Sylvie Laufeydottir is the most mysterious character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After her shocking reveal at the end of Loki Episode 2, she’s now one half of a mischievous duo as a variant of the Trickster God himself. While she may dress and act like Loki, “Sylvie” is something entirely new. Played by Sophia Di Martino, Sylvie has her own look, her own personality, and crucially, her own story.
“This isn’t the story of Loki being reborn as a Lady Loki,” Di Martino tells Inverse. “That’s not the specific story we’re telling.”
So what is the story Loki intends to tell? Halfway through the series, the show has evolved into a planet- and time-hopping mystery, uncovering layers of deception along the way. Sylvie, previously known as “Lady Loki” or “the Variant,” isn’t the purely evil serial killer Agent Mobius made her out to be. In turn, Sylvie tells Loki that the Time Variance Authority’s agents aren’t what they say — they’re timeline-breaking variants like her who were arrested and enslaved by the TVA.
Thankfully, Sylvie’s character won’t be a complete enigma for long. A recent Twitter featurette for the series shows previously unseen footage of what looks to be Sylvie’s backstory, including a young version of herself. For Di Martino, this backstory was essential to creating Sylvie’s character.
“It really helped me because you can't really understand a person deeply until you know their story and what they've been through,” she says. “It was super important for me to know exactly what's happened, why she's so angry, and what this mission that she has is all about. I'm excited for you to learn a little bit more about that too.”
“It's about time Loki's out.”
Sylvie’s journey so far has already changed the MCU in multiple ways. In Episode 3, Sylvie inferred Loki may be bisexual, and he surmised the same of her, officially making the two of them the first major Marvel characters to come out as LGBTQ+.
“The scene on the train was all about representing his sexuality and making sure that that was out there for the first time,” Di Martino says. “It was just so important. It's been in the comics for as long as they've been going. So it's about time Loki's out.”
However, she isn’t as quick to confirm Loki’s genderfluidity. Though this aspect was already revealed in both promotional material for Loki and in an Inverse interview with Tom Hiddleston and head writer Michael Waldron, Di Martino explains that while this element of representation is really important to director Kate Herron and the cast, the issue is more complicated.
Although that representation ripples through the plot, it’s not what Loki is all about, according to Di Martino.
“I think the story we're telling isn't necessarily about genderfluidity,” she says, “but that Sylvie is a variant of Loki, but she's Sylvie, a character and a person in her own right.”
So while Loki may still be genderfluid, don’t look to Sylvie to be the female version of him. They may be intrinsically connected, but she’s got her own history.
Di Martino also studied Loki’s appearances within the MCU, from Thor all the way to Avengers: Infinity War. But there are still parts of the character that aren’t obvious in these films, which meant going straight to the source: The Loki Lecture, a primer on all things Loki from Tom Hiddleston, who delivered it to the cast and crew before production on Loki began.
“He sort of sat us all down, cast and crew,” Di Martino says. “We had snacks, and it was a bit like being in like Loki school, which was awesome. And he just told us everything he knows about Loki and his experience at the past 10 years of playing this character.”
While this lecture was illuminating for all involved, it was especially helpful for her, as she was essentially sharing aspects of this character.
“It was so helpful just to hear all of this knowledge because he knows that character better than anyone in the world,” Di Martino says. “Being able to ask him anything because he knows so much about the MCU and Loki as a character was super helpful.”
Loki is now streaming on Disney+.