The third episode of Loki made its debut on Disney+ this week, and — like its previous episodes — it undeniably gave Marvel Cinematic Universe fans a lot to dissect. The series follows Tom Hiddleston's Loki plucked out of time after stealing the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, and has provided the biggest onscreen narrative arc yet for the God of Mischief. The series' arrival has been particularly sweet for longtime fans of Loki, many of whom have been showcasing their love for the character since he first showed up onscreen in 2011's Thor.
To an extent, Loki has almost become synonymous with the microblogging website Tumblr — and as his solo series debuts, that fact has only become more apparent. Loki has reigned as the number-one topic on Tumblr since the series' premiere, with specific characters, cast members, and even ship names from the show performing incredibly well as well. ComicBook.com got a chance to chat with Tumblr Trends Expert Cates Holderness about how the site has responded to Loki's first two episodes, and why the God of Mischief continues to endure on Tumblr.
ComicBook.com: I'm so excited to talk to you about Loki. It feels like a thing where Tumblr and Loki have always gone hand in hand. What have you noticed, before the show even came out, of how the Loki fandom has evolved and grown on Tumblr? Because it feels like something that's been there for almost a decade.
Cates Holderness: Loki has been popular on Tumblr ever since he first appeared in the movies. There is an immediate love. Tumblr loves a good villain. People on Tumblr love a good villain, especially one with questionable morals who has a heart of gold. And so we saw a lot of Tumblr users just immediately adopt Loki as their fave. Of course, Tom Hiddleston, always been super popular on Tumblr as well. So there was a lot of overlap there.
It's been interesting. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe has rolled out, and with the most recent movie, we really have seen a steady passion for this character throughout the years. We see with fanfic. We see it with GIF edits. We see it with meta-commentary. People on Tumblr just really love Loki.prevnext
What Loki trends were you guys noticing, even before the series premiered?
Anytime that there was a casting announcement, we would see a spike. Anytime that there was a trailer or a poster reveal — basically when they revealed the first credits, Tumblr exploded. People on Tumblr got really excited about that. So we've seen just a general ramping up of anticipation and hype. And this month, the numbers are just wild. It's been so fascinating to see.prevnext
As the series has premiered this month, what trends have you been noticing? What have people really been engaging with, and how?
Loki has been the number one topic in our Week in Review for the last two weeks.
And Loki Laufeyson, the character name, and Tom Hiddleston have both appeared on the last two Week in Reviews. Hiddleston was our number one celeb for the last two weeks, and Owen Wilson has now put in an appearance on the celebs list, which is really, really fun. And we've seen just a bananas increase in engagements around all of the tags.
Looking at June so far, compared to all of May, we've seen a 462% increase in engagements around Loki, and a 585% increase in engagements around Loki Laufeyson. Mobius has had a 7,431% increase in engagements, which is just wild. And then we've seen a huge increase around Tom Hiddleston. Even though he's always popular, we've seen a 200% increase in interest around him.
With Owen Wilson, it's over 2,000 — 2,400% increase. And just in the last week with Lady Loki, compared to all of May, we've seen a 2,851% increase in engagements around the Lady Loki tab. That's been fascinating, because then you get all the discourse about, "Well, is it really Lady Loki? Is that really Loki? Is that Sylvie the Enchantress?" A lot of discussion about that. So, that's been really fun.prevnext
I was going to ask about Lady Loki, because obviously, that is such a big reveal. I know Lady Loki is a character that parts of Tumblr have always had a fondness for. What has it been like having the character be embraced on this massive scale?
It's been really interesting. Just a couple of weeks ago — two or three weeks ago — Marvel released a teaser on Instagram, where somebody was able to screenshot that Loki's gender was listed as gender-fluid. And we saw this huge, huge surge in discussion around that, and excitement. Like, "Oh, Loki is gender-fluid in the comics. We can't wait to get a real gender-fluid Loki and have that representation on television." And so I think we've seen a lot of discussion of people really hoping that it is actually Lady Loki, so that we can have that confirmation.
