Within the confines of only six episodes, Loki had no shortage of new, but still familiar, characters to introduce. Viewers came to know multiple variants of the Loki who we first met and fell in love with in 2012’s The Avengers. Here are some of our favorite Loki variants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the iconic, pivotal moments that set them apart.
Please note that the following article contains significant plot spoilers for the full first season of Loki.
When 2012 Loki first lands in the Void, one of the first beings he meets is a child variant of himself. Viewers, and 2012 Loki, come to learn that Kid Loki is regarded as the King among the motley group of Loki variants. Kid Loki’s Nexus Event, as it turns out, was killing Thor; the gravity of this revelation was quickly juxtaposed with the visual of him perched upon his throne sipping on a Hi-C Ecto Cooler.
Although he does not have a significant amount of dialogue or screen time, perhaps his most important moment takes place in the fifth episode before he parts ways with 2012 Loki and Sylvie. Recognizing the importance of what his two variants are about to attempt as they face down Alioth, Kid Loki gifts 2012 Loki with a beautiful golden blade. 2012 Loki recognizes the value of the weapon that has just been bestowed upon him, and nods in appreciation. He goes on to wield it during his showdown with Alioth and as he confronts He Who Remains, revealing that beyond its obvious function as a sword, the blade also ignites.
Kid Loki’s selflessness and ability to potentially put himself at a disadvantage to help the greater good highlights a profound level of generosity that makes him stand out.
Wielding a hammer and an impressive (albeit questionable) tale of acquiring all six Infinity Stones, Boastful Loki at first seems to be an ally to the Classic, Alligator, and Kid Lokis. From the start, the name he was given in the MCU makes complete sense as it is clear he has no shortage of pride.
Boastful Loki’s most iconic moment is less about what he did, and more about the chain of events that he set off in doing so. When Vote Loki and his gang of Loki variants show up at the bunker, Boastful Loki tells everyone present that it was he that revealed the location of the bunker in return for being named King. What ensues is exactly what one would expect from variants of the God of Chaos: pure pandemonium. Spells fly across the room, weapons are brandished, and appendages are lost as 2012 Loki looks on with what can only be described as a mix of exasperation and shameful realization that all of his own worst traits are at the core of this mad display.
Boastful Loki’s coup attempt ended up serving as both a wonderful comedic moment and an important chance for 2012 Loki to reflect on the cost of his shortcomings.
With his adorable horned helmet and his charming kiddie pool, it comes as no surprise that Alligator Loki captured the heart of the internet at large almost immediately. According to Boastful Loki, Alligator Loki’s Nexus Event was “eating the wrong neighbor’s cat.” When this was brought up, Alligator Loki did what he clearly does best and launched, teeth bared, at the insult.
This attack, as it would turn out, was only a warm-up act. When Vote Loki and his crew show up to the bunker and the betraying and back-stabbing begins, Alligator Loki leaps at the would-be usurper and bites his hand clean off. As chaos ensues, Alligator Loki calmly saunters away, chomping on his impromptu snack before jumping into Kid Loki’s arms. Despite lacking the ability to speak at any length (a trait highly associated with being a Loki) and at least any clear display of magic, Alligator Loki knows what he has to offer and plays to his strengths.
Wearing comic-accurate attire and demonstrating a humility not usually associated with being a Loki, Classic Loki makes an impression right away. As the main Loki variants get to know one another and share tales of their Nexus events that landed them in the Void, Classic Loki reveals that his life path more or less followed the Sacred Timeline up until the confrontation with Thanos. Where the Loki on the Sacred Timeline faced off against Thanos armed with nothing more than a dagger, Classic Loki recognized that his true power as a Trickster God was in illusion magic, and was able to fool Thanos and escape his wrath unscathed. He grew old in isolation, and was only pruned when he decided it was time to reconnect with his brother Thor.
Classic Loki’s recognition of the unbridled and far-too-often untapped powers of his illusion magic comes full circle in the fifth episode of Loki. As Sylvie and 2012 Loki’s plan to enchant Alioth begins to falter, Classic Loki unleashes his magic in full force, conjuring an illusion of the entirety of Asgard so convincing that it lured Alioth away from 2012 Loki and Sylvie. This moment is breathtaking as it shows viewers, as well as Sylvie and 2012 Loki, everything that a Loki is capable of. It is also heartbreaking to witness Classic Loki in what turns out to be his final moments conjuring the home he came to miss so much and realizing his “glorious purpose” was to lay down his life for others.
