In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, writers have shown that just because you believe a character has died does not mean their time on screen is over. Despite Black Widow dying in Avengers: Endgame, the franchise is reprising her character for a standalone movie (which will take place before the events in Endgame).
But the character in the franchise who has arguably faced the most deaths and still managed to come back is Loki. Thor's anti-hero brother is returning to the MCU for his own show, Loki, coming to Disney Plus this July, and just like in his many other movie appearances, the God of Mischief is assumed to be dead — only to return again.
So, how does Loki keep coming back to life?
Loki has multiple brushes with death across the 'Thor' franchise.
At the end of the first Thor movie, we see Loki fall into the black hole created by the destruction of the Rainbow Bridge. Despite Odin's attempt to save both him and Thor from falling into this abyss, Loki chooses to let go.
Somehow, he survives his trip through the wormhole, landing in the Sanctuary. This is where he first teams up with Thanos and receives the Mind Stone in his scepter. In this instance, the black hole just didn't kill him, which is how he managed to evade death.
Loki's next brush with death happens in Thor: The Dark World, in which viewers are initially led to believe that the God of Mischief has met his match. After Thor frees his brother from imprisonment so Loki can help them locate a secret portal, Malekith and the Dark Elves catch up to them. In what appears to be a characteristic double-cross, Loki switches sides to support Malekith in a ploy so Thor can destroy the Aether, but during the final battle scene, Loki seemingly sacrifices himself to save his brother.
It's in this moment that we see Loki's "last words" to Thor as he holds the God of Mischief while he dies. But somehow Loki was only faking his death, as he returned to Asgard and impersonated Odin to take control again.
According to ScreenRant, Loki's death in this movie was originally meant to be permanent, but following the fan support for this anti-hero, the franchise brought him back.
How does Loki continue to evade death?
There are a few theories that explain how Loki continues to come back to life, though it's likely we won't have clear answers until Loki premieres on Disney Plus.
The common belief is that Loki's shapeshifting and illusion abilities are how he has continued to evade death. Fans of the comics know that Loki is a famed shapeshifter who, in the movies, has often projected illusions to trick his opponents.
But there are still some holes in this argument. One Reddit theory suggests that Loki actually died in The Dark World, and was replaced by a Loki from an alternate timeline in the subsequent movies.
Since Thor holds Loki as he passes, many don't believe that was an illusion, as Loki's illusions aren't capable of being touched.The God of Mischief could've used his shapeshifting abilities to make it appear as though he were dying, though that still fails to explain how he healed from his stab wound.
How exactly he manages it is unclear, though he is the God of Mischief... After all, what better way to create mischief than to fake your own death more than once?