Loki has introduced a multitude of Loki Variants but despite their physical appearances, Marvel has laid out some basic rules for how to spot a Loki.
Warning: SPOILERS for Loki episode 5, “Journey Into Mystery”.
Loki introduced the concept of Loki Variants and there are simple rules for how to spot one, according to Marvel and the Lokis themselves. Of course, our main Loki is played by Tom Hiddleston, who is himself a Variant of the Loki who was killed by Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity War. But Loki has introduced a cavalcade of Variant Lokis in all shapes and sizes, including Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant), Kid Loki (Jack Veal), and even an Alligator Loki.
After he was pruned by Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Loki found himself in The Void at the end of time, where all of the variants and debris from timelines eliminated by the Time Variance Authority ended up. This includes roughly a dozen Loki Variants such as President Loki, who is also a doppelganger for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Soon, Sylvie also joined Loki in The Void and they set out to enchant Alioth, the matter-consuming, living cloud that guards the secret to who really created the TVA. Loki talked up Sylvie as “different” to the other Variants, who, despite their disparate physical appearances, all share Loki’s penchant for treachery and uncanny ability to lose when their plans go awry. So, while a Loki can come in any form, they have certain common traits that identify them as Gods of Mischief.
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Before they confronted Alioth, Mobius (Owen Wilson) mused that he didn’t recall seeing an alligator as a Loki Variant in the TVA’s files, to which Classic Loki replied, “He’s green, isn’t he?” The color green (and yellow) is the first telltale sign of a Loki. The Gods of Mischief tend to wrap themselves in those primary colors, which also symbolize the unheroic traits of greed, envy, and cowardice. In fact, Classic Loki was confused when our main Loki showed heroic traits since being a coward is the Loki way. Green and yellow are also the colors of Loki’s magic: Classic Loki’s sorcery and Sylvie’s enchantment are green, while Kid Loki fashions magical, glowing blades of gold. Boastful Loki (DeObia Oparei) also wields a golden hammer that resembles Thor’s Mjolnir.
Beyond their physical appearances, since a Loki can look like anyone, the best way to spot a Loki is by observing their behavior. Lokis are cunning, arrogant, usually power-mad, consumed with fulfilling their “glorious purpose”, and by and large, Lokis cannot be trusted. As the Loki Variants learned, put any number of Lokis in a room together and they invariably betray each other: Boastful Loki sold out Kid Loki to President Loki, only for his army of Lokis to immediately turn on him while Alligator Loki munched off his right hand, which sparked a full-on Loki melee. After fleeing this pathetic display of Lokis being Loki, Classic Loki fumed, “We lie and we cheat! We cut the throats of every person who trusts us and for what? Power. Glorious power. Glorious purpose!”
As Mobius pointed out, Lokis are also adept at long cons: “It’s always the game within the game with you guys.” However, a crucial reason why Loki schemes tend to fail miserably is Lokis don’t always think everything through. Sylvie exposed Loki’s foolhardy plan to kill Alioth as futile and suicidal, offering up her wiser scheme to enchant the monster into giving up its master. Classic Loki pondered whether a Loki can truly change his stripes and the elder God of Mischief learned the answer when he heroically sacrificed himself to Alioth so that Sylvie and Loki could enchant it. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki also profoundly changed for the better throughout the course of Loki, so a Loki isn’t beyond hope of redemption. Finally, if all else fails to identify a Loki Variant, they’re probably wearing bendy horns on their heads.
Loki streams Wednesdays on Disney+.
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