Marvel’s Loki Episode 4: MCU Easter Eggs and References
Marvel's Loki episode 4 is (surprise!) packed with MCU and Marvel Comics references, and we're here to unpack as many of them as we possibly can.
This article contains Loki spoilers.
“Marvel, you’ve done it again!”
OK, but seriously…this is the best episode of Loki yet, and one of the best examples of the MCU’s Disney+ TV strategy full stop. Plenty of drama and action, to be sure, but also packed with surprises, some of which are very much things that Marvel Comics and MCU fans will be excited about, and others a little more subtle.
Here’s all the good stuff we’ve found in Loki episode 4 so far. If you spot anything we missed, let us know in the comments!
Young Sylvie (young Lady Loki? What’s the correct nomenclature here?) is playing with her toys, and is reenacting (or imagining) a legendary battle involving one of the Valkyrie.
The Origin of Sylvie
- This episode makes it pretty clear that Sylvie is 100% a Loki, and had at least part of a childhood on Asgard.
- There are some subtle touches with how we see her booked into the TVA. The pile of papers indicating “everything you’ve ever said” is much smaller than the one presented to Loki in episode one. The camera lingers on the scorched floor to indicate the real danger (and the one a child would feel) of that checkpoint disintegrating you, etc.
- Considering the extremely traumatic and messed up way the TVA just stormed in and took Sylvie away, it pretty much explains her habit of never wanting to sit with her back to doors.
Hey, remember when the trailers for this show were hitting and everyone (including us) thought there was a shot of Loki talking to Black Widow’s soul on Vormir? Whoops! Turns out that was just Loki and Sylvie on Lamentis-1 after all!
Blade is Coming to the MCU
Mobius talks up all the different types of beings that they’ve dealt with, including “Kree, Titans, and vampires.” This is the first confirmation of vampires existing in the MCU, right? Blade reboot, here we come!
The Eternals Connection
When Mobius mentions “Titans” he isn’t talking about the team of DC heroes. Instead, the Marvel Titans are Eternals who primarily inhabit (wait for it) Titan, the homeworld of Thanos.
Any self-respecting MCU and Captain Marvel fan knows who the Kree are at this point, of course. But remember that we also saw a member of their rival species, a Skrull, being booked into the TVA in the first episode. The TVA’s jurisdiction is truly boundless.
- Loki is tortured by the (justifiably) abusive words and punches of Lady Sif, as played by Jaimie Alexander. Previously, Sif was quietly forgotten due to her notable lack of appearance in Thor: Ragnarok and the lack of any reference to her since then. In real life, it was because Alexander was busy with her TV show Blindspot.
- As for the in-story reason, according to Kevin Feige, the official explanation is that after her appearances on Agents of SHIELD, Sif was banished from Asgard by Loki (disguised as Odin) in fear that she could expose his ruse to the rest of the realm. She was one of Thanos’ victims during the big snap, but was brought back five years later.
- Interestingly, this encounter with Sif seems to be referencing a story from Norse mythology, although in a slightly skewed fashion. Here, Sif is annoyed with Loki for cutting her hair without her permission. But in Norse mythology (and at least one Marvel Comics story), Loki was the reason that Sif’s hair was black and not blonde, having magically changed it while she slept as a joke.
The Time-Keepers are Fake!
- In the first Avengers movie, Nick Fury compared Loki to the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz, giving us the famous, “I understood that reference!” Captain America meme. This episode keeps the Loki/Wizard of Oz connection going with the way the Timekeepers are merely a fake identity meant to scare and grandstand. I guess we’ll have to wait to see who’s really behind the curtain, though.
- Considering the way they’re laid out and dressed, the Timekeepers are most definitely supposed to be reminiscent of the Three Most Important People in the World, the futuristic utopian rulers who set things in motion in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to keep the correct timeline intact.
Sylvie is held in Time Theater 47. The number 47 has a strangely deep connection to science fiction. The number occurs frequently in Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is because writer Joe Menosky attended Pomona College, where 47 is something of a meme, due to two students in the ‘60s researching whether the number appears more frequently than others. The nameless protagonist of the Hitman videogame series is also named Agent 47.
The Variant Lokis and the Post-Credits Scene
Loki wakes up and we get an homage to that famed shot in Avengers when Loki finds himself on the ground, surrounded by hostile heroes. Except this time they are Lokis. And…is that a crumbling Avengers tower we see in the background.
Of all the variant Lokis, the most significant of these is…
Kid Loki made his first appearance in Thor #617 in 2010. Feeling he had hit a dead end as the God of Mischief and was too distrusted for his schemes to matter, Loki set up his own death in the event Siege, where he was killed by the Void. He was reborn as his child self, from back when he was beloved and still relatively innocent. While mischievous, Kid Loki tried to break the chains of what his previous self had become and used his powers to help Asgard and his brother. By the time he proved himself heroic, the soul of the previous Loki was able to overtake his body and ride on his reputation.
The conclusion of that story suggested that the status quo wouldn’t allow for a heroic Loki for too long, but instead of going full-on evil again, the new form of Loki instead fell into bouts of guilt over his actions. This led to Kid Loki joining the Young Avengers and eventually aging himself up to a young adult.
So hey, Disney+ shows are three-for-three on introducing Young Avengers characters!
The alligator Loki doesn’t exactly come from the comics, but it does seem to be a nod to the incident where Loki transformed Thor into a frog during the Walt Simonson run of the Thor comics. While the adventure was short lived, Frog Thor was such a beloved concept that it’s been revisited various times, including making it a separate character (real name Simon Walterson, because of course).
Richard E. Grant makes an absolutely perfect comics-accurate Loki. Not only is the costume a perfect version of the way the character was portrayed in the pages of Marvel Comics for decades, where Loki was far more evil than MCU fans might be used to and…also kind of looked like Richard E. Grant now that we think about it.
Also, folks who have been rightly noting the Doctor Who parallels on this show will also note Grant has played the Doctor in a couple of forms in his time, as well.
We don’t know who that cool looking armored Loki wielding what looks like Mjolnir is exactly, but he’s credited as “Boastful Loki.” He sounds fun.
Miscellaneous Time Variants
- Even though they’ve been around since the first episode, the “So… you’re a variant,” posters on the desk in the end credits certainly hits differently, doesn’t it?
- The Moonlighting energy that we were getting last week with Sylvie and Loki seems to have been transferred this week to Loki and Mobius. Not that we’re complaining.
- When Loki wakes up during the post-credits scene, he wonders whether he has arrived in hell. But of course, the closed captioning reveals that Loki is speaking of Hel, the Norse underworld overseen by the goddess Hel.
Spot anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!