Tom Hiddleston as the God of Mischief in the Loki TV show

Loki Review Quaintly Predicts “Perverse Fanfiction” From Show Twist

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Last week, a paragraph from BBC Culture’s review of the new Marvel Studios/Disney+ series Loki caught the eye of fans on social media. As he attempted to address the second episode without spoiling anything vital, critic Stephen Kelly wrote:

There is not a huge amount that can be written about episode two, for obvious reasons. Suffice to say that it takes the larger overarching mystery established at the end of episode one – which, in itself, is intriguing – and develops it in ways that suggests larger ramifications for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The ending of episode two is fairly shocking, and will likely result in some of the most perverse fan fiction the internet has ever seen. 

This, of course, prompted a buzz of speculation as to what could possibly occur to provoke the creation of such “perverse” fic thereafter. Nay, the most perverse the internet has ever seen. Well, as someone who has seen the episode in question and knows a fair amount about fanfiction, I can say with all due respect to Mr. Kelly that his prediction is wildly off the mark.

The situation Mr. Kelly is imagining as “perverse” and a potentially shocking new development to the sprawling world of fanfiction is a common enough trope. It’s not even particularly controversial, as far as these things go, and fandom manages to find antis for every conceivable ship and situation. In terms of the character of Loki, there’s already a fair amount of fic already in existence with a similar subject matter, which one might discover by conducting the briefest of search engine queries.

So not only would “perverse” fic about this sort of thing fail to be new in the fanworks universe, it’s not even new to Loki, a godlike character with magical powers that over the years has been placed into every conceivable scenario. Not that you’d even need that canonical background, because in fanfiction and fanart, unlike in life and much canon, the sky is the limit.

I don’t think Mr. Kelly meant anything against fanworks or fandom when he made this breezy assertion, but it’s a rather reductionist idea of fanfiction. It’s also quaint that he imagines there could be anything new or surprising, to fandom or the Internet at large. The rules of the Internet since the early 2000s have made one thing clear via Rule #34: “There is pornography concerning every conceivable topic.” Or, as the comic from which the “rule” originated put it, “There is porn of it. No exceptions.” The MCU Loki has been popular online since 2011. You do the math.

If BBC Culture wanted to test their hypothesis before making it and sending fans into a tizzy of speculation, a single Google search would have sufficed. And because I don’t want to spoil the second episode, that is all I have to say on the matter.

(image: Marvel Studios/Disney+)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.