Loki episode 3 confirms Loki’s bi — but can Marvel commit?

In Loki episode 3, “Lamentis,” author Bisha K. Ali and director Kate Herron seal some crucial Marvel Cinematic Universe canon: The God of Mischief is bisexual. The laidback discovery follows years of fans questioning when and how Marvel might highlight more LGBTQ+ representation in its vast ensembles and a basic hope that Tom Hiddleston’s Asgardian may simply come out and state it among nowadays. And now, midway through Loki, the god did, basically.

[Ed. note: The following contains spoilers for Loki.]

While zipping along on a train taking a trip throughout the soon-to-be-obliterated world Lamentis-1, Hiddleston’s Loki discovers himself questioning a female variation of himself, a time variation who passes Sylvie (played by Sophia Di Martino). The 2 have plenty to capture up on: Who was your mom? Did you understand you were embraced? Who do you like? The relationship talk diverts into romantic interests. Sylvie obviously dates a postman back in her variation of Asgard.

“A bit of both,” Loki responds. “I suspect the same as you.”

For Herron, who shared screencaps of the minute on Twitter quickly after the episode’s Disney Plus launching, it was a coup.

Figuring how to reveal their sexuality, their love, might be the supreme journey of our 2 Lokis in Loki. In the exact same scene, Sylvie recommends Loki’s capability to “love” may be a type of mischief. Loki presses back. “No, love is … something I’ll have to have another drink to think about.” Thor is the one with the picturesque, heteronormative relationship. Loki has actually never ever had time to discover the flicker of love in between plots to take control of the world, or the timeline.

The choice to shade Loki with a queer identity — or when it comes to episode 3, actually shower him in bisexual lighting — is not without precedent. Thus much of what we see in the MCU, Loki is an item of years of shaping from comic developers, consisting of a more current understanding of the prospective shapeshifting god’s identity.

The queer Loki of the comics

“Loki is bi,” Al Ewing stated on Tumblr back in 2017, preparing fans for the launch of his book Loki: Representative of Asgard. “He’ll move in between genders periodically too.’

Representative of Asgard got with the God of Mischief throughout a constant duration of character shift, and supplied a clear button to that modification. Loki’s course from a straightforward wicked bad guy to flawed yet captivating anti-hero was marked by a number of changes. In 2007, Loki took Sif’s body and dedicated hoax and betrayal versus Asgard as Girl Loki prior to going back. In 2010’s Siege arc, Loki was eliminated, however machinated the production of Kid Loki, a totally brand-new variation of himself who had an opportunity to live a life without dedicating abhorrent atrocities. Kid Loki ultimately paved the way to a brand-new adult Loki who much looked like Tom Hiddleston’s engaging big-screen version, with Loki: Representative of Asgard as his solo series.

It was a change that in some methods needed to take place prior to Loki might be acknowledged as a canonically queer character — a Loki who was bisexual and genderqueer however likewise totally atrocious in the canon would merely be a retread of years of homophobic media tropes.

A collage image of queer, but mostly genderqueer Marvel characters, including Xavin, Lady Loki, Sera, Angela, Koi Boi, and Dr. McGowan in Marvel Voices: Pride #1 (2021).

Girl Loki appears in this week’s Marvel Voices: Pride #1, in an area acknowledging trans and genderqueer characters.
Image: Luciano Vecchio, Mike O’Sullivan/Marvel Comics

Still, Loki has never ever actually had a longstanding queer love interest — though he’s not actually had lots of longstanding love interests at all, with the possible exception of Kid Loki’s relationship with Hela’s young handmaiden Leah. What’s a lot more clear about Loki, in canon and to fans, is that he takes pleasure in handling a female identity from time to time. Though as a never-ceasing god who can naturally shapeshift his experience is not precisely reflective of daily human life, his gender fluidity has actually provided lots of queer fans a sense of kinship with him.

Marvel’s struggle to make it gay

Joe Russo as a gay grieving man who squints in Avengers: Endgame

Image: Marvel Studios

LGTBQ+ characters have barely surfaced in the known MCU. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo took an eyebrow-raising victory lap after 2019’s Avengers: Endgame after “making history” for introducing the franchise’s first gay man at a post-Blip support group. The one-scene character was played by Joe Russo himself.

“Representation is really important,” Russo told Deadline of his cameo. “It was important to us as we did four of these films, we wanted a gay character somewhere in them. We felt it was important that one of us play him, to ensure the integrity and show it is so important to the filmmakers that one of us is representing that. It is a perfect time, because one of the things that is compelling about the Marvel Universe moving forward is its focus on diversity.”

Other than [checks credits] Grieving Man, no major, established Marvel character has actually been introduced as anything beyond the basic cis, heteronormative assumption. But with a vocal desire for queer characters, members of the Marvel family have actually gone out on a limb to retroactively reshape the canon and pressure the creative leadership for the future. After the release of Thor: Ragnarok, costar Tessa Thompson revealed that Valkyrie was actually a queer woman; sexuality-establishing scenes in which a female suitor left the Asgardian’s bedroom, and Valkyrie grieved her slain Asgardian lover were shot but then cut from the finished film. Hearing the cry of perturbed fans, Kevin Feige promised at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con that Valkyrie would get her moment in Thor: Love and Thunder, as the new king of Asgard needed her queen.

During that same SDCC, Feige also promised that one of the male cast members of Eternals would be openly gay in a way that would feel totally new for the MCU. “He’s married, he’s got a family, and that is just part of who he is,” emphasized. Brian Tyree Henry, who can be seen in the film’s very first trailer, has actually since confirmed that his character Phastos is gay.

That would be a departure from what has come to feel like Walt Disney Studios’ bi-annual announcement of the “first” gay character in a Disney or Pixar movie — that often boils down to a single shot or line of dialogue. An on-screen, obvious establishing moment that the title character of a Disney/Marvel project is attracted to both men and women seems weighty, though only by comparison.

But the fact remains that the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Loki has never been seen seeking a relationship with anyone, regardless of their gender. And the sexless queer character is just as much a set-piece of homophobic propaganda as the villainous queer character.

All in all, if Walt Disney and Marvel Studios are becoming more comfortable with queer superhero characters, it’s not a moment too soon. The Scarlet Witch’s children — presented as their pre-pubescent selves in WandaVision — are both canonically queer in Marvel Comics, as are the Dora Milage warrior Ayo (Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and America Chavez (Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness). And that’s without mentioning the multitude of queer characters in the world of the X-Men, including founding team member Iceman.

As Marvel Studios starts to pull from more recent comic book canon to fuel the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it will eventually have actually to contain more queer content than just discussion, and more than periodically.

| Image: Marvel Studios

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.