Within the second episode of Disney+’s newest Marvel sequence, Loki, the title character pulls off his most illustrious trick but: assembly himself. Working below the auspices of the Time Variance Authority—the mysterious group that ensures all the pieces occurs on the multiverse-avoiding Sacred Timeline—Loki traces one other model, or “variant,” of the God of Mischief to a shopping mall in center America. The purpose is to rid the universe of this alternate trickster, and after encounters with three folks whom this different Loki has embodied, our antihero comes head to head with this new variant’s predominant kind. She removes her hood, revealing blonde hair, horns, and the inexperienced swimsuit Loki has worn in a number of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. He then follows her right into a portal, and the credit roll.
For months now, after pictures surfaced of actress Sophia Di Martino in green-and-gold garb surfaced on-line, followers have been speculating the Disney+ present may function the character often known as Girl Loki. Just like the character Tom Hiddleston performs within the MCU, Girl Loki is the God of Mischief. However, in contrast to him, she’s a lady. Besides that’s not in contrast to Loki in any respect. “Anyone who is aware of Loki’s mythology,” says Kieron Gillen, who spent years writing the character for Marvel Comics, “is aware of what a queer determine Loki is.”
All through Marvel historical past, Loki has taken many kinds: snakes, girls, Captain America. In response to the unique Norse myths, he as soon as changed into a mare and mothered an eight-legged horse that turned Odin’s steed. Within the comics, the trickster god turned Girl Loki following Ragnarok, primarily taking Girl Sif’s physique. There’s no telling how a lot, if in any respect, the brand new Marvel present will examine Loki’s many identities, however the look of Girl Loki—together with a small tease in a single promo noting that Loki’s gender is “fluid”—is a deliberate nod to the God of Mischief’s previous. “Our present is basically about id,” says director Kate Herron. “We’re actually digging in to what makes Loki tick. Acknowledging that Loki is gender-fluid was essential to me.”
To be clear, having Loki present up as a lady doesn’t a queer (anti)hero make. It says nothing of the character’s sexual orientation or gender id. However the truth that Hiddleston’s Loki registers no response to seeing his feminine self does acknowledge that the character has at all times identified this a part of his unclassifiable legacy. In Gillen’s Younger Avengers, Loki flat-out tells David Alleyne/Prodigy, “My tradition doesn’t actually share your idea of sexual id. There are intercourse acts, that’s it. I’m truly the patron god of sure in style ones, consider it or not.” Loki has lived many lives in lots of kinds; the one rainbow he cares about is the Bifrost.
But, within the Marvel films to this point—the Thor movies, the Avengers titles—there has at all times been one thing unavoidably queer about his presence. Not when it comes to acts or presentation, per se, however within the particulars of his magical powers. Loki is somebody whose abilities and pursuits had been at all times out of sync with what the world needed him to be. When he transforms his look or demeanor to flee a precarious scenario—one thing queer of us have been doing for hundreds of years—it’s referred to as a trick. However it’s actually a software of endurance. He’s the half–Frost Big half-brother of Thor who has been conflicted about his place on Asgard since delivery. (Bear in mind: Odin actually turned his son’s pores and skin from blue to white when he was a child and stored Loki’s parentage hidden from him till he was an grownup.) To get intersectional about it, Loki is a biracial, gender-fluid being trying to each mix in and be seen for who he really is. “For queer folks, rising up figuring out that others anticipate and assume you’re straight, and having to barter that expectation with the intention to survive, or with the intention to make your means on this planet, all of us turn into tricksters,” says Anthony Michael D’Agostino, a professor at Fordham College who has studied queer identities in comics. “Loki being queer is sort of inappropriate. Queer individuals are going to determine with him irrespective of who he’s fucking, due to the way in which he negotiates the world.” It’s a parasocial relationship, in different phrases, based mostly on a shared sense of alienation.