Disney+’s Loki Finds Its Place In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Emily Fletcher

Marvel has once again expanded its cinematic universe through its Disney+ exclusive shows. Loki follows the Norse God of Mischief as he is snatched from the established timeline of the MCU by the Time Variance Authority (TVA), a seemingly all-powerful agency seeking to eliminate those who veer off the path of the one true timeline. So, has the show forged its place in an already expansive cinematic universe?

Loki has long been a fan favourite, being the focus of much fanart and fanfiction since the early days of the new MCU. His storylines illustrate his conflicted mind, torn between his (adopted) family and what he deems to be his destiny, in which he is never quite the villain but never really the hero. The new Disney+ series Loki continues this conflict, using the Loki ‘variants’ as an opportunity for him to literally come face to face with himself and see the effects of his actions on his own character.

The style of the series helps distinguish it from an already arguably saturated market of superhero shows. The retro-futuristic look combining the stylisation of 1950s advertising and the moody colourisation frequently associated with the God of Mischief (green and gold, with an aura of blue and purple), make for a unique aesthetic amongst the MCU’s other works. This style helps in making the TVA appear timeless as they wield the technology of a future world but with the styling of the past. The show feels like a nod to the often ludicrous crossover of Earth-life and alien-life in Doctor Who, mixed with elements of the slick period drama of Mad Men, peppered with Marvel’s usual comic tone and blockbuster action.

The style of the series helps distinguish it from an already arguably saturated market of superhero shows

Marvel continues its use of self-awareness of the elaborate nature of their storylines, mockingly displaying the use of the once believed to be rare ‘infinity stones’ as paperweights in the TVA’s office. It also presents the continuation of the ‘multiverse’ with the several variations of Loki echoing the cameo of Evan Peters in WandaVision as the reincarnation of Quicksilver in Wanda’s created world.

The latest of Marvel’s productions has certainly taken on a much lighter tone than some of its predecessors, particularly within Loki’s story and his conflicts with brother Thor. The once regal and dominating Thor became the butt of many central jokes within the MCU but he is set to redeem himself in the highly anticipated Thor: Love and Thunder (directed by Taika Waititi), becoming the strongest Thor who has ever appeared, as teased on actor Chris Hemsworth’s Instagram. Throughout the development of the MCU, Loki has faced a similar downfall, being belittled by defeat from the Avengers. The series finds him, again, locked in handcuffs and mocked by those who he once might have held significant power over (being a God and all).

There is certainly a hovering question as to whether those without a Disney+ subscription will miss out on key knowledge of the universe

Although fans are sure to welcome further on-screen stories about their favourite characters from Marvel, the continuing expanse of Disney+ exclusive content threatens to exclude fans without access to a Disney+ subscription from fully understanding future cinematic releases. As they have been creating extensive backstory for some of its central characters, we have yet to see whether further releases will rely on knowledge of these tales. But there is certainly a hovering question as to whether those without a Disney+ subscription will miss out on key knowledge of the universe.

Despite a slow start in the first couple of episodes, the world of Loki has certainly sparked interest in fans, particularly comic fans who recognise the inclusion of several Loki variations from its source material. I eagerly anticipate seeing how the story develops and how it eventually ties itself back into the canon of the Avengers’ movies, or whether it will in fact create an entirely new multiverse in which writers can have free reign on the characters’ destinies.

Loki is currently streaming on Disney+ with new episodes every Wednesday.

Emily Fletcher

Featured Image courtesy of Darren Tunnicliff via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image courtesy of @officialloki via Instagram. No changes were made to this image.

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