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The first of six episodes of Loki has dropped on Disney Plus – and episode one has already teased the fact that the Asgardian god of mischief is queer.
It's more than just a tease, though – actor Tom Hiddleston, as well as the show's head writer Michael Waldron, have confirmed in interviews that Loki is gender-fluid in the latest Marvel TV series, meaning that he doesn't identify all the time as exclusively male or female.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot showing Loki's bio data in a file belonging to the omniscient Time Variance Authority – an organisation in charge of keeping the multiverse's timeline in order – Loki's sex is stated as "fluid".
Other details about Loki in the TVA dossier include his height (1.88m), eye colour (blue) and place of birth (Jotunheim).
We know what you're thinking: sex – the physical, biological features of being male or female – isn't the same thing as gender, a person's mental self-conception of their identity. Going by the above Easter egg alone, we don't quite know yet what kind of LGBTQ character Loki will be portrayed as.
Having said that, we've watched the two episodes of Loki that were screened for the media, and without spoilers, we can say that there's another plot development coming in the second episode which adds another intriguing layer to whatever sort of queer Loki we're heading towards.
Marvel Studios has been criticised for the lack of LGBTQ characters in its blockbuster movies, despite the existence of various queer characters from the Marvel comics. The studio is attempting to address that, having promised that upcoming shows in Phase 4 of the MCU franchise will feature prominent LGBTQ superheroes. The movie Eternals will feature a gay character, Phastos, played by Brian Tyree Henry, while Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie, who is bisexual in the comics, will have a female love interest in Thor: Love And Thunder.
It appears, however, that even before those movies hit theatres, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first LGBTQ protagonist has surfaced in the form of Loki. The character had been killed by Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, but in the new Disney Plus series, the Loki from 2012, post-Battle of New York, goes on a time travelling adventure as he is dropped into the middle of the Time Variance Authority's attempts to hunt down an alternate version of Loki who is threatening the sequence of time as dictated by the Time-keepers. (Read our review of the show here.)
Hiddleston has played Loki in the MCU since 2010's Thor and was also an executive producer of the new TV series. Speaking to Syfy Wire about Loki's gender fluidity ahead of the show's premiere on 9 June, he said, "It’s always been there, in the history of the character, in the mythology and in the comics. I was aware of it from the moment I was first cast. So it’s a thrill that we get to touch on that in some way. How we do [touch on that], I think I want to leave the audience to find out."
Michael Waldron, the head writer of Loki, told Inverse, "I know how many people identify with Loki in particular and are eager for that representation, especially with this character. We worked really hard."
In the Marvel literature, Loki has canonically been depicted at various times as bisexual, pansexual and gender-fluid. This ties in with his magical powers, which include shape-shifting. Loki has been known to take female forms such as Lady Loki, and had romantic relationships with both male and female characters. In the 2014 series, Original Sin, Odin referred to his three children, Thor, Angela, and Loki, as: "My son, my daughter, and my child who is both."
However, Marvel Studios has a history of tweaking and adapting character histories from the comics for its MCU storylines. It remains to be seen exactly what sort of queer identity they've written Loki as this time – what is certain at this point is that he will be gender non-conforming in some form.
Are you excited to see how Loki's LGBTQ main character will be developed? We sure are!
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