- Loki’s redemption arc in the MCU was made possible by a specific cut to the original story of The Avengers, which featured him as a villain.
- Loki’s indirect responsibility for the deaths in the Battle of New York, which were technically caused by the Chitauri, allowed for his redemption and transformation into an iconic MCU hero.
- Marvel’s decision to change the Chitauri’s backstory and remove their alliance with Nazis was crucial in ensuring that Loki’s character could be redeemed and move past his past sins.
Now that Loki season 2 has come to a satisfying conclusion more than a decade after his MCU debut, it is safe to say that Loki experienced the biggest redemption arc in MCU movie history – but this was only facilitated thanks to a specific cut to the original story of The Avengers. For its part, The Avengers featured Loki at his most villainous, something which subsequent MCU movies, then Loki as part of a different timeline, went to great lengths to rectify. According to a revelation mentioned in The Art of Marvel’s The Avengers, however, Loki was almost beyond redemption.
Though it was quite hard to reconcile the fact that Loki was responsible for the deaths of 74 civilians in the Battle of New York with his genesis as a bona fide hero within Loki, how the MCU Disney+ series handled his redemption was enough to secure Loki as one of the most iconic MCU heroes regardless. Part of this can be explained away by his indirect responsibility for said deaths, which were technically at the hands of the Chitauri and their cataclysmic invasion of New York. Had Marvel’s creative team followed the comic book run that inspired them to the letter, however, things would have been wildly different.
The Avengers Changed The Chitauri’s Backstory Considerably
The Art Of Marvel’s The Avengers discusses how the story for The Avengers drew heavily from The Ultimates run of comics, with stark similarities taking the form of the Avengers lineup, Hulk’s dangerous rampage, and most importantly, the Chitauri invasion of Earth. One of the biggest changes, however, was turning the movie’s Chitauri army into pawns of Thanos, whereas they were an independent force in the comics. Another was how the Chitauri aligned themselves with the Nazis in World War 2. Needless to say, with Loki on their side, turning Loki into a hero immediately following such an alliance would have been impossible for Marvel to navigate.
Why The Chitauri’s MCU Backstory Needed To Be Different For Loki To Become A Future Hero
In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take very long for Loki to become a reformed character swiftly following the events of The Avengers, in which he was quite happy to subjugate, through force, the entire planet in aid of his ego. Loki deftly navigates Loki’s sinister side, however, by highlighting his hubris and putting him in his place, with one key early moment being the TVA’s use of Infinity Stones as paperweights. Loki’s jump from being a global threat and herald of a menacing extraterrestrial force to being manhandled and bossed around by Hunter B-15 and ostensibly meek office workers in drab suits was expertly conveyed in Loki.
If Marvel had decided to up the ante concerning the evil nature of the Chitauri, however, by having them aid Nazis as part of their plan, then Loki’s proximity to them would have made for a far darker spin on his character that Marvel would have struggled to move past. It was especially savvy of Marvel to circumnavigate this particular facet of the Chitauri invasion, as Loki would have been irredeemable by extension. Instead, Loki’s past sins have instead culminated in his repentance, which the Loki season 2 ending makes decidedly concrete.