Tom Hiddleston Shares His Thoughts on Loki’s Bisexuality
In a recent interview, actor Tom Hiddleston shared some new thoughts about Loki’s character, specifically his bisexuality. In the Disney Plus series Loki, which streamed last summer, Sylvie asks Loki if there have ever been any potential princesses in his life. Then, raising her eyebrows, she asks if maybe there’s ever been another prince. Loki pauses and then answers, “a little of both. I suspect the same as you.”
It’s a quick moment, but it was a milestone for the MCU, since it was the first time a main Marvel character ever acknowledged a queer identity onscreen in a Marvel Studios/Disney production. Loki’s sexuality didn’t come as a huge surprise for fans of Loki in Marvel comics, in which he’s queer and gender fluid, frequently switching from male to female and making romantic overtures towards male characters. Nevertheless, having Loki come out as bisexual onscreen was an emotionally charged moment for bisexual viewers and other members of the queer community. Many viewers were excited to finally see themselves mirrored in one of Marvel’s most beloved characters. Many others, however, felt that the moment didn’t go nearly far enough, and Disney didn’t deserve the credit it was getting for its queer representation.
Now, talking with the Guardian, Hiddleston has expressed the hopes he has for Loki’s identity.
We all wanted to retain the integrity of the character – I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose the bits that people loved, while doing something new. I also hope Loki coming out as bisexual was meaningful to people who spotted it. It was a small step, and there’s further to go. But it was definitely important to all of us.
As a bisexual Loki fan, I can say that I saw Loki and Sylvie’s moment on the train as both flawed and meaningful. Part of the problem with the scene is that the line just feels kind of contrived. Compare it to Phastos’s queerness in Eternals: Phastos is simply shown living with a loving husband and their child, with no need for sly eyebrow raises. That portrayal works because it’s the same treatment the movie would give a straight couple. It feels inclusive because it’s portrayed as normal.
However, even though the scene in Loki isn’t perfect, I can’t deny the surge of love I felt for his character when I realized what was happening. Afterwards, as I scrolled through the celebrations happening on social media, I saw how deeply meaningful the moment was for a lot of other people, too.
But queer representation is so fraught, and queer viewers wounded by so many cruel portrayals over the years, that when a film or TV series messes up even a little, it ends up supporting everyone’s preconceived notions about queerness onscreen. Do you think queer rep in Hollywood is generally pathetic? If so, Loki proves you right by having Loki fall in love with a woman despite being bisexual! (That’s sarcasm there, but I really did see people on Twitter calling his relationship with Sylvie bi-erasure.) Conversely, do you believe Hollywood goes out of its way to pander to the woke mob? Well, Loki proves that, too, by including a pointless reference to Loki’s bisexuality when the show isn’t even a queer love story! “Queer as Folk” creator Russell Davies called the moment “feeble” and “craven,” and Disney was recently discovered donating to some of the senators behind Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Meanwhile, films like Doctor Strange 2 are banned in some countries because of mere seconds of queer-friendly footage.
Sylvie may have just been curious about Loki’s past relationships, but there’s a lot of pain wrapped up in such a quick moment. Hiddleston seems to acknowledge this in the Guardian interview. Small steps are important, and it’s also okay to be loud about the fact that we’re long past due for some very big steps.
Hopefully, filmmakers and TV showrunners will continue to normalize queerness in the MCU and beyond, so that we can see Loki’s sexuality and gender identity express themselves in a more organic way as his story keeps unfolding. Director Kate Herron also expressed this hope in a 2021 interview with Collider:
“But I would say that part of my thinking was, well, if [Loki’s bisexuality is] canon and it’s acknowledged, then yeah I hope there’s obviously more road to travel with that aspect of his personality. And I hope it has.”
Herron isn’t at the helm of Loki’s story anymore, but hopefully Marvel will honor her vision and do justice to Loki’s character.
(image: Marvel Studios)
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