Avengers: Infinity War’s Tom Hiddleston Explains Why Loki Isn’t Truly Evil
It’s only recently that villains such as Thanos and Killmonger have given him a run for his money, but for many years Loki was the unquestioned king of the MCU’s antagonists. First appearing in 2011’s Thor and most recently seen in Avengers: Infinity War, Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief always had a sense of fun and charisma lacking from some of the other bad guys in the franchise. But what’s it like to play him?
Hiddleston elaborated on how he gets into the mindset of an immortal trickster god while holding a Q&A panel at this weekend’s ACE Comic-Con in Seattle. He started out by saying that, for him, Loki is “fascinating” because it’s a challenge to embody “the exterior and the interior” of the character.
“What I’ve loved about it, and it has felt like a gift, is because he is such a fascinating antagonist. Anyone will tell you, any actor who’s played a villain or an antagonist, will tell you they are fascinating because the challenge is to present the exterior and the interior.”
For Loki, Hiddleston explained that the exterior’s of someone who’s allowed his darker feelings of jealousy and loneliness to corrupt him. In contrast, the actor likes to at the same time give an impression of the character’s interior, and suggest a “vulnerability” to him which exists behind his villainous facade.
“And so the exterior, because you’re the villain, it means there’s something in you that is motivated by things we all feel but try to hide and suppress, like jealousy, or pain, or isolation, or loneliness. These things can convert themselves into egomania or narcissism, all of which is a part of him.”
“If the exterior is that either he’s trying to pit the Avengers against each other or he’s trying to work some kind of scheme, if you can allow the audience to see the vulnerability behind all of that, [you can achieve] this internal, external relationship.”
The other thing that’s important to remember when playing Loki is the mischievous side. Hiddleston says that he had to make sure he was having fun while portraying the Asgardian so that the character’s love for causing chaos would come across in his performance.
“I had to remind myself every day he’s the god of mischief and it’s my personal obligation to have a great time,” he added. “And so there’s something of him, I recognize a part — a very childlike part — of myself in that, in trying to have as much fun as possible, because he is.”
So, where does Hiddleston think Loki’s morality lies? Is he a proper villain? Well, not to the actor, he’s not. Hiddleston argues that, even in the original Norse myths, Loki’s an agent of chaos rather than a Devil-like figure
“I also don’t think he’s truly evil. He never was, even in the Norse mythology, in the pantheon. Loki’s a very important, fascinating character, the trickster. He’s somebody that the gods needed at particular times. Lots of people are familiar with the Norse stories, but he’s someone who — he represents chaos in opposition to order, and sometimes what you need is a bit of chaos, and Asgard wouldn’t be the same without him.”
Fans would likely agree that Loki’s not “truly evil,” as we’ve seen the character change over a redemptive arc across the past few movies. In Thor: Ragnarok, he decided to do the honorable thing for once and help his brother save the people of Asgard. In Avengers: Infinity War, he then made the ultimate sacrifice to save Thor and was killed by Thanos.
His death seemed pretty final, but Loki lovers are still coming up with theories that could allow him to come back to life once again. And we’ll get to see if they’re right when Avengers 4 arrives next May.