In this moment, Classic Loki’s awe-inspiring display demonstrates that illusion magic, being a trickster, and being a God of Chaos do not inherently necessitate being evil or self-serving; those core aspects can be used for something truly good.
At first just known to the audience as a faceless and particularly troublesome Loki variant, viewers and 2012 Loki first meet Sylvie in episode 2. With impressive combat skills, enchantment abilities, and meticulous attention to detail in her mission to take down the TVA, she is clearly a force to be reckoned with for every person that stands in her way. An unlikely alliance forms between 2012 Loki and Sylvie, with both recognizing the challenge of doing so given Sylvie’s struggle to trust others and Loki’s tendency to be untrustworthy. The affection the two have for one another grows as they spend more time together, reaching its peak when the two clasp hands and together enchant Alioth in the Void.
In spite of multiple acts of selflessness and even moments when their connection is openly acknowledged, the alliance between the two wayward Loki variants is fractured when they disagree on how to proceed with He Who Remains. Through his recent trials and new connections, Loki has learned a level of restraint that he lacked before; he wants to err on the side of caution and not risk creating a Multiversal War by overthrowing and killing the man behind the TVA.
Sylvie, in what becomes a pivotal moment for her and the MCU as we know it, will not be swayed from the mission she has dedicated her life to. Given the pain she herself has felt and witnessed at the hands of the TVA, she sends Loki away and plunges her blade into He Who Remains, fracturing the Timeline into countless streams. Sylvie’s strength is found in her perseverance, her drive, and her relentless dedication to seeing things through; where other Lokis often fail in their grand endeavors, Sylvie succeeds.
This, even more than the fact that she is a woman, makes her stand out among the other variants. Unfortunately, Sylvie’s almost dogmatic dedication to seeing her life’s work through not only throws everything into chaos, but also lands her right back where she started and where many Lokis have a tendency to find themselves: entirely alone with only herself to blame.
Even with its many variants, Loki tends to keep most of its focus on the first one that we are introduced to: 2012 Loki. Making his escape during the Avengers’ Time Heist in New York City, 2012 Loki is taken into custody by the TVA. They stepped in to apprehend Loki since he caused a Nexus event by escaping with the Tesseract. At the TVA headquarters, 2012 Loki meets his eventual friend Mobius, and witnesses what his fate was supposed to be on the Sacred Timeline. Although his goal is at first to take over the TVA, his experiences and encounters with other variants end up causing a dynamic shift in Loki. He experiences moments of humility and is able to see that there is much more to a meaningful existence than power and pride.
In the fifth episode, Loki prepares to take on Alioth with Sylvie to see what lies beyond the formidable creature; it is during this time that his personal growth comes to full fruition. In spite of having the option to leave the Void with Mobius, Loki chooses to stay in a remarkable act of selflessness — likely due in large part to his growing affection for Sylvie. This act of courage and care would have been enough to make this portion of the episode noteworthy, but the demonstrations of Loki’s evolution continue. Loki has never been one for real vulnerability and friendship without ulterior motives, and as Mobius bids Loki farewell and extends a hand to shake, Loki instead embraces his new friend. This moment of open affection from Loki, who struggled for so long to trust and be trusted, was one of his greatest moments of courage in the entire series.
In this scene, Loki has a moment of true friendship with Mobius, is gifted a mighty blade by Kid Loki, recognizes the true potential of his power in witnessing Classic Loki, and is able to tap into his capabilities with all of the faith that Sylvie has in his ability to do so. Within the span of one episode, viewers were able to see all Loki had learned about himself and what his glorious purpose should have been all along. Likewise, Loki was finally able to see beyond himself and forge meaningful relationships founded on mutual respect and care. He finally learned that being a God of Chaos was neither an excuse for abhorrent behavior and betrayals, nor an unbreakable curse that doomed him to fail and to be alone.
Although every character shared common traits by virtue of being a Loki, each variant still held their own. The Loki variants displayed characteristics, made choices, and had moments that allowed viewers to see different sides of Loki. In doing so, Loki not only provides ample entertainment with its comedic moments and excellent writing and performances, but also functions as a fascinating character study of Loki by exploring the multitude of paths all of his variants had taken and where it landed them.
What is your favorite Loki variant moment? Let Your Geek Sideshow and tell us in the comments!