal. Their confrontation leads to the Bifrost being destroyed and a wormhole opening beneath them. Loki releases himself from his brother and father’s grasp, falling into the wormhole. While they mourned what they believed to be his death, Loki survives and would later perceive that event as his family’s betrayal of him, tossing him into the abyss and away from what he perceives as his right to rule.

Loki then desires to rule Earth. To accomplish this, Loki seeks support from a benefactor: Thanos, the Mad Titan himself. Thanos gives Loki an alien army and the Mind Stone to take over the Earth. In exchange, he desires for Loki to retrieve the Space Stone for him. However, Loki is foiled by the Avengers, and imprisoned on Asgard. The Mind Stone was kept on Earth, and the Space Stone is held in Odin’s vault.

Betrayal Is His Second Nature

Loki’s next appearance happens in THOR: THE DARK WORLD. Released by Thor, Loki forms an unlikely alliance with his brother in order to protect Asgard from the invading Dark Elves. Loki’s motive to help Thor isn’t out of a newfound desire to help Asgard, but out of rage and the desire for revenge against the Elves for killing their mother. When they go to confront the elves during the battle, Loki seemingly sacrifices himself in order to save Thor.

Thor goes on to save the universe from the elves, believing his brother to have died a heroic death. When he is successful, he returns to Asgard and speaks with his father, saying that Loki died with honor. Thor abdicates the throne but vows to protect the realms. Once he leaves, the disguise drops. Loki is not dead and has done away with the true Odin. With another deception and betrayal, he now has what he has always desired: a throne from which he can rule.

Up to this point, Loki can be counted on to be untrustworthy. Even as an ally, his goals are his own. If they happen to match someone else’s, like Thor’s in THE DARK WORLD, then so be it. Be that as it may, Loki will only remain an ally until it is no longer useful to his ends or when another seemingly better opportunity comes along. If he has to betray people along the way, that’s not a problem.

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Loki Currently: Same Old, Same Old?

In the most recent THOR film, THOR: RAGNAROK, Thor uncovers Loki’s deception from THE DARK WORLD. They go together to find Odin where Loki left him on Earth. They find him in Norway, where Odin tells his sons he is dying. His death unleashes Hela, Thor’s secret sister, and the Goddess of Death. She goes to rule Asgard, and Loki and Thor end up on Sakaar.

Loki arrives earlier than Thor, already friends with the planet’s ruler, the Grandmaster. This makes sense, as Loki has the negotiating tactics and the charisma to make friends to his advantage (a charisma that fans love). Loki seems to enjoy his time there, thriving on the chaos and lawlessness Sakaar provides.

Thor even comments on this when Loki agrees to help him escape Sakaar. Loki wants to stay, and Thor agrees. He goes on to say that he thought that he and Loki would be fighting side by side forever, and maybe there’s still good in Loki, but it seems that their paths split long ago. Loki hesitantly agrees, not appearing as though he truly does.

Later, Loki attempts to betray Thor yet again. However, Thor anticipates the betrayal and leaves Loki incapacitated on the floor before he can do so. Again, Loki can be depended on to double-cross. Thor says his betrayals are becoming predictable, and that he seems determined to always be the God of Mischief. Thor then adds that Loki could be so much more.

Loki: “The Anti-Hero”

Thor goes with Valkyrie and the Hulk to confront Hela. When all seems lost, Loki arrives in a ship big enough to evacuate the Asgardian people, appearing to have a change of heart and joins the side of the heroes. He does indeed like the appearance of being a hero to the Asgardian people.

Loki's Redemption

Realizing that Hela draws her power from Asgard itself, Thor comes up with a plan. He tells Loki to go into Odin’s vault and place the crown of Surtur into the Eternal Flame. This unleashes Surtur upon Asgard. With Asgard, the place, destroyed, Hela loses her power and Thor rescues Asgard, the people.

However, unbeknownst to Thor, Loki took a detour in Odin’s vault. As he walks to the eternal flame, he finds the Space Stone. He stops to take a look, implying that he took it. How could he not? It’s the one thing that he was supposed to get for Thanos. Loki would be eager to get it now for Thanos and save his own skin as he was warned in THE AVENGERS that failure to do so would result in him wishing for death.

The Beginning of Loki’s Redemption?

Loki has now come to the point where he’s starting to care a little more beyond his own desires. He becomes a little softer in his demeanor, and while he initially has no interest in helping Thor save Asgard, he does urge him to not face Hela and her power. It also seems as though Thor’s words got through to him to some degree, as Loki arrives to help Thor.

