Fan Theory Claims Loki Is the True Villain of 'Avengers: Infinity War'

Fans are still reeling from the release of Avengers: Infinity War, and the unpredictable ways that it has impacted the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But according to some, Thanos' (Josh Brolin) whole direction could have been influenced by someone else.

Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War below! Read on at your own risk!

As BuzzFeed's Ryan Broderick suggests, a lot of the safety of the MCU's cosmos -- particularly in Phase 1 and Phase 2 -- is dependent on events that are tied to Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Just in the first Thor film alone, Loki's actions get Thor (Chris Hemsworth) banished to Earth, cause some drama with the Frost Giants, and destroy the Bifrost Bridge.

The film ends with Loki being hurtled into space, bringing him right to his pact with Thanos at the beginning of Avengers. Loki is tasked with bringing Thanos the Tesseract, and is given the Mind Stone to help him do so. Over the course of Avengers, Loki doesn't succeed, resulting in Thor bringing it and Loki back to Asgard -- and leaving the Mind Stone on Earth.

In Thor: The Dark World, Loki banishes Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to Earth and impersonates him, something that he ends up doing for four years. Shortly after Loki takes Odin's place, Thor spends all of Avengers: Age of Ultron basically trying to fix problems caused by the Mind Stone -- the Maximoffs' powers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) being tricked into creating Ultron because of them, the origin of Vision (Paul Bettany), and the like.

In the meantime, Loki's rule as Odin causes even more problems -- especially with the presumed creation of the Infinity Gauntlet. As Infinity War shows, Thanos convinced Eitri (Peter Dinklage) to create the device in a deadly visit to Nidavellir. Under Odin's rule, Thanos' trip to Nidavellir would have been spotted by Heimdall (Idris Elba), except that Loki-as-Odin replaced Heimdall with Skurge (Karl Urban) way beforehand.

So essentially, Loki's rule over Asgard allowed the cosmos, and particularly Thanos, to go unchecked for a long period of time. In the process, Thanos was able to get all of the means necessary to easily acquire most of the Infinity Stones, and Loki's various holds on Asgard and Earth put them in Thanos' crosshairs in the process.

In a weird way, this impact that Loki's trouble has caused on the larger MCU was already telegraphed within Ragnarok, with the presumption that the ripple effects would bleed into Infinity War.

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"The whole cosmic world of the MCU was like," Ragnarok EP Brad Winderbaum explained during a visit to the film's set. "'Okay. You had Thanos, and you had Chitauri, and you have all kind of threats from above coming. But you also have Asgard, you also have these protective forces out there too.' We make it much harder for those protections to come help our heroes."

Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now.