Each episode of Loki offers a breathtaking new twist to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even the simple introduction of VAT and the sacred timeline has dramatically shaken everything we thought we knew about the ‘Infinity Saga’. And honestly, we wouldn’t expect anything less from a show starring the God of Mischief. But the constant flow of lore breaking on the Disney Plus original has kept one of Marvel’s classic lore out of the (time) loop: the scene after the credits. Loki Season 1 didn’t need it – until Episode 4.
“The Nexus Event” picks up where Episode 3 left off, with the looming destruction of Lementis-1 and Loki and Sylvie, the female variant of Loki, on the verge of death. At the end of the episode, each variation is left with more questions than answers, and the promise of two more episodes to answer them.
But you don’t want to bounce off the credits of this one. The scene is crucial to the unfolding of the story in Episode 5.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Loki episode 4, “The Nexus Event”]
“Is this Hel?” Loki wonders aloud.
Moments after Loki and Sylvie discovered that the omniscient creators of the sacred timeline, the Time-Keepers sitting in a floating chair, were just a bunch of animatronics, a defeated Ravonna Renslayer (Guga Mbatha-Raw) sized the god in oblivion. This may be the end of it, but like most TVA activities, what happens on the surface does not explain everything that happens.
In the post-credits scene, Tom Hiddleston’s version of Loki appears in what appears to be a ravaged version of New York City, complete with a crumbling Stark Tower. A fair guess could be that this is an Earth where Loki and Thanos’ attack on New York went as planned. But that doesn’t seem like his own timeline: Instead of finding a mirror version of himself ruling the world as King, Loki encounters a number of new Loki variants.
So who do we have here? On the right is “Classic Loki” (at least as described in the credits), a mirror image of Jack Kirby’s original version of the character played by Richard E. Grant – which fans have long speculated might appear under. Mephisto’s name, even at the back in WandaVision.
Not enough. In bold yellow and green, Grant’s Loki is a doppelganger of the version of Loki who reigned as an evil king over Marvel’s Thor myth for decades. If you only know Loki from the MCU or Marvel Comics after Agent of Asgard, it’s hard to separate Tom Hiddleston from the character. His portrayal has shaped the characterization of the god of mischief for years. But long before he entered the MCU, Marvel’s Loki was that thin-faced, jester-clad character – shriveled where Thor was muscular, sour-faced where Thor was handsome, and as hopelessly evil as Thor was worthy. Marvel’s classic Loki had as much red in his ledger as any other genocidal supervillain, and he felt as much remorse as a Joker or Carnage. He was not the sympathetic trickster we know today.
Classic Loki’s transition from villain to antihero took place over many years, but reached an inflection point during the Marvel’s Siege event, when … he super-died. And at the same time that the old Loki died, a new Loki appeared in the comics: Kid Loki. Also known as Teen Loki, Kid Loki – played by Jack Veal on Loki – was created by Classic Loki as a very long-running deception. But functionally, he was a younger version of Loki who had yet to commit serious crimes and had the potential to have a better nature (although still not completely heroic).
Thor believed in his brother where the rest of Asgard didn’t, and that gave Kid Loki plenty of room to use his “Am I not a stinker” vibes to become a fan favorite. Although he eventually realized he was a deception and gave way to the narrative need for a fully grown-up Loki, Kid Loki’s cameos are not uncommon in Marvel Comics, and some of his adventures, especially with the Young Avengers, remain very popular.
The history of the comic book doesn’t have much to shed light on about the other two Lokis on the scene after the credits roll. Deobia Oparei, whose credits include Sex education and Game of thrones, appears to be playing a version of Loki who looks more like Thor (if he’s a Loki). The Heroic Outfit even comes with its own hammer, and while the only times Loki ever used Mjolnir was when magical spells reversed the moral compasses of most characters in the Marvel Universe, that is- ie if the weapon is even Thor’s benchmark weapon. . Maybe in this world, Loki has his own hammer with his own name.
Then there is Alligator Loki. Where did he come from? What does he want? We can only hope that this means the live introduction of Frog Thor in the near future …