After he appeared in the trailer, MCU fans had plenty of theories about President Loki. When he finally arrived, however, those were all proved wrong.
All of those President Loki theories officially just got pruned thanks to the events of Loki episode 5. When the first Loki trailer dropped in late 2020, it didn’t take long for the hype to begin. Although the show’s biggest secrets were kept, MCU fans were left intrigued by the D.B. Cooper reference, the enigmatic hooded villain, and the introduction of the TVA. The biggest reveal, however, was the trailer’s final sting – President Loki gleefully teasing, “come on, what did you expect?” before being betrayed by his allies. Based on the 2016 “Vote Loki” comic run, the addition of President Loki to the MCU felt super significant… at the time.
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Many assumed this character was our Loki adopting his presidential persona from the comic books, perhaps in some grand scheme or alternate timeline. Based on the ne’er-do-wells he was associating with, some even theorized Loki was collecting supporters from across the timeline in an ego-fueled attempt to reign over the MCU. Others suggested “Vote Loki” would provide inspiration for Disney+’s new show, while a few even had President Loki lined up as a potential villain the TVA was trying to apprehend. The overarching feeling was that President Loki would be controlling something important within the narrative.
Missing for the first 4 episodes, the chances of President Loki playing any significant part were rapidly dwindling, and when the cunning campaigner finally debuted in “Journey Into Mystery,” those suspicions were finally confirmed. President Loki actually leads a small band of Loki variants sent to the Void by the TVA. He tries to seize control of the realm from Kid Loki but fails spectacularly when the coup turns into a brawl. President Loki makes the grave mistake of insulting Alligator Loki, gets his hand bitten off, and is then tossed into a popcorn machine for good measure. While the politician could return in the final episode, his first appearance doesn’t exactly pave the way for a comeback, meaning that might be the last fans see of LOTUS.
This means precisely none of the pre-launch President Loki theories hit the mark. The character might’ve been from an alternate timeline (that bit was right, at least!), but there was no grand scheme, he wasn’t an antagonist, and the series owes more to The Wizard of Oz than it does the Vote Loki comic storyline. Viewers also never find out what President Loki’s campaign is about. His minions all have campaign pins, but the president gig obviously came before the coup in the Void, so there’s an entire backstory we’re not getting (and probably never will). President Loki seemed a big deal in the trailers, but like most politicians, it was all showmanship and bluster with very little substance at the business end.
And that’s absolutely fine. Disappointment over President Loki’s minor role is understandable, but using the character as a gag works on a number of levels. Firstly, his trailer appearance served as a worthy distraction to cover up Loki‘s real surprises. Sylvie, the variants, and Lady Sif’s cameo were all kept more or less under wraps while folks pondered the God of Mischief’s political exploits. Secondly, President Loki is the perfect victim for Alligator Loki’s snappiness. Tom Hiddleston’s character (the main one) has undergone incredible evolution over the space of 5 episodes, and the rebel variants represent the counterpoint to that progression – still scheming and betraying with zero self-awareness. President Loki (a ruler with nothing to rule) is the perfect embodiment of everything the God of Mischief has left behind since meeting Sylvie and Mobius. And it’s really funny seeing such an egotistical Loki get his comeuppance.
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