The MCU’s Most Important Character Isn’t Even in Most of the Movies

At this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is simply a force of unprecedented proportions.

The MCU spans different genres, tones, styles, and platforms. The links between films, television shows, and canonical source material are enough to keep diehard fans spinning their wheels for the rest of their lives, and plans for new additions just keep coming.

As fans reflect on what makes the MCU tick and how they can best come to understand the complex characters, there is one character that stands out. 

Even though he isn’t even in most of the movies, some fans are convinced that Loki is the single most important character in the entire MCU. Here’s why. 

Loki is played by Tom Hiddleston 

Pom Klementieff, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland
Pom Klementieff, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

It might be hard to remember now, but back in 2009, the MCU was not yet an established source of film lore. In fact, it was seen as an innovative — but risky — project that was definitely not guaranteed to succeed.

That’s why an actor like Tom Hiddleston considered his audition for one of the films just another day of work. “I just thought I was auditioning for a movie. You know, an interesting part in an interesting movie. Back then, the Marvel Universe was — they’d just made Iron Man. And I thought, ‘I’ll have a go.’ I didn’t expect to be cast at all,” Hiddleston explained.

Back then, Hiddleston had a few acting credits under his belt, but he was definitely not the household name he is today.  He had been in some TV movies and had a recurring role on the series Suburban Shootout, but nothing that could be considered a breakthrough role. When he auditioned to be in Thor, he didn’t have Loki in mind. He auditioned for the part of Thor, which he now calls “nuts.”

Reportedly, the casting crew knew immediately that he wasn’t right for the part of Thor, but they immediately saw him as the perfect Loki. Fans tend to agree. 

Loki is a complex character

View this post on Instagram

He's back!

A post shared by Tom Hiddleston (@twhiddleston) on

RELATED: MCU Fan Theory: Hulk Keeps Losing Fights Because Loki Cursed Him

Loki is perhaps best known for his shifting alliances. Fans never quite know where he stands or how to read his actions, which leaves them on the constant lookout for twists and betrayals.

While this might make Loki one of the MCU’s greatest villains, it also makes him one of the most interesting and complex characters in the entire franchise. 

More than anything, the relationship between Loki and Thor has fans riveted. Some fans have even worked out a kind of “secret” Loki trilogy embedded within the existing films. Watching the first Thor, the first Avengers movie, and then Thor 2 provides a fascinating character arc that explores Loki’s jealousy of his older brother Thor.

Fans are sympathetic to Loki even when they despise his actions, and that’s the heart of a great villain that digs deep. 

Is Loki the most important character? 

Some fans have gone so far as to say Loki is the most important character in the whole MCU. This isn’t just because of his complexity as a jealous younger brother but because of the actual impacts he has on the events in the connected series of films.

A Reddit thread on the topic makes a convincing argument to suggest Loki is the catalyst behind many of the MCU’s greatest plots. 

By looking at specific actions that Loki takes in Thor, The AvengersThor 2, and Infinity Wars, the commenter makes it clear that Loki’s impacts are far-reaching and very important to the entirety of the MCU. One respondent comments that all of this takes place in just a small sliver of Loki’s lifetime: “All of this in a small fraction of his lifespan.”

While Loki may not feature prominently in many of the films and is definitely not one of the main characters of the MCU as a whole, it’s clear that his impact is far-reaching — perhaps even enough to make him the most important character of all.