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Tom Hiddleston Chris Hemsworth

Tom Hiddleston, left, and Chris Hemsworth reach a truce in "Thor: The Dark World."


In the 10-plus years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began, Loki has been one of its biggest breakout stars. The character has gone from being a hardcore comics fan's 30th favorite villain to an iconic figure known the world over, due to strong arcs in his five film appearances and Hiddleston's fantastic portrayal. Though he was effective in "Thor," the trickster's popularity truly skyrocketed in the first "Avengers" and continued as he was featured heavily in "Thor: The Dark World" (being probably the only element of that slog worth remembering) and "Thor: Ragnarok." The character has been such a favorite for audiences that when he was seemingly killed earlier this year in "Avengers: Infinity War" a slew of theories appeared arguing why he didn't die.

Since one of Disney's next ventures is its streaming service, Disney+, the House of Mouse is trying to make TV shows based off of some of its biggest characters and franchises to bring in subscribers. Loki will star in one of those productions, as it was recently confirmed Hiddleston will lead the series. On one hand, the God of Mischief is a natural choice to shift to the small screen. Beyond the next "Avengers" film, it's unclear if Loki's biggest foil and the character he's the most connected to, Thor, will get a fourth film, so giving audiences more Loki through his own vehicle without centering a $100 million dollar four-quadrant movie around him is a sound plan financially. Plus, since Loki is the trickster god, a serialized series would be a good opportunity to see how his mischief and lies evolve as the show continues, allowing the way he reacts to the consequences of his actions to progress as well. Plus, let's be honest: Hiddleston has been an absolute treat in the role since the first "Thor" film, crafting a character equal parts loathsome and compelling.

On the other hand, there are far more drawbacks to a Loki show: First off, the revelation that this show is happening at all seems to point heavily to the character somehow surviving what appeared to be death by Thanos' massive hand in "Infinity War." I don't buy that this show could be a prequel unless we're in for some serious retconning, since the "Thor" and "Avengers" movies have shown the formative moments of Loki's life. Looking back seven years ago to the first "Thor" where we met Loki, it's implied he was a trickster but not enough that his family was aware of it or that he was known as the God of Mischief, since it's clearly shown Thor trusts him in the film's beginning until he showed his true colors. He also doesn't go through the life-changing moment of discovering he is the biological son of Laufey, king of the Frost Giants and not Asgardian king Odin until the first film.

After that film, he apparently crossed paths with Thanos and gained the Mind Gem and the Chitauri army, but that's not enough to hang an entire show on. He was captured at the end of "Avengers," and he feels the other game-changer of finding out his adopted mother Frigga was murdered in "The Dark World." He covertly usurped Odin as the ruler of Asgard, dumped dear ol' adopted dad on Earth and pretended to be him for four years, until "Ragnarok" happens and he gets killed in the first act of "Infinity War." That is basically the beginning and end of Loki's story in the MCU.

The first "Thor" gives off the impression his villain career really kicked off in that film, so unless we're in for 10 episodes of Loki pretending to be Anthony Hopkins while commissioning the play we see in "Ragnarok" and hanging out with Matt Damon's Asgardian actor — and I'm not saying I wouldn't watch the hell out of that, just that it's unlikely — the show will almost definitely take place after the fourth "Avengers."The heavily rumored time travel plot could set up an out for the character, as there has been scuttlebutt that Thor will travel back in time and interact with Loki circa the first "Avengers," so it's not implausible that a clever god such as Loki would use any information his brother gives him to avoid being killing by Thanos and fake his death. However, after his arc from seven years and five films, that would be an incredibly disappointing cop-out, or if he survived through other means.

In an age where franchise pictures are accused of often remaining static, Loki really sees changes from his first appearance to the last, at least to an extent. He started as a sympathetic yet vicious villain, and while he (seemingly) died as a god who still lies and schemes, a few heart-to-hearts with Thor and the passing of both Frigga and Odin in "Ragnarok" showed him actually caring for other people. Take his final scene in "Infinity War," for instance. Loki has been shown to be calculating, only taking risks when he needed to or when it was likely to benefit him. It's unlikely that he didn't at least consider that Thanos would see through his ruse of loyalty and snuff him out, which makes his sacrifice more affecting. Finding out that Loki lived, while somewhat appropriate for someone who faked his death on numerous occasions in the past, would negate past character growth. The Marvel films could differentiate themselves from the comics by not resorting to keeping every single character alive and available until the heat death of the universe, as unlikely as that sounds,

There is also the nature of Loki's character to consider. In each of his film he has been either the villain or a secondary protagonist (albeit a scene-stealing one) who the main character or characters have reacted off of. The show will mark the first time the spotlight will be squarely on Loki, though you can definitely make the argument that Loki was the real lead of "The Dark World," because, dammit, there had to be something interesting in that movie. This will be the first time he really will be the primary character for all intents and purposes, especially since Loki doesn't have an especially large supporting cast of his own to pull from in the comics, though the show will likely borrow characters from the "Thor" books the MCU hasn't depicted yet. The character may not be as effective when the narrative rests entirely on his shoulders and he's not just chewing scenery around other characters, not unlike when Captain Jack Sparrow went from the most interesting main character in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" pictures to the one who the films truly revolved around, to increasing diminished creative returns.

Though a Loki TV series certainly makes sense from a financial perspective and as a way to bring in viewers for Disney's streaming service and Hiddleston will surely act the hell out of the character in any context, it doesn't seem to match up from a story standpoint. The character has already been portrayed to great effect with his sizable screen time in the MCU thus far, and unless there is a truly fantastic plot in store, the series could reek of a cash grab. Of course, it wouldn't be a Loki project without some element of avarice.

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.


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