Take a look at any “Best Marvel Cinematic Universe villains” list, and you’re likely to find Loki at the top. That’s for two reasons: the MCU has struggled with memorable bad guys and girls (with rare exceptions, like Black Panther‘s Killmonger), and Loki is great. Tom Hiddleston plays Thor’s trickster brother with a rascally energy that’s a lot of fun to watch. It turns out, however, that Loki isn’t quite the villain we thought he was, at least not in The Avengers.
Marvel’s official website recently updated Loki’s biography and, in the process, confirmed that he was under the control of the Mind Stone in the Joss Whedon-directed The Avengers, which caused him to carry out the attack on New York City. “Arriving at the Sanctuary through a wormhole caused by the Bifrost, Loki met the Other, ruler of the ancient race of extraterrestrials the Chitauri, and Thanos. Offering the God of Mischief dominion over his brother’s favorite realm Earth, Thanos requested the Tesseract in return,” the website reads. “Gifted with a Scepter that acted as a mind control device, Loki would be able to influence others. Unbeknownst to him, the Scepter was also influencing him, fueling his hatred over his brother Thor and the inhabitants of Earth.”
In other words, Loki was under the same evil spell that he used to control others. That doesn’t excuse his actions in The Avengers, or Thor previous to the events of that film, but it does explain why he was given a hero’s death in Avengers: Infinity War. And why he’s expected to get his own television show on Disney’s streaming service. (There are many theories that Loki will return in Endgame, but the Russo brothers have said, point blank, “Loki is dead.”)
Now, the real question is: what does Taylor Swift (who dated Hiddleston in a very public fashion) think of Marvel’s decision?