After a decade of causing havoc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and months of speculation ahead of the trickster god’s Disney+ series, the most popular Loki fan theory — one we’ll get into further down, to avoid spoilers — was finally confirmed to be accurate.
And while this plot twist, which was revealed at the end of Loki Episode 2, may seem like a possibility that could only really exist in an unexplored timeline within the Marvel multiverse, it’s actually grounded in decades of comic book lore. Here’s everything you need to know about Loki’s game-changing character reveal and what it means for the MCU.
Warning! Major Spoilers for Loki Episode 2 ahead!
That’s right, as revealed at the end of this week’s second episode, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is now caught up in a cat-and-mouse chase with none other than Lady Loki (Sophia Di Martino), a possible multiverse version of himself who has been hiding within apocalyptic variant timelines and stealing reset charges. She’s a quantum serial killer, slaying Time Variance Authority agents left and right while managing to elude Agent Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson).
Loki may seem shocked to see his own female doppelganger, but this reveal isn’t a shock to those who read more than a few of Loki’s many Marvel Comics storylines. Lady Loki is just as littered throughout the comics canon as she appears to be in the MCU.
Lady Loki in Marvel Comics
The MCU is directly adapting Marvel Comics storylines for its cinematic universe, but Asgardian characters like Thor and Loki are also grounded in Norse mythology. In ancient stories, Loki was a shapeshifting trickster, both a god and a frost giant. At one point, he even gave birth to an eight-legged horse.
Not all of that makes for a good comic book storyline, but Loki’s shapeshifting abilities are essential to the versions of the character who exists in Marvel. In a 2008 storyline, Lady Loki was introduced, having emerged from the pivotal comic book event known as Ragnarok reborn into a female form. It was quite a shock for other characters in the story, but Thor — ever the supportive big brother — adjusted quickly. Lady Loki was accepted and referred to as a woman.
The character’s introduction was followed by further appearances in the Dark Reign arc, New Avengers, and the Original Sin event. What was initially seen by some readers as an edgy way to add more sex appeal to a beloved Marvel villain (while simultaneously honoring the original myths) later became a foundational part of Loki when, in 2014’s Original Sin: Thor and Loki — The Tenth Realm, it was revealed that Loki wasn’t merely using the female form as a disguise. Instead, Lady Loki was part of his personality, as much Loki as the one we already know and love.
Hopefully, that aspect of Lady Loki’s character carries over to the MCU.
Lady Loki in the MCU
The reveal of Lady Loki factoring into the storyline of Loki has been telegraphed in the MCU for months now. First, there was that set photo leak that seemed to show a female actress in a very Loki-esque costume. Then, a trailer showed Loki sitting with a woman who bore a passing resemblance to Black Widow but who struck many fans as more likely Loki’s own gender-bent self. Finally, an official tweet from Marvel revealed Loki’s rap sheet in the TVA database, which listed his sex as “fluid,” in reference to his shapeshifting abilities.
Behind the scenes, head Loki writer Michael Waldron has already confirmed Loki’s gender identity is important to the series, telling Inverse the team behind the show “worked really hard” on that element of Loki (but that he’d much prefer to let the show’s representation speak for itself than discuss it in interviews from his point of privilege as a cisgender man).
But with the reveal of Lady Loki in the series, it’s still unclear where this new Loki comes from. Is she from another timeline? Is she a veteran of the Multiversal War? No one is saying anything for sure right now, but next week’s episode will definitely reveal more of how this new Goddess of Chaos fits into the already chaotic world of Loki.
As for Hiddleston’s Loki, this reveal takes his already brewing identity crisis to the next level. Now, the character is not only unsure of who he is without a mission and a people to conquer but additionally unsure if this other Loki is more “him” than he is.
While this reveal may have been foreshadowed in the comics, Loki is in uncharted territory at this point.
Loki is now streaming on Disney+.