Comics on Film: What Marvel's Future Looks Like With and Without Tom Hiddleston's Loki

Comics on Film: What Marvel's Future Looks Like With and Without Tom Hiddleston's Loki

Sep 25, 2015

In last week's column we talked a lot about the state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's villains, and how the MCU at-large would benefit from the return of the Red Skull. Throughout that piece, we discussed the idea that many people seem to share regarding a "villain problem" within the MCU, but a shared consensus seems to be that whatever problems these villains may present, Loki -- as played by Tom Hiddleston -- is not a part of that problem.

He likely won't be, either, as long as the character continues to be developed in interesting ways and -- perhaps most importantly -- Hiddleston continues to find joy in playing the Norse God of Mischief. Well, on that last front, there may now be a problem.

 

Hiddleston May Be Getting 'Loki Fatigue'

In a recent interview with MTV, Hiddleston was asked about the prospects of playing Loki in still-to-come installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and whether or not he felt that audiences always had a craving for seeing more of the other Son of Odin. His response was perfectly logical, but could also be a sign of the actor looking toward a future that doesn't involve the character that he plays so well.

See what he had to say below.

Now, it would be irresponsible to make some definitive conclusion about Hiddleston's potential involvement in future films. It seems likely that he's a lock for 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, given the way that 2013's The Dark World ended, on top of considering the ramifications of a film that will explore the fabled future events that see the deaths of a number of Norse gods. including both Thor and Loki.

Beyond that, though, what does the future look like for Loki? In either case of Hiddleston's departure or return, there are interesting possibilities.

 

If Hiddleston Stays...

If the actor decides that there's something new to explore with Loki after the events of Ragnarok, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be able to continue to rely on its most valuable villainous resource. Loki is popular not just because of who he is and what he represents, but also because in his best representations he's always supposed to be a chameleon.

You never really know which side of the fence he will land on, especially considering that his first MCU appearance saw him orchestrate the things he did out of a somewhat twisted devotion to his adoptive father. Still, he isn't above reaching for a greater level of power and stature, as evidenced in both The Avengers and the final moments of Thor: The Dark World, and it's always interesting to see what writers can come up with to take Loki in new and entertaining directions.

In this scenario, though, the responsibility falls on Marvel Studios to keep the character creatively and dramatically potent, if for no other reason than to keep Hiddleston both interested and invested in playing Loki to the best of his ability. One of the primary reasons that Loki became such a beloved villain in the MCU pantheon has to do with Hiddleston's acting chops, effectively stealing the show in the first Thor film, even in scenes with Sir Anthony Hopkins (who came to work at least in the first Thor film).

He also clearly relished the opportunity the story presented with the first Avengers film, with that script compelling Hiddleston to write a thank-you letter to writer/director Joss Whedon for giving him such a satisfying return for his first reprisal as the villainous Asgardian. Marvel has a somewhat spotted history of detaching certain people at inopportune moments, but as long as they can keep Loki interesting enough for Hiddleston, everyone wins: the studio, the actor, and most importantly, the audience. Sounds like a worthy effort.

 

If Hiddleston Goes...

Still, the reality that both fans and studios often have to face is that the same actor can't play the same character for an indefinite amount of time. Even Hugh Jackman is passing the role of Wolverine onto someone else. After Ragnarok, Hiddleston may very well feel that he's said all he cares to say with Loki, Marvel may feel that they want to go in a different direction, or there may be a combination of both. In that event, the comics actually provide a rather interesting perspective on where the character can go next:

Into the hands of a capable actress.

In the comics, after the events of the "Ragnarok" event, Loki actually hid inside the reborn body of Lady Sif, fusing he and the Earth Goddess' appearances together to form a female version of the God of Mischief. In this form, Loki was just as manipulative as ever, taking advantage of the chaos left in the wake of Asgard's destruction, and manipulating the line of succession to the Asgardian throne, and even joining the villainous Cabal -- a new form of the Marvel Illuminati -- led by Norman Osborn and featuring Namor and the Hood.

While it's unlikely that the story from the comics would be closely adapted, this material provides a fundamental reimagining and re-envisioning of Thor on-screen, and would likely be a bold and fresh direction to take with the character should Hiddleston decide to step away from the part. It also can't be accused of being a deviation from the source material, since it happened first in the comics.

 

Loki is Still the Best MCU Villain

Whichever direction Loki ultimately goes, Marvel likely has some tough decisions to make regarding Loki if Hiddleston is ready to hang up the horned helmet. It won't be easy to see someone else play the part if that's the case -- man or woman -- but one thing simply cannot be denied: Tom Hiddleston has shepherded the most popular and interesting villain that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has put out thus far.

Because of that, either he or a successor has a great bit of material on which to base future exploits with the Asgardian God of Mischief. Hopefully we'll get to see a lot of Hiddleston's Loki in the years to come. If that's not the case, though, I don't think anyone can deny that he's taken us on one hell of a ride.


Chris Clow is a geek. He is a gamer, a comic book expert and former retailer, as well as a freelance contributor to GeekNation.com, The Huffington Post, and Batman-On-Film.com, as well as host of the Comics on Consoles podcast. You can find his weekly piece Comics on Film right here at Movies.com. Check out his blog, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.

Categories: Comics, Features, Geek, Editorials
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