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‘Loki’: Classic Loki Brought Popular ‘Infinity War’ Fan Theory to Life in Episode 5

'Loki' Episode 5 featured an unforgettable performance from Richard E. Grant's Classic Loki. The character helped bring a popular fan theory about 'Avengers: Infinity War' to life. Read what Grant's character's 'glorious purpose' means for the show here.

Ever since Tom Hiddleston’s Loki died in Avengers: Infinity War, fans have theorized he actually survived. The popular “left hand stab” theory has been circulating on internet forums since 2018. And Loki Episode 5 brought it to life, just not in the way fans would expect.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Loki Episode 5.]

Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki in 'Loki' Episode 5. He wears a gold Loki helmet with long horns, a yellow cape and collar, and green suit.
Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki in ‘Loki’ Episode 5 | Marvel Studios

Classic Loki survived Thanos in an alternate ‘Infinity War’ timeline

It was through Classic Loki that the “left hand stab” theory came to life. In Infinity War, Loki tries to kill Thanos by stabbing him. Thanos snaps his neck in response, killing him for good. But fans noticed Loki went in for the kill with his left hand. The character faked his death in Thor: The Dark World by projecting an illusion of himself, and this illusion used his left land instead of his right when wielding a weapon. This led some to believe the version of Loki who tried to stab Thanos was actually an illusion and not the real thing. And they’ve been waiting since Infinity War to see if their theory held true. So far, it hasn’t. But the theory was put to use for Classic Loki.

While in their underground bunker on the Void, Loki talked about trying to stab Thanos, which led to funny banter about daggers looking cool. Classic Loki scoffed and said, “Blades are worthless in the face of Loki’s sorcery. They stunt our magical potential.” He then talked about his own run-in with Thanos, revealing he faked his death like fans thought Hiddleston’s character did.

“I cast a projection of myself so real, even the mad titan believed it, then hid as inanimate debris,” he said.

What happened after Loki faked his death?

Classic Loki then spent the following years in isolation undisrupted by the Time Variance Authority (TVA). He continued:

“After I faked my death, I simply drifted in space. Away from Thor, away from everything. I thought about the universe and my place in it. And it occurred to me that everywhere I went, only pain followed. So I removed myself from the equation, landed on a remote planet and stayed there in isolation, in solitude for a long, long time.”

It wasn’t until loneliness overcame him that the TVA pruned Classic Loki. The moment he decided to leave isolation so he could see Thor again (not us sobbing over this…) was the moment he became a threat to the Sacred Timeline.

Loki writer and producer Michael Waldron (who also wrote Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) told about this moment. “What if Loki did in fact survive the events of Avengers: Infinity War?” was the question he asked himself while creating the episode. And as he said:

“I thought, ‘Well, what if that did happen?’ And if it did, in fact, how could he have aged up? How could he have lived out his years in a way that the TVA would never come find him? It was that tragic thing where he finally realizes ‘I’m meant to be alone.’ It is just so sad. There’s a real lesson there for our Loki in that he’s going to reject that notion — that this tiger can change his stripes, and he refuses to be alone. [Loki] wants to do the right thing. [He] wants to see if he can have real companionship in his life.”

Tom Hiddleston in a shirt and tie in 'Loki' Episode 5 on Disney+. He stands looking concerned in an underground bunker built by other Lokis.
Tom Hiddleston in ‘Loki’ Episode 5 | Marvel Studios

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Did Classic Loki die in ‘Loki’ Episode 5?

Richard E. Grant’s Classic Loki was a highlight of episode 5. And he was intended to be the most similar to Hiddleston’s Loki in personality and life events. But his time in isolation self-reflecting made him more evolved and self-aware than the other variants.

And when he realized Sylvie and Loki needed help to enchant Alioth, he changed his stripes by choosing against survival. In an awesome display of the God of Mischief’s uninhibited sorcery, he projected a life-size replica Asgard to distract Alioth, sacrificing himself in the process. His final words were “glorious purpose.” Indeed, choosing to sacrifice yourself for the greater good is the most glorious of purposes a Loki has ever given themselves. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem Classic Loki could fake this death.

The Loki finale debuts Wednesday, July 14 on Disney+.