Remember when one of the most frequent criticisms leveled at Marvel Studios was that they didn’t have the guts to kill off their major characters? The lack of permanent deaths in the central cast was an ongoing issue that gained new prominence every time a seeming fatality turned out to be yet another fake-out. To a large extent, this changed with the exceedingly death-heavy Avengers: Infinity War. The downright apocalyptic blockbuster certainly went some way to balancing out the score, though it’s clear that several of the superheroes we saw turn to dust at the end will be back in time for sequels.
One Infinity War death that many of us took to be pretty legit though was that of the Avengers’ old adversary, Loki. Seemingly killed by Thanos himself in the film’s opening minutes, the character’s exit from the series was further reinforced a couple of weeks ago by statements from actor Tom Hiddleston, who discussed how the villain’s arc was nicely resolved by the end of Thor: Ragnarok. Then again, this nefarious trickster has a history of cheating death, and one Redditor is now making the case that Loki’s supposed final scene in Infinity War is just one such case.
First off, user arhyssolacemustdie argues that the God of Mischief’s behavior in the film is inconsistent with what we know about the recurrent antagonist.
“Loki has a strong tendency towards self-preservation, and he knows Thanos. So his actions at the beginning of IW are very out of character.
Conclusion: The Loki who is killed by Thanos is not actually Loki.”
Referring to the Norse deity’s attempts to fight back against Thanos, arhyssolacemustdie expands further on his idea.
“What I mean by this is that the Loki who dies is actually an illusion created by the real Loki, who is probably playing dead somewhere else on the ship. This would explain two things.
1) Why he’s so clean. Everyone else is sweaty and wounded, but Loki is clean and in perfect health.
2) Why he didn’t wait longer. Loki isn’t stupid. He had to know Thanos would see it coming. He would have waited longer, fully gained Thanos’ trust before betraying him. Unless he knew he couldn’t die, in which case it may have been a simple act of defiance, an ‘I’ll never make the mistake of trusting you again, asshole.’
Loki wouldn’t sacrifice himself unless he thought he actually had a chance, and he had to know he didn’t.”
While we wouldn’t put such an act of deception past the character, it still seems fairly doubtful that this is what Marvel has in mind. For one thing, another Loki fake-out would seem like a pretty tired plot twist at this point, and one that the writers probably know better than to try.
What’s more, there’s that line which Thanos delivers right after choking the character: “No resurrections this time.” While you could argue that the Mad Titan is simply mistaken, it’s pretty clear that this statement was put in Thanos’ mouth to be directed straight at the audience, assuring us that unlike Loki’s death in Thor: The Dark World, this one is very real. To pull the exact trick that this particular line all but promises us won’t happen would feel like a pretty big cheat.
All the same, while Loki does indeed seem quite dead in Avengers: Infinity War, the persistent rumor that time travel will play an important part in Avengers 4 suggests that the upcoming sequel could find other ways of bringing the beloved villain back into the fray when it arrives in cinemas May 3rd, 2019. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.