Loki's Redemption

At the end of the film, Thor thanks Loki and says that if Loki was actually there on the ship, he might hug him. As it turns out, Loki is actually there with Thor. Perhaps Loki has decided to forge a new path, break the cycle of betrayal and be more than the God of Mischief. This would certainly suggest a path for Loki’s redemption.

THOR: RAGNAROK ends with Thor suggesting that they take their people to Earth. Loki expresses some hesitation, but Thor assures him that everything is going to work out fine, truly believing that Loki’s redemption is possible. As soon as he says that, a large ship appears right in front of theirs, ominously countering Thor’s reassurance.

Thanos has come for the Space Stone, which brings us to the upcoming INFINITY WAR.

 

What We Know from the INFINITY WAR Trailer

The INFINITY WAR trailers provide confirmation to the assumption that Loki indeed took the Space Stone from Odin’s vault. He is seen offering it to someone in a scene covered in destruction and flames, and we can assume its Thanos. It might also be safe to assume that the destruction behind him is the wreckage of the ship Thor, Loki, and the rest of Asgard was in, not to mention the Hulk.

That can’t be good for the future of Asgard. However, The biggest question is about Loki’s role in this scene and the context of this offering. Is it out of a desire for self-preservation? He might be looking for a way to escape Thanos’ wrath, and offering the Stone might gain him some mercy. Did he call Thanos?

Loki's Redemption

Another more altruistic possibility is that he’s offering the Stone in exchange for the survival of his brother and Asgard. This seems like a likely choice for Loki to make given his character development into more of an anti-hero on the path to redemption. However, Thanos and his Black Order may just be forcing him to hand it over.

A shot from the trailer sees Loki standing among the Order in the same fiery setting where he offers the Stone. However, Proxima Midnight is holding her staff near his head, so it does not appear that he’s on good terms with them just yet, if ever. I don’t think Loki will fully betray Thor and join Thanos.

That just seems like a step backward from what we’ve recently seen.

Loki's Redemption

The End for Loki?

Some have suggested that Loki’s Role in the MCU might end with this film, and its all because of a correlation made between Loki’s offering shot in the trailer and another. In this second scene, you can see Thor’s head in Thanos’ hand, his eyes are shut and his face looks to be in serious pain.

Now, while some say that this is Thanos brutally squeezing Thor’s head, others think it could be that Thanos is simply holding his head in place, with the desire to force Thor to look at something. If that’s that case, then whatever it is, it’s something Thor doesn’t want to see, hence the painful look and shut eyes.

Loki's Redemption

What if the something Thanos wants Thor to see is Loki’s death? All of the shots from the trailer referenced look to happen in the same setting believed to be the ship’s wreckage. What if Loki offers the Stone in order to save his brother and people, but ends up being killed by Thanos and his children anyway? Loki’s redemption happens with this act, only to have him die right after.

Thanos forces Thor to watch and, with Stone in hand, departs to obtain the other Stones, leaving Thor to live. Maybe the rest of Asgard dies, leaving only two Asgardians left: Thor and Loki. We know Thanos desires to only kill half of all life, so what if he determines he only needs to kill Loki, thereby only killing half of Asgardian life? Grim, but possible.

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Best Guess? Loki’s Redemption, Not Betrayal

This would not only be an incredibly intense way to begin INFINITY WAR by tragically revealing to audiences how high the stakes really are, but would also be a tragically satisfying end for Loki’s redemption as a character. I’m sure fans would love to see him join the fight against Thanos on the side of good.

They would totally forgive his past deeds as a villain. If this is truly the act that signals Loki’s redemption, turning him towards the light, how devastating would it be if that opportunity is snuffed out before it could even begin? Loki’s journey is one defined by personal pain and feelings of rejection.

It’s what makes Loki’s role in the MCU so dynamic. It would be fitting to see a character whose growth and arc ends with a final note of redemption instead of betrayal. Putting himself in the line of fire for a family member and people who he once rejected and believed he could never be a part of.

It would be so sad to see Loki’s redemption as a character at the cost of his death. However, as much as I want to see more of Thor and Loki fighting side by side, it would be a tragically fitting conclusion for such an amazing antagonist whose transformation has been quite epic and intense all the way through.

Hopefully, this will be the case for Loki’s redemption, or something similar. Either way, we’ll know soon.

INFINITY WAR releases April 27th. Get your tickets now! 

2 Comments

  1. Cade

    April 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    A villain being redeemed through death is such an over used and lazy writing trope. For such a complex character like Loki to end that way rather than having the opportunity to fight alongside the Avengers would be an insult to his character (which has be undeniably one of Marvel’s best and most beloved) and to his fanbase who have been rooting for him since day one.

    Reply

  2. loki laufeyson

    April 1, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Awesome theory!

    Reply

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