We've also seen a lot of discussion of like, "Oh, is it a bait and switch kind of thing?" So I'll be very curious — and I think Tumblr will be very, very curious — to see how the rest of the season pans out.prevnext
You mentioned the numbers around Loki and Mobius, and I was curious what kind of trends you've noticed with the two of them. It feels like, just based off of what I've seen on social media, people are definitely shipping those two characters, and also appreciating them both individually. So I was curious how that is going on Tumblr.
Yeah, 100%. When we look at the metrics and datasets that we use every Monday — engagements the week after the first episode aired, compared to the week before the first episode aired, Mobius has had a 1,682% increase in engagement. Some people have really latched onto his character.
And now we have a ship. "Lokius" premiered as the number one ship on Tumblr this week. And it's been wild to see. It seems like it took a little while for people on Tumblr to decide on a ship name. We saw a lot of Lokius, but then we also saw a lot of Wowki, which has been really fun. But it seems to have settled into the Lokius tag. People are loving it.
With that tag specifically, there was a 641% increase in engagements in this week, compared to last week. So with episode two, people loved — whether it's a bromance or a ship-ship — people are really, really into seeing how these two characters interact. How they one-up each other, and their banter. It's been really fun to see.prevnext
Are there any other characters or elements of Loki that you've noticed have caught on on Tumblr? It feels like Miss Minutes and some of the other supporting characters, there's definitely potential for Tumblr to latch onto that as well.
Yeah, 100%. [Hunter B-15], when Loki checked on her at the end of the second episode, a lot of people were like, "Oh my gosh, our Loki really has changed. He does care." People really like that character as well. They like that she just doesn't take any crap from Loki and puts up with Mobius, which has been fun to see.
We've seen some really great Miss Minutes fanart. A lot of people latched on to maybe seeing Peggy Carter briefly in the background. People got really excited about that. Lots of Peggy Carter fans still on Tumblr.
Oh, I believe it. Absolutely. I'm sure once What If...? comes out, they're only going to grow even more.
I can't wait for What If...?. People are now waiting for What If...?.prevnext
What have you noticed in terms of fanart and fanfic? Those have definitely been ways that the Loki fandom expresses themselves, and now that they have this wealth of content to latch on to, what has that turned into?
The fanart has been great. There are so many kinds of artists on Tumblr. It's such a huge and vibrant community. We've seen everything from gorgeous, hyper-realistic rendered, just beautiful oil paintings. And then we've also seen one-off webcomics, basically. And that's been really fun. People are taking this content and really putting themselves into it, and writing fanfic through doing fan comics. And that's been really, really fun.
And then, of course, we get just what the equivalent of a sh-tpost in art form. So you get "Loki if Loki was a hippopotamus" or something. You get all of these random, just fun things that artists are doing.prevnext
I think a lot of people probably identify with him. He's the black sheep of the family, he's always compared to his older brother. People — especially young people on Tumblr — I think they like seeing a character that shows some vulnerability, that is flawed. And Loki is flawed. He's deeply flawed.
I think people on Tumblr love seeing superheroes, they love seeing villains. And Loki straddles that line of hero or villain. He's just a very morally gray person in a lot of ways. And I think people on Tumblr like that nuance. They like having a complicated character.prevnext
What have you noticed in terms of speculation and theories for the rest of the season?
[There's] a lot of discussion about how this series might truly open up the multiverse. We've seen a ton of discussion about what are the implications of this show that are going to be more serious across the next phase of Marvel — whether it be in the cinema or on television, on Disney+? There's been a lot of discussion of, how is this going to impact, and how is this going to tie into [Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness], how it ties into [Spider-Man: No Way Home]? I think a lot of people are excited to see where this season goes because of its larger implications within the MCU.
New episodes of Loki debut Wednesdays on Disney+.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.prev