Marvel’s Loki series on Disney+ features Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief causing all manner of mayhem across the MCU timeline, but when does Loki take place in the MCU timeline? The short answer is Loki takes place just after the Battle of New York (as seen in Avengers and later Avengers: Endgame), but to better explain Loki’s somewhat confusing timeline we’re going back to the beginning and recapping his whole story so far.
By the time you’re done with this Loki timeline, you’ll be fully prepared for Loki’s big solo Disney+ debut on June 9, 2021.
Loki Timeline: Thor
A long time ago in a realm far, far away Loki was born as a tiny blue baby and left to die by his father Laufey, ruler of the Frost Giants in Jotunheim. But after dear ol’ dad was defeated in battle, Odin rescued the little Smurf and raised him as a prince of Asgard alongside his son, Thor. There’s no way that’ll ever blow up in his face, right?
Wrong! Growing up in the shadow of his big brother, Loki resented him for his burly muscles, beautiful blonde locks, and for being the heir to the throne of the Realm Eternal. He spent his days scheming to remove Thor so that he, Loki, God of Mischief, could take the throne instead. On the day of Thor’s coronation, Loki provoked his hot-headed older brother into launching a counter-attack on the Frost Giants in direct defiance of the All-Father.
While the other Asgardians battled, Loki was shocked to learn he was actually a Frost Giant. Loki’s plan worked and Odin banished Thor, leaving Loki to confront Odin about his true nature. And when Odin fell into the Odin Sleep, mother Frigga had no choice but to grant the throne to her son Loki and name him ruler of Asgard. Ahh, don’t you love it when a plan comes together?
But it wasn’t meant to last. Soon enough, Loki lost in battle to a once-again-worthy Thor, faced the disappointment of his father, and rather than admit he was wrong, let himself fall into a bottomless abyss.
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Loki Timeline: The Avengers
Loki may have lost his family, but he made some new friends in Thanos and his Chitauri army. Using the powerful scepter gifted to him by Thanos, Loki laid siege to Earth and stole the Tesseract.
You see, Loki was so over ruling Asgard–he didn’t get the power and respect he wanted there, so he thought he might get it by making himself king of Earth instead. As part of his master plan, Loki let himself get captured by the Avengers in order to break them apart from the inside with a little help from the Jolly Green Giant. And it almost worked.
With Earth’s mightiest heroes scattered, Loki was free to open up a portal above New York City and launch a full-scale invasion on Earth. Unfortunately for him, the Avengers assembled to kick his butt and save the world. (Remember this moment later because it’s of key importance for the new Loki show!)
Loki Timeline: The Dark World
Now a prisoner in the dungeons of Asgard, Loki had some time to reflect on his life of mischief. We learned he actually does have a soft side, but only in regards to his sorcerer mother Frigga who taught him his many magical tricks. It sure would be a shame if something were to happen to her… So of course she dies, thanks to Malekith and his Dark Elf army during the Sacking of Asgard.
This tragedy inspired Loki to team up with Thor to take revenge on Malekith and to stop him from using the Aether to cover the universe in darkness. But Loki gonna Loki–he faked his own death, and while Thor went on to save the Nine Realms, Loki snuck back into Asgard and disguised himself as Odin to at long last take the throne of Asgard. Aah, don’t you love it when a plan comes together… again!
Loki Timeline: Thor: Ragnarok
Hats off to Loki for finally pulling off his scheme and getting what he wanted. Well, for a few years, at least. Loki ruled over Asgard in a life of luxury, casually eating snacks and rewriting Asgardian history with a little help from Matt Damon. Then Thor had to go and show up and reveal him as a fraud.
To make matters worse, then they had to go talk to Doctor Strange, who bullied poor Loki, all so they could find Odin just before he passed away and released Hela from her prison. Thor blamed all of this on Loki, and we kind of agree with him, but how did Loki know his long lost sister was going to show up, swat him and his brother away like flies, and take over their home?
Now stranded on Sakaar, Loki did what he does best and wormed his way into the favor of the Grandmaster while Thor fought Loki’s least favorite person in the universe, the incredible Hulk.
Despite everything that happened between them, Thor and Loki shared a moment of brotherly bonding, with Thor finally seeing his brother for who he truly is, and Loki finally getting a taste of his own back-stabbing medicine.
Eventually the Revengers took the fight to Hela, and Loki chose to fight alongside his brother to save their people. Yet even as he seemingly turned to the Light Side, Loki couldn’t stop himself from stealing the Tesseract. Loki summoned Surtur to defeat Hela and hopped a ride with the survivors as his adopted home exploded in the distance.
And then, to Thor’s surprise, Loki chose to stay among his people and turn over a new leaf. It was a beautiful moment of growth for the God of Mischief. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before his past caught up with him in a big, purple way.
Loki Timeline: Avengers: Infinity War
That’s right, Thanos and his Black Order tracked Loki down because he was in possession of the Cosmic Cube housing one of the Infinity Stones. Suddenly things got real, real bad for Loki. The Mad Titan disabled the Asgardian ship, slaughtered half of the people on board, and took the stone from Loki. With his brother’s life on the line, Loki played the greatest trick of all: being selfless for once. He tried to take out the Mad Titan and paid for that heroic act with his life.
And yes, Thanos did say no resurrections, but he didn’t say anything about spin-off TV shows!
Loki Timeline: Avengers: Endgame
As part of the Avengers’ plan to beat Thanos and restore half the universe back to life, they used time travel to revisit the Battle of New York–back when Loki was still alive and well. And when the time heist went awry, this past version of Loki seized the opportunity to escape with the Space Stone!
So while the present day Loki died at the hands of Thanos, this past version has avoided that fate and is charting a new course through time and space. And remember, this Loki is fresh off getting his butt kicked by the Avengers, meaning he never experienced the character growth seen in The Dark World and Ragnarok, so he’s probably feeling angry, spiteful, and more power-hungry than ever. In other words, it’s the Loki we all know and love!
When Does Loki Take Place?
Where the God of Mischief made off to with the Tesseract remains a mystery, but we’re about to learn all about it in the new Disney+ series, Loki. The show takes place just after the events of the Battle of New York, which means it will start years in the MCU’s past. The Battle of New York happened on May 4, 2012 in the MCU timeline, so expect the Loki show to start on that date in MCU history.
What we know about the story so far is that Loki’s escape seems to have created fractures in the timeline, the sort the Ancient One warned Bruce Banner about in Avengers: Endgame. Removing an Infinity Stone (in this case, the Space Stone housed inside the Tesseract) from its proper place in time will eventually destabilize the entire universe, so now the Time Variance Authority, AKA the TVA, have captured Loki and are insisting he help fix what he broke. Something tells us Loki will probably go along with it up until the point they find themselves cursing him for his sudden yet inevitable betrayal. And being fans of Loki, we wouldn’t have it any other way.