Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now in full swing, and the small screen branch is taking center stage.
WandaVision kicked things off with a sitcom extravaganza while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier took a deep dive into political themes. This time around, it's Loki's turn to explore the multiverse.
Directed by Kate Herron and created by Michael Waldron, Loki follows the titular trickster that escaped the Time Heist from Avengers: Endgame, but his freedom was cut short due to the arrival of the Time Variance Authority.
The series is built on this premise, and the first episode managed to exceed expectations by revealing that the looming threat is actually an alternate version of Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief. The presence of this villain will prove to be a challenge for Endgame Loki, meaning that the trickster will likely use every known ability that he has under his sleeves.
Now, the second episode clarified some aforementioned abilities of the titular lead.
LOKI'S POWERS EXPLAINED
During the initial briefing of Loki's first mission with the TVA, Mobius discussed the abilities of the God of Mischief. In the discussion, Mobius explained that they are hunting down a Loki variant while also confirming that the organization has already dealt with these individuals in the past.
Mobius: "Here's the deal. When we get on the branch, we're not just looking for a time criminal. We're looking for a Loki. A variation of this guy. A type we should all be familiar with because the TVA has pruned a lot of this guys, almost more than any other variant. No two are alike. Slight differences in appearances or not so slight. Different powers although powers generally include shapeshifting, illusion projection...”
Loki: "Duplication casting..."
Mobius: "Illusion projection."
Loki: "Those are two different powers actually."
Loki interjected by pointing out that duplication casting and illusion projection are two entirely different power sets. The Asgardian said that illusion projection involves “depicting a detailed image from outside oneself” while duplication casting “entails recreating an exact facsimile of one's own body:”
"Illusion projection involves depicting a detailed image from outside oneself which is perceptible in the external world whereas duplication casting entails recreating an exact facsimile of one's own body in its present circumstance which acts as a true holographic mirror of its molecular structure."
For context, the God Of Mischief used duplication casting during most of his MCU appearances.
In 2011's Thor, he used it to tell Thor about the Odinsleep while his brother is locked inside a room within the SHIELD compound. During his first attack on Earth in 2012's The Avengers, the trickster also utilized duplication casting while telling everybody to kneel in Germany.
Another instance of this was showcased in Thor: Ragnarok when Loki talked to Thor while inside the chambers of the champion's challengers.
Meanwhile, in 2013's Thor: The Dark World, the plan to save Jane Foster from the Dark Elves was built from casting an illusion where Thor's right hand was sliced by Loki's knife. This ability is also the one Loki used when he killed Phil Coulson during the first Avengers film, with Loki making the agent think that he was still inside his cell so that he could stab him from behind.
LOKI'S COMPLICATED SKILLSET
Tom Hiddleston's explanation of the powers of his MCU character during the second episode is a good example of the much-talked-about Loki Lectures that the cast and crew were talking about in past weeks. This effectively reminds audiences of Hiddleston's mastery of his Loki persona.
Michael Waldron already teased that Loki will explore the “real powers” of the character, pointing out that he "wanted to explore the awesome stuff he can do, and also dramatically too.” Meanwhile, Hiddleston revealed that the continued evolution of the show's logo is a reference to the character's shapeshifting ability, claiming that the series is about “integrating the disparate fragments” of his many selves.
Throughout the Infinity Saga, Loki is known for his magical abilities, but the movies didn't thoroughly explore this aspect since the focus is mainly on the lead heroes of the franchise. Still, the God of Mischief clearly has outstanding powers waiting to be unleashed at the forefront, and this latest episode hammered that point home.
There's a sense that the discussion around illusion projection and duplication casting is just the tip of the iceberg, and there will be more expositions about the mysterious power set of the titular trickster. Given that other variants are involved, it's possible that other abilities of the God of Mischief will surface as well.
Sophia Di Martino's Lady Loki showcased a different kind of hypnosis or astral projection in the episode, transferring her essence from one person to another. This is a unique skill since her original form is still planting the reset charges around Roxxcart.
An unexplored power of Loki that has yet to surface in the MCU is the God of Mischief's ability to bring inanimate objects to life. It is unknown if Endgame Loki will use this power, but it's possible that other variants will utilize this to gain an advantage over the TVA at some point.
Whatever the case, Loki is poised to show more of the character's abilities in the upcoming episodes.
The first two episodes of Loki are now streaming on Disney+.