Like all great franchises, the Marvel Cinematic Universe rewards fans for their long-term investment.
From Scott Lang offering a dazed Hawkeye orange slices after his time travel trial in Avengers: Endgame to the countless "on your lefts" in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the MCU consistently calls back to their past projects, creating a sense of familiarity with their fans in this larger-than-life universe.
LOKI SUFFERS FROM SOME PERFORMANCE ISSUES
Tony Stark did warn him about this.
In the series premiere of Loki, Tom Hiddleston stands trial before Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Ravonna Renslayer. When asked how he pleads, the trickster mischievously replies, "Guilty... of this." Loki's attempt to summon his twin daggers is to no avail, as his magic doesn't work within the Time Variance Authority.
This failed summoning calls back to Iron Man 3 when a zip-tied Tony Stark tries to will his Iron Man armor to him with his hands. Just like Stark repeatedly attempts to will his weaponry to himself, Loki tries his trick over and over again, as his TVA foes chuckle at his struggle.
In the moments before this reference, Tom Hiddleston's Loki even name drops the Iron Man himself when he mentions that the "smell [of] the cologne of two Tony Stark's" is what keyed him into the Avengers' time travel shenanigans.
Loki's weapons mishap wasn't the only Iron Man trilogy reference, as fans will recognize Loki's crash landing in the sand to open the series as a direct callback to Tony Stark free-falling into the desert after escaping the Ten Rings' cave.
NO DAGGERS TODAY
While the Starboost Mark 42 armor eventually made its way to Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony, no knives appeared for Tom Hiddleston's Loki. Regardless, the quips from the trickster are akin to his all-too-similar Earth-based rival.
Even beyond the Iron Man 3 reference, Loki's performance issues have yet another link to the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.
In 2012's The Avengers, the God of Mischief tries to warp Tony Stark's mind with the scepter when he confronts him in Stark Tower. Unfortunately for our lovable villain, his Mind Stone magic doesn't work on arc reactors.
This callback is nothing more than a neat Easter egg for eagle-eyed fans, as fans should not expect Aldrich Killian to reveal himself as one of the Timekeepers. That said, Marvel Studios has been using this technique for years now. They subtly call back familiar beats, lines of dialogue, and motions from past projects that subconsciously make the universe more authentic. Inside jokes are the foundation of a great friend group, and by constantly referencing the past, the MCU feels all the more intimate.
All of Loki's references can be caught in the first episode of the series, streaming now on Disney+.