Loki glares at the screen in What If...? season 2.

Marvel’s ‘What If…?’: Loki’s Soliloquy in Episode 8 Is Even Cooler Than You Think

Loki fans might have been worrying that our favorite chaos god wouldn’t get a speaking role in Marvel’s What If…? season 2, but episode 8 assuaged our fears! Not only that, but the episode, “What If… The Avengers Assembled in 1602?” gave Tom Hiddleston a chance to do one of the things he does best: Shakespeare.

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Spoilers for What If…? season 2, episode 8 ahead!

To recap: Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) is summoned to 1602, where mysterious rifts are tearing the universe apart. There are tons of great characters in this episode—The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)! Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)! And Hela (Cate Blanchett) as the queen??—but my favorite part is Prince Loki, who’s living his best life at court.

The episode opens with Hiddleston performing act III, scene I from Hamlet, or the famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy. We soon see that Loki is playing Hamlet at the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed. When he’s not acting, Loki is a cheerful, foppish prince who likes to drink expensive wine and hit on noblewomen. Captain Carter calls him a drama queen, and he seems flattered. But Loki still has a dark side! In a joke that is so on the nose that it ends up being hilarious, Loki is absolutely obsessed with Iago, one of Shakespeare’s most duplicitous villains.

Like the Party Thor episode in season 1, this episode reveals a poignant truth about Loki. If he wasn’t driven to villainy by living in Thor’s shadow and finding out that he’s a literal monster, he would have turned out to be a really fun guy! This Loki, like Frost Giant Loki, just wants to party, flirt, and express himself through acting.

Tom Hiddleston Knows His Shakespeare

That Hamlet soliloquy isn’t just great because we all love Loki, though. Tom Hiddleston is no stranger to Shakespeare. He’s a classically trained, veteran Shakespearean actor, having played characters like Coriolanus, Henry V in The Hollow Crown, and Hamlet himself in a critically acclaimed 2017 production directed by Kenneth Branagh. If you’re sticking the Avengers in 1602, it’d be a crime not to give Hiddleston a soliloquy or two.

To date, Loki has now recited Shakespeare in What if…? and T.S. Eliot in the series finale of Loki. What great works will he give us next? Time will tell.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>