Over the past few months, there's been a pretty constant deluge of major players in The Avengers: Age of Ultron coming out and telling us that Loki won't be appearing in the movie. Crucially, both the movie's director Joss Whedon and Tom Hiddleston, who plays the Trickster God, revealed that he wouldn't be making an appearance. Hiddleston even said it outright:
And yet, suddenly, something huge just happened:
Tom Hiddleston's Loki WILL be appearing in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Plus, what's more, Idris Elba's Heimdall will be making his way to the epic, hero-filled adventure too, which is lucky really, as we have him to thank for this particular piece of news...
Speaking to the Telegraph, Elba revealed that not only will he be appearing in Age of Ultron, but he'll be "doing a scene with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston."
So, not only will Heimdall and Loki be featuring in the movie, but they'll be interacting with Thor, too.
Which is...awesome, obviously. It also, though, raises a pretty big question:
Just how are we going to see them?
Specifically, how are two characters who have no obvious place in Age of Ultron's plot going to make an appearance - and what does that mean for the rest of the movie?
Well, the biggest clue might just be hiding in that recently released clip from Age of Ultron - the one where Tony Stark and Cap almost get into an actual fight.
Yup. That one.
The important part of that? The fact that Thor has disappeared in the wake of a series of visions of the team's worst fears that The Scarlet Witch has forced upon the them.
Now, we've already seen glimpses of what are presumably The Black Widow...
and Iron Man's...
...visions - and MTV's recent set visit seems to have revealed that:
"For Banner, it’s that this pseudo-family that he’s part of is all an illusion, something that the Other Guy [The Hulk] will take away from him at any moment, leaving him all alone again."
What we haven't seen, though? Thor's - despite it obviously being of sufficient importance to cause him to abandon his friends.
Which suggests that...
Loki and Heimdall Might Appear in Thor's Vision
Specifically, The Scarlet Witch could easily give Thor a vision of his greatest fear: Loki ruling Asgard. Which [SPOILER alert if you haven't already seen Thor: The Dark World] has totally already happened.
Say Thor sees this, and realizes that it isn't a vision of the future, but of the present - what's he going to do?
Well, presumably, head off to Asgard to confront his duplicitous brother. Which we already know is possible, seeing as he ditches The Avengers after that same vision.
It's also possible, though, that...
We Could See Thor Confront Loki in Asgard
Which is by no means incompatible with the previous option - after all, if Thor flies off to confront Loki, there's no reason to think we wouldn't see it.
Is it even possible, then, that the events of Thor: Ragnarok will begin during Avengers: Age of Ultron - and that Thor's realization that Loki is impersonating their father will come before he even gets to his own solo movie?
Well, yes, especially if suggestions that Thor's upcoming third solo venture will be the key to Marvel's Phase 3 slate are true.
What, though, if that wasn't set to happen during the main narrative of the film - after all...
Loki and Heimdall Might Not Appear Until the Credits
It's certainly possible that one of three things could throw the above theories a curve ball of sorts:
1. The scene shown above may come right at the movie's end (though it seems unlikely, given that Thor will presumably be needed for the final confrontation with Ultron).
2. Thor may not make it all the way to Asgard after his vision, instead being waylaid by a villain, or some other sort of threat.
3. Thor's vision may not involve Loki or Asgard at all.
If any of those are true, then the most obvious place for a Loki and Heimdall appearance? The traditional post-credits scene.
For instance, one in which Thor finally arrives in Asgard, weakened from the fight with Ultron, only to discover that Loki has taken over - and, perhaps, teamed up with a key Ragnarok-intended villain. The Fire Demon Surtur, say?
No matter what, though - Loki's coming back, next year.
Which is a very good thing.
Now, the big question:
How do you guys think Loki will appear in Age of Ultron?