The newest Marvel Cinematic Universe installment comes in the form of Loki featuring the God of Mischief himself. But wait, didn’t he die? Well, kind of, but Loki actually makes sense of Loki’s multiple deaths and trickeries. However, it can be a bit confusing fitting Loki into the greater MCU, so when exactly does Loki take place?
The answer is not quite so simple. Because Avengers: Endgame involves time travel that directly affects Loki, and Loki takes place mostly within the Time Variance Authority, time and space don’t play by the same rules. So whenever Loki takes place in the MCU might actually not be a “when” at all — here’s what we know.
When does ‘Loki’ take place in the MCU?
Loki picks up where The Avengers leaves off — kind of. Let’s go back to the beginning for this one. Loki’s connection to the MCU begins when he’s adopted by Odin after his father, Laufey, ruler of the Frost Giants in Jotunheim, is defeated in battle. Hence, Loki becomes Thor’s brother but grows up resenting him. So in the first Thor movie, Loki tries to take over the throne of Asgard.
While he does eventually do that, he then loses to Thor in battle, so Loki goes off to make friends with Thanos in The Avengers, who gives Loki the Space Stone and scepter to steal the Tesseract. Here’s when things get dicey. Because Loki ultimately wants power, he lets himself get captured by the Avengers in a master plan to become King of Earth.
So, Loki steals the Tesseract and uses it to open up a wormhole in the Earth to welcome Thanos’s alien army. Loki and Thanos’s army are, of course, defeated in the Battle of New York City in 2012. Both Loki and the Tesseract are banished to the dungeons of Asgard.
When Loki reappears in the MCU, he undergoes major character development.
From here, Loki begins to grow — he is still the God of Mischief, and we never know if we can trust him, but he also seems to at least try to fight for good. When his sorcerer mother Frigga is killed by Malekith and his Dark Elf army in Thor: The Dark World, Loki teams up with Thor to avenge her death.
While there is now some sincerity to him, Loki still fakes his own death and sneaks back into Asgard to impersonate Odin and, once again, become ruler of Asgard. When Thor figures out Loki’s ruse in Thor: Ragnarok, we’re not really sure where Loki stands. But he eventually sides once again with Thor to save the people of Asgard, but not before stealing the Tesseract from the dungeon.
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is when Loki’s timeline in the MCU starts to get more confusing.
Now, Thanos is angry. He wants the Tesseract, which houses one of the Infinity Stones. Thanos takes over the Asgardian ship, kills half the civilians on board, and takes the stone from Loki. Unfortunately for all of us Loki stans, he really becomes selfless and dies because of it. So then when would Loki fit into all of this in the MCU?
Well, because Avengers: Endgame goes back in time to the Battle of New York when Loki was still alive but not yet at all selfless, Loki takes the opportunity to escape his fate. This past Loki uses the Space Stone to move into a different space, which saves him from his demise in his ultimate act of selflessness.
So the Loki we see in Loki is not a post-Endgame Loki — he is 2012 Loki, who has not yet bonded with Thor over the loss of their parents. However, because Loki takes place mostly in the TVA, it also exists outside of time and space.
The TVA doesn’t play by the same rules as the rest of us, so in some ways, the events of Avengers: Endgame have already happened, which is why Loki is taken in as a prisoner.
However (or whenever) this all plays out over the course of the universe, we are definitely not mad that the God of Mischief has some more screen time.
New episodes of Loki are released every Wednesday on Disney Plus.