- Thor: Love and Thunder is far from the most beloved entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- One cause for Love and Thunder’s lack of connection with the audience could be the lack of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in the main cast.
- Whether true or not, many factors prove that Loki’s presence in Thor: Love and Thunder would’ve likely hurt his growth, while his time in the Loki series elevated him much more.
It’s safe to say that most of the fandom is satisfied with Loki’s finale. The series ended with Loki saving the multiverse by becoming the God of Stories — going from a villain and eventual secondary character to one of the strongest forces in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His character development matches his growth in popularity. Loki is unarguably one of the biggest fan favorites in the MCU. This, combined with the fact that he had shared the screen with Thor in all the previous God of Thunder solo films, explains why fans were so disappointed when he didn’t appear in Thor: Love and Thunder.
The fourth installment of the Thor franchise in the MCU, Thor: Love and Thunder, didn’t do as great as its predecessor, Thor: Ragnarok. And many fans believe it had plenty to do with the God of Mischief’s absence. This is true to an extent. During the Infinity Saga, Thor and Loki established themselves as one of the best duos in the MCU. Their dynamic was hilarious, epic, and emotional, so Love and Thunder took a hit by sidelining Loki. However, many other things didn’t really work in this film — Loki’s presence would’ve made it better, but it wouldn’t have saved it. Regardless, his absence in Thor: Love and Thunder stood out like a sore thumb.
The God of Mischief Is Secondary to the Film’s Comic Inspiration
- Jane Foster’s final act as Thor, in the comics, saves Asgard from complete destruction.
Loki’s season 2 finale tests Loki with a no-win scenario before culminating in an exemplary conclusion to his short and long-term character arc.
The main reason why Loki didn’t make it to Thor: Love and Thunder is probably the fact that he isn’t a central character in the comics that inspired the movie. Love and Thunder has two clear sources: “The God Butcher Saga” in Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribić, and The Mighty Thor, by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson. Gorr and Jane Foster, aka the Mighty Thor, spawn from those two storylines, respectively, so the comics mostly focus on them and their connections to Thor Odinson.
“The God Butcher Saga” is the beginning of Jason Aaron’s long-standing run on Thor — a run that changed Thor forever. In this storyline, Thor must face Gorr, a former family man turned homicidal out of resentment for the gods that didn’t save his family. The God of Thunder succeeds against Gorr. He frees him from All-Black the Necrosword’s influence and puts him in jail. However, the aftermath of the battle leads the hero to a dark place when he realizes the villain is right. Gods aren’t worthy, and since he isn’t worthy, he cannot wield Mjolnir. He’s now the Unworthy Thor. Since Mjolnir needs a new hero to carry on his legacy, the hammer calls Dr. Jane Foster. Originally Donald Blake’s love interest, Foster becomes the Mighty Thor. Just like the film, The Mighty Thor sees her struggle to act as the new Hammer Goddess while dealing with a violent cancer in her human form. Contrary to the movie, this series focuses completely on her journey.
Since The Mighty Thor sort of sidelines Thor Odinson, it makes sense that Loki isn’t such a prominent character either. In the case of “The God Butcher Saga,” the series switches from Thor’s inner journey to his conflict with Gorr, so there isn’t any space for other main characters. Loki would’ve gotten very little screen time if he had appeared in the film, which would’ve been pointless considering how complex things have gotten for the character since Loki Season 1.
Loki’s Absence Isn’t the Only Thing Wrong with Thor: Love & Thunder
- In the comics, Gorr’s weapon, the Necrosword, was actually the sword of Knull, God of Symbiotes, aka the King in Black.
Thor has had an exciting and tragic journey in the MCU. But the lives lost on his watch proved why he wasn’t a fitting leader for Asgard.
Loki and Thor have a very complex relationship. Once sworn enemies, they became reluctant allies, and their relationship ended with Thor mourning his brother. Up to the beginning of Thor: Love and Thunder, the last time these two gods saw each other was actually Loki’s death. Given this, if Loki had appeared in Love and Thunder, the brothers would’ve had to have a very emotional conversation in which Loki would’ve had to explain a lot of time-traveling shenanigans to the God of Thunder and his allies — unfortunately, the film didn’t have space for that kind of storyline. Instead, the only mention of Loki in Love and Thunder was Thor’s random “RIP Loki” tattoo — which was mostly played as a joke.
The main problem with Thor: Love and Thunder is that it tried to adapt two of the most emotionally complex storylines in Thor’s history at the same time. Gorr comes from a place of hurt. Although he’s one of the most dangerous characters in Marvel, he was once a pious man who loved his family, but life’s most unfair bits turned him into a villain. Additionally, Jane Foster’s fight against cancer humanizes her in a way few MCU characters can be humanized. Many believe Thor: Love and Thunder failed at delivering Gorr and Jane’s emotionally complex storylines, but the film actually tried. It just didn’t have enough time. Especially because these key points of the plot drowned amidst the movie’s over-abundance of humor. Contrary to Thor: Ragnarok, which charmed the fans with Taika Waititi’s irreverent style, Thor: Love and Thunder had very few jokes that didn’t fall flat.
Between the overpacked storylines and the unnecessary jokes, there was very little space for Loki in Thor: Love and Thunder. The film would have never allowed him to get proper character development. Besides, the general aesthetic of the Thor films would’ve never let Loki change his style. In the TV show, fans saw him shed his Asgardian, semi-medieval robes and adopt a retro-futuristic vibe, very similar to the TVA. This allowed him to differentiate himself from his brother and from the first version of Loki, who died. Besides, it’s one of the many things that make the series so unique — and Loki so popular.
Loki’s New Path Is Way Better for Him
- Loki’s sacrifice in the series finale mirrors his self-imposed exile in Thor.
While Loki Season 2 impressed fans in the end, there are a few reasons why the convoluted series might have worked better as a more streamlined movie.
Although fans missed Loki in Thor: Love and Thunder, it’s undeniable that this was the best possible outcome for this character. Love and Thunder would’ve never done Loki justice. The film would’ve neglected his storyline because there were too many things happening at the same time — he would’ve never been a priority. Additionally, it would’ve probably cheapened it out with bad, unnecessary jokes — this is one of the biggest criticisms about Thor: Love and Thunder to this day, and it’s a fair one. It didn’t take itself seriously enough. On the other hand, Loki has been regarded as one of the best MCU projects since this cinematic universe began, thanks to its clever sense of humor, structure, and acting.
The difference is astounding when remembering the initial rivalry between the superpowerful Thor and his resentful adopted brother. While the God of Thunder regretfully became the MCU class clown, Loki grew up. Loki saw the eponymous character become a better person. In one of the best character arcs in the MCU, he overcame his fear of abandonment, learned that there are more important things than power, and embraced who he was — all in a dozen episodes. His personal development is only comparable to his development as a hero. As a literal god, Loki was always powerful. However, after the Loki series finale, the God of Mischief leaves Phase Five as one of the mightiest characters in this cinematic universe. He now guards the whole multiverse, so he has become closer to a cosmic entity than any of the other many characters in the MCU.
So far, Marvel Studios hasn’t clued the fandom regarding Loki’s future, but since Jonathan Majors has been fired, the Multiverse Saga needs a new character to reign over the timeline. As the God of Stories, Loki renders He Who Remains useless, so he can have a big role in Phase Six. Regardless of what’s next in this character’s future, fans have to agree that Loki’s storyline parting ways with Thor was a blessing for the God of Mischief.
Created by Marvel Studios, the Marvel Cinematic Universe follows heroes across the galaxy and across realities as they defend the universe from evil.
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