Why Classic Loki Laughs When He Dies
Loki Episode 5 took Marvel fans on a mind-bending journey into a realm filled with all kinds of crazy Loki variants. Being stranded in the void at the end of time forced 2012 Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to join forces with a group of Loki variants that had survived in the dystopia for many years, including Kid Loki, Alligator Loki, and of course, Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant). (Spoilers follow!) When it came to the grand plan to escape the realm at the end of time, Classic Loki sacrificed himself for the cause, to the sound of his own glorious laughter.
However, Marvel fans took the final moment of Grant’s Classic Loki and his epic laugh to mean something much deeper…
The arc of Richard E. Grant’s Classic Loki was one that saw Loki actually survive Thanos’ attack on the Asgardians by faking his own death using powerful illusion magic. Loki then hid out on various planets for years in cowardice, growing old and tired of his evil trickster ways. But then he was pruned by the Time Variance Authority before he could reconcile with his brother, Thor.
Classic Loki is different from his fellow variants in that he is mired in the cynical perspective of age. He thoroughly believes that he and every other Loki are “broken” inside, capable only of narcissism, betrayal, and craven survival. However, when 2012 Loki and Sylvie join forces to defeat the Alioth monster that guards the void, Classic Loki is inspired to have a change of heart. The older Loki uses every ounce of his formidable magic to conjure an illusion that’s the size of Asgard, and distract the Alioth long enough for Loki and Sylvie to finally enchant it. The Alioth ends up killing Classic Loki, but not before the old trickster lets out an epic laugh, knowing his death is near.
Fans have been captivated by Classic Loki’s final laugh – and what it means. A lot of fan theory has settled into one of two big interpretations of Classic Loki’s final moments:
- The name of “Classic Loki” is a callback to the earliest versions of the character from Marvel Comics. In that golden era of Avengers storytelling, Loki was a much more arch and evil comic book villain, who would cackle maniacally while doing his evil deeds. So, Richard E. Grant’s Classic Loki letting out that laugh was a pretty fun Easter egg for fans of those old-school Marvel comics.
- The other observation fans seem to enjoy is the notion that Classic Loki is laughing at the twisted irony of his own life in his final moments. After all, this version of Loki went to extraordinary lengths to save his own skin and avoid consequences – only to sacrifice himself while trying to save others. That irony is compounded by the irony that after being the staunchest believer that no Loki can change, Classic Loki saw two Loki variants who indeed did grow and change – as did he, just before dying. That’s a lot of cruel ironies for a trickster to appreciate.
Glorious purpose! #ClassicLoki pic.twitter.com/zPxGZe7bJd
— Edward Pun (@EdwardPun1) July 10, 2021
Loki is now streaming on Disney+.