Mischief Managed

Thanos Copter: Loki Episode 5 Easter egg sets up the villain's return

Did Loki just bring Thanos back from the dead?

Welcome to the Void. Loki Episode 5 takes us to the end of time for one more apocalyptic adventure, and along the way, the show managed to cram in some incredible Easter eggs. That includes our best look yet at a certain amphibian version of Thor (more on that in a future article), but even more important, Loki gives us our first live-action look at one of the most controversial creations in Marvel history: the Thanos Copter.

Here’s everything you need to know about this big yellow helicopter with Thanos’ name written on its side— and why the Thanos Copter could be so much more than just another Easter egg.

The Thanos Copter in Loki Episode 5

The Thanos Copter in Loki.Marvel

Early in Loki Episode 5, the camera sweeps over the Void (the place where pruned variants are sent) to reveal several surprising Easter eggs. There’s an oversized Yello Jacket helmet from Ant-Man, but even more striking is the Thanos Copter.

We only see it for a few seconds as this family of Lokis pass by the copter on the way to their hideout. No one says anything about it, which is surprising since our Loki seems to be pretty obsessed with Thanos after watching his own death at the hands of the mad titan. But the camera hovers on this image just long enough to make sure the audience notices it.

So is this just an Easter egg, or is it something more? To find out, we first need to dig a little deeper into the history of the Thanos Copter.

The Thanos Copter in Marvel comics

The Thanos Copter in action.Marvel

Appearing in Spidey Super Stories #39 (1979), the Thanos Copter is exactly what it sounds like: a yellow helicopter owned and operated by the Mad Titan. In the comic, Thanos uses his helicopter while trying to take the Cosmic Cube (that’s the Tesseract in the movies) from the superhero Hellcat, though he also uses the vehicle for various low-stakes crimes.

This also isn’t the first time the Marvel Cinematic Universe has referenced the Thanos Copter. In Avengers: Endgame, the Mad Titan’s sword was directly inspired by the helicopter’s propellers. Thanos creator Jim Starlin confirmed this connection in an interview with Digital Spy at Comic Con 2019, though he apparently wasn’t thrilled about it:

"The one thing they did and I will never forgive the Russos and [writers] Markus and McFeely was they brought that weapon he had in, which is inspired from the Thanos helicopter which most everybody had almost forgot all about. Originally, the ThanosCopter was created by Larry Lieber for some kids' books called Spidey Super Stories. Thanos was running around robbing banks with the name Thanos written on the side of his copter which always struck me as a little strange all by itself."
"But I tried to ignore it and I thought people had forgot about it, but they stuck it in the movie. I had a couple of writers credit me with creating it and I'm like, 'No, it wasn't me'."

What the Thanos Copter really means in Loki

Will Thanos return to the MCU as a variant?Marvel

We’ve speculated before that Loki could be setting up the existence of Thanos variants in the MCU. Mobius previously hinted that the Time Variance Authority had arrested “Titans” — along with vampires — but this is the first time the show has seemingly confirmed that multiple versions of Thanos exist. After all, if the Thanos Copter is part of MCU canon, that means there’s got to be a version of Thanos who uses it.

Beyond being a fun and weird Easter egg, this sets up an easy way for Marvel to bring Thanos back. The MCU can simply reveal that some variant of the supervillain managed to escape from the TVA and the Void. We could see Thanos turn up in a future movie or Disney+ show. Heck, it’s even possible he’s the one secretly controlling the entire TVA (that’s extremely unlikely, but it’s possible).

Either way, in the words of Starlin himself, it’s likely only a matter of time before Marvel brings Thanos back. And Loki Episode 5 just cleared the Thanos Copter for landing.

“You know, they’ve made so much money off him,” Starlin said back in 2019. “I can’t believe they're not gonna do it again.”

Loki is streaming now on Disney+.