An executive producer on Marvel’s latest, Loki Season 2, broke down a specific namedrop from the third episode that many assumed to be a reference to Doctor Strange 2.
In 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the titular sorcerer and teenage tagalong America Chavez found themselves on Earth-838, where Strange comes face to face with the Illuminati. The team was composed of several alternate and previously unseen incarnations of popular Marvel characters.
One member of the Illuminati was meant to be Thor’s brother Balder the Brave, who would have been played by James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. However, Craig’s role was ultimately scrapped and Balder did not appear in the completed film.
Kevin Wright Clarifies Loki’s Balder Joke
In the third episode of Loki’s second season, at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Loki and Mobius gaze upon carvings of three Norse gods: Odin, Thor, and Balder.
Many fans formulated the theory that Balder was featured only because he was originally set to appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, Loki executive producer Kevin Wright debunked the speculation surrounding the statue’s inclusion.
According to Wright (via ScreenRant), the reference to Balder in Episode 3 came about specifically because he was cut from Doctor Strange 2, noting that if he had shown up in the movie, the series wouldn’t have run with this "little gag:"
“No, and had that happened in Multiverse of Madness, we probably wouldn't have done it. I think so much of the fun of that joke anyway is it just feels like Balder has been erased from history a bit. And so getting to do that joke and then put him up there and Loki is the one being erased from the history of this Norse mythology, Asgardian mythology, just felt like a fun flip. So in a way, them not being able to do it kind of cleared the ground for us that set up that little gag.”
As the producer put it, with Balder being present in the carving and Loki not even a part of it, they were able to make the joke that instead of one of Thor’s brothers being “erased from history,” it was the other.
Could Balder the Brave Still Show Up?
It remains to be seen whether or not Balder appears in the MCU at some point. It’s likely an even bigger question if Daniel Craig would be attached to play the character again.
Still, with Marvel Studios promising that there are more Thor stories yet to come (Love and Thunder’s message regarding the character returning) the character’s biological brother could have a place in an MCU tale yet to be told.
Perhaps Balder will come to Thor’s aid in the inevitable clash with Brett Goldstein’s Hercules?
Whatever the case may be, Loki still has three episodes in its sophomore season yet to debut, with fresh episodes arriving on Disney+ on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. EST.