Each episode of Loki delivers a new mind-bending twist on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even the mere introduction of the TVA and the sacred timeline radically shook everything we thought we knew about the “Infinity Saga.” And honestly, we’d expect nothing less from a show starring the God of Mischief. But the steady stream of lore-busting on the Disney Plus original has kept one of Marvel’s classic traditions out of the (time) loop: the after-credits scene. Loki season 1 hasn’t needed one — until episode 4.
“The Nexus Event” picks back up where episode 3 left off, with the imminent destruction of Lementis-1 and both Loki and Sylvie, the female Loki variant, poised for actual death. By the end of the episode, each variant is left with more questions than answers, and the promise of two more episodes to answer them.
But you don’t want to bounce after the credits on this one. The scene is pivotal to where the story’s going in episode 5.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Loki episode 4, “The Nexus Event”]
“Is this Hel?” Loki wonders aloud.
Moments after Loki and Sylvie discover that the omniscient creators of the sacred timeline, the floaty-chair-sitting Time-Keepers, were just a bunch of animatronics, a defeated Ravonna Renslayer (Guga Mbatha-Raw) prunes the god into oblivion. That might be the end, but like most of what the TVA gets involved in, what happens on the surface doesn’t explain everything that’s going on.
In the post-credits scene, Tom Hiddleston’s version of Loki pops up in what appears to be a ravaged version of New York City, complete with a crumbling Stark Tower. A fair assumption might be that this is an Earth where Loki and Thanos’ attack on New York went according to plan. But it doesn’t appear to be his own timeline: Instead of finding a mirror version of himself lording over the world as king, Loki meets a number of new Loki variants.
So who do we have here? On the right is “Classic Loki” (at least by the credits’ description), a mirror image of Jack Kirby’s original take on the character as played by Richard E. Grant — who fans have long speculated might show up as Mephisto, even back in WandaVision.
Not quite. In bold yellow and green, Grant’s Loki is a dead ringer for the version of Loki who reigned devilish king over Marvel’s Thor mythos for decades. If you only know Loki from the MCU or Marvel Comics after Agent of Asgard , it’s tough to separate the Tom Hiddleston of it all from the character. His portrayal shaped the characterization of the God of Mischief for years. But long before his entrance into the MCU, Marvel’s Loki was this thin-faced, jester-garbed figure — wizened where Thor was muscular, sour-faced where Thor was handsome, and as irredeemably evil as Thor was worthy. Marvel’s classic Loki had as much red in his ledger as any other genocidal supervillain, and he felt about as much remorse as a the Joker or Carnage. He was not the sympathetic trickster we know today.
Classic Loki’s transition from villain to antihero took place over many years, but reached an inflection point during Marvel’s Siege event, when … he super died. And at the same time that the old Loki died, a new Loki appeared in the comics: Kid Loki. Also known as Teen Loki, Kid Loki — played by Jack Veal on Loki — was created by Classic Loki as a very long-game bit of trickery. But functionally, he was a younger version of Loki who had yet to commit grievous crimes and had the potential to have a better (though still not completely heroic) nature.
Thor believed in his brother where the rest of Asgard didn’t, and that gave Kid Loki plenty of room to use his “ain’t I a stinker” vibes to become a fan favorite. Though he eventually realized he was a piece of deception and gave way to the narrative need for a fully adult Loki, Kid Loki cameos are not uncommon in Marvel Comics, and some of his adventures, particularly with the Young Avengers, remain very popular.
Comics history doesn’t have much more to clear up about the other two Lokis in the after-credits scene. Deobia Oparei, whose credits include Sex Education and Game of Thrones, seems to be playing a version of Loki that’s more like Thor (if he’s a Loki at all). The heroic outfit even comes with its own hammer, and while the only times Loki has wielded Mjolnir have been when magic spells inverted the moral compasses of most of the characters in the Marvel Universe, who’s to say if the weapon is even Thor’s go-to. Maybe in that world, Loki has is own hammer with its own name.
Then there’s Alligator Loki. Where did he come from? What does he want? We can only hope this means the live-action introduction of Frog Thor in the near future…