Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Loki, holding a timer and looking worried

‘Loki’ Director’s Excuse for Season 2’s Lack of Queer Rep Makes No Sense

Loki Season 2 is finally upon us, and fans are excited to see what’s next for the God of Mischief, his friends, and the Marvel multiverse at large. One thing that people were particularly excited about from the first season was the reveal that Loki (as well as his variant and love interest Sylvie) was indeed bisexual, just like in the source material.

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With all this new Loki content coming our way, folks have been hoping for more of the character’s queer identity to be explored in this new batch of episodes. However, when Buzzfeed released its interview with Loki executive producer Kevin Wright and Episode 2 director Dan Deleeuw, the latter’s statement on the matter of potentially seeing more of Loki’s queerness in the new season seemed to shut those dreams down pretty quickly.

When asked directly, “[W]ill we get to see Loki’s queer identity explored this season?” Deleeuw responded: “Erm, it’s not as present, honestly. It’s kind of hard to focus on emotional feelings when the fate of the universe at stake, you know!”

This news is undoubtedly disappointing to many fans of the show, especially the queer viewers who see themselves in the character. Sadly, it’s not exactly surprising, though; Marvel Studios has provided very little LGBTQ+ representation in its output (though it must be said that Eternals had a wonderful gay couple who were even shown kissing onscreen that fans have largely slept on) and the vibe last season really seemed to be that the inclusion of Loki being confirmed as bisexual was mainly being pushed by Kate Herron, who directed all of Season 1 but decided to hand over the reigns to others for this new season. Herron is bisexual herself and referred to the acknowledgment of Loki’s bisexuality as her “goal” to include in the show.

It’s worth noting that none of the top creatives behind Loki Season 2 are known to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, which is particularly disappointing now that Loki has been confirmed to be bisexual. However, the even bigger issue here is the reason given by Deleeuw for the lack of reference to the matter this season. (Yes, he only said that it wasn’t as present, but given how little focus it got last season—only the one scene with him confirming his experience with both men and women to Sylvie on the train—it seems pretty likely that it’s not going to come up at all this time around.)

Deleeuw lays the blame for Loki Season 2’s lack of exploration of the main character’s queerness on the stakes being too high for any of the focus to be on “emotional feelings.” But anyone who’s ever watched a movie or TV show knows that high stakes never fully stop the feels from taking the forefront. In fact, it’s those feelings that make audiences care about the characters and the story being told. How many pieces of media have we seen in which two characters build a close friendship, repair a familial relationship, or fall in love, while at the same time trying to save the world?

Even Loki’s own first season combined high stakes with high emotion. When Loki and Sylvie were forced to make a choice between taking over timeline management duties from He Who Remains or killing him and setting the branches free, they were also figuring out their own relationship. There they were, just starting to learn how to trust and care for others, only to find themselves with opposite stances on this crucial issue. Their feelings for each other didn’t take away from the stakes, they enhanced them; the multiverse was a big deal, but the crux of the story, the thing that gave it heart and meaning, was the relationship between these two characters.

It’s clear that Loki and Sylvie are going to have to confront their “emotional feelings” for each other at some point this season as well, which makes Deleeuw’s answer even more dismissive. Of course there’s going to be time for a male character to focus on his romantic feelings for a woman, but as soon as the idea of him exploring his potential interest in anyone else is brought up, suddenly the show has no time for “emotional feelings.” Very convenient! (There’s also the fact that a decent amount of screentime is dedicated to characters’ feelings in the very episode Deleeuw directed, which isn’t a spoiler considering that every episode of narrative television ever made has focused on what the characters are experiencing emotionally at some point or another.)

Even if they really couldn’t find any way to work Loki’s sexuality into Season 2 (even another passing mention would have been something) this question could—and should—have been handled much better on Deleeuw’s part. Saying something like “We didn’t find a way to fit it into Loki Season 2, but it’s something we want to dedicate time to again in the future,” wouldn’t have been what LGBTQ+ fans of the character were looking for (surely they could have brought it up in passing at some point in these six new episodes) but it would have been affirmation that Marvel Studios is committed to queer representation beyond just one-off characters (come on, Marvel, bring back Phastos and the other Eternals!) and, in Loki’s case, brief mentions.

A character’s queer identity is more than just a box to check off, but Deleeuw’s comment sure doesn’t seem to indicate that the creatives at Marvel Studios recognize this.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Julia Delbel
Julia Delbel (she/her) is a contributing writer at The Mary Sue and has been doing freelance entertainment coverage for five years. She loves diving into film, television, and theater, especially Marvel, DC Disney, and animated content, particularly taking a hard look at their character development, storyline weaving, and place in the pop culture pantheon.