Loki (Tom Hiddleston, center) is back. Photo courtesy of Marvel
LOS ANGELES, June 9 (UPI) -- Loki star Tom Hiddleston said playing the title character in the Disney+ series allowed him to explore what happens to the God of Mischief when he doesn't have his superpowers.
"Loki is stripped of everything that's familiar to him," Hiddleston said in a recent Zoom press conference. "He's stripped of his status and his power."
Loki is a supporting character in six Marvel movies and Marvel's Disney+ series picks up from a moment in the middle of Avengers: Endgame. In the blockbuster film, the Avengers travel back in time to 2012, when they first battled Loki in the first Avengers team-up movie.
Through a mix-up involving the Hulk smashing through the door, Loki ends up escaping capture in the 2012 Avengers movie. He disappears, and finds himself in unfamiliar territory when the series begins.
"Thor is not close by," Hiddleston said. "Asgard seems some distance away. The Avengers, for the time being, aren't in sight."
Since the Avengers captured Loki in the original 2012 timeline, his disappearance causes a disturbance in the timeline. The Time Variance Authority captures Loki to stand trial for timeline violation. Loki's powers of shapeshifting, illusion projection and teleportation do not work in the authority.
"If you take all those things that Loki has used to identify himself over the last six movies, what remains of Loki?" Hiddleston asked rhetorically. "Who is he within or outside all of those things? What makes Loki Loki?"
Loki was the primary antagonist of Thor and The Avengers. In the sequel Thor: The Dark World, Loki is imprisoned on Asgard for his crimes.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Loki's adoptive brother, frees him to help him fight the Dark Elf Malekith. On that mission, Loki uses an illusion to fake his death and returns in Thor: Ragnarok.
In Ragnarok, Loki shifts allegiances between the villain Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and his own brother Thor. Avengers: Infinity War marks the date of Loki's death, so his escape through time offers one possible way to evade that final outcome.
During his trial, Loki has the opportunity to help the TVA capture another time variant. Hiddleston said the TVA also forces Loki to reflect on his past actions.
"Is he capable of change?" Hiddleston said. "Do his experiences within the TVA give him any insight into who he might be?"
After six movies over the course of eight years, Hiddleston said he had not tired of playing Loki. Part of the appeal, he said, is that Loki is never the same character twice.
The 40-year-old Hiddleston said Loki's shifts from villain to reluctant ally to victim of Thanos also attracted myriad fans. The actor said Loki offers a chance to show all of the character's sides.
"Some people enjoy his playfulness and his spontaneity and that inherent sense of mischief that he has," Hiddleston said. "Some people enjoy his quality as an antagonist. Some people probably can't stand him."
Hiddleston said fans have also noticed Loki's vulnerability in each of his film appearances. Hiddleston hopes they are pleased to see Loki so vulnerable on the series.
"Underneath all those layers of charm, charisma, and playfulness is a vulnerability, I suppose," Hiddleston said.
Loki premieres Wednesday on Disney+.