The role of Loki in The Avengers has long been the subject of speculation, with fans frequently wondering whether the god of mischief would appear at all -- possibly clearing the way for an alien menace -- or perhaps lurk in the shadows of Marvel's movie universe.
Last week, however, just as the Joss Whedon-directed film started production, the studio confirmed that Tom Hiddleston will reprise his Thor role. But what part will he play in the plot, which centers on the emergence of "an unexpected enemy" that pushes the world to "the brink of disaster"? A central one, apparently.
Asked by Vulture when he was told he'd be the "primary villain" in The Avengers, Hiddleston replied: "Well, I think it was a plan from the get-go, but it wasn't really dead-set until near the end of Thor. What was wonderful is that about four days after I wrapped on Thor, I went out for a cup of tea with Joss Whedon. We sat down at two o'clock in the afternoon, and we were still sitting there at six o'clock. He said, 'Listen, you've lived with this guy for six months. I want you to spill the beans and tell me all of his dark secrets. Who is this guy? Why is he who he is?' Ken had already shown him a rough cut of the film, and mercifully, everything I had done accorded with Joss's idea of the character, too. I'm really so flattered that Marvel and Joss think I can take them all on. In Avengers, it's going to be me versus seven of them, and I say 'Good luck to them,' frankly."
That's right, it's Loki versus Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Of course, that doesn't necessarily exclude the god of mischief getting some assistance -- maybe even in the form of the Skrulls or the Kree? No? -- in his "really big, evil plans that will take more than his thunderous brother to put a stop to."
The Avengers, which opens May 4, 2012, stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Clark Gregg and Samuel L. Jackson.