Tom Hiddleston has been playing Loki for more than a decade now, starting with 2011’s Thor and continuing to the Disney Plus series that debuted last year. His lengthy tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made him practically synonymous with the trickster god, but Hiddleston still sees himself as a “temporary torchbearer” for the character.
As reported by Variety, Hiddleston discussed his role in a lengthy panel discussion hosted by the Royal Television Society. Topics included the various Loki variants played by Sophia Di Martino, Richard E. Grant, and others, leading to Hiddleston’s “torchbearer” comment.
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“I’m a temporary torchbearer. I’ve always thought that,” Hiddleston said. “It’s a great role. It’s an archetype, the trickster god, the agent of chaos. I’m just here interpreting that for the time being. Loki has been here for centuries and will be here for centuries more and I’m just stepping into that silhouette for now.”
Hiddleston appears to be referring at least in part to Loki’s role in the real Norse pantheon, which was famously appropriated for Marvel’s Comics in the 1960s. Following Loki Season 1, Hiddleston said he was “open to everything” when it comes to playing Loki.
“I’m open to everything. I have said goodbye to the character. I’ve said hello to the character. I said goodbye to the character [again]. I’ve learned not to make assumptions, I suppose. I’m just grateful that I’m still here, and there are still new roads to explore,” Hiddleston said at the time.
Looking back on the TV show, Hiddleston said he was drawn at least in part by its originality.
“This idea of somehow the [Time Variance Authority] confronting Loki with the shape-shifting nature of his identity and asking him ‘Who are you?’ I found it a new avenue to explore with this character I’ve been playing for a while,” Hiddleston said. “It felt original. It didn’t feel like we were repeating.”
We praised Loki Season 1 in our review, saying that it managed to “overcome an uneven first half to become a great and exhilaratingly consequential season of television.” Many of the key threads for MCU Phase 4 were established in Loki, including the multiverse and more.
Hiddleston talked about a breakfast he had with writer Michael Waldron about the character and the question about whether someone can truly change.
“Michael [Waldron] and I were having breakfast a couple of years ago when [he’d] written that first pilot and found ourselves talking about psychoanalytic theory and repetition compulsion and [the question of] can you ever change?” Hiddleston recalled. “Is it possible for people to change? Even if you do will people accept that you’ve changed? Is it possible to know yourself entirely?”
“And then Owen [Wilson] came and was so forensic about examining all of that stuff, and then we realized we were in a police detective thriller. When I was cast as Loki however many years ago, I never thought this character is a detective. But he is here.”
Hiddleston is set to reprise his famous role in Loki Season 2, where he will star alongside Wilson, who will once again play Agent Mobius. In a separate interview, Wilson said that he expects production on Loki Season 2 to begin “pretty soon.”
The next major MCU show is Moon Knight, which is set to premiere on March 30.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN