Tom Hiddleston to Keep Playing Loki on the Small Screen

Disney Play will feature big-budget, limited series MCU spinoffs, the first two of which will focus on Loki and Scarlet Witch.

Tom Hiddleston In Avengers Infinity War
Marvel Studios

Who knows which Marvel Cinematic Universe characters will be alive and which will be (still or newly) dead by the end of Avengers 4, but apparently a handful of them will live on in some way on the small screen. According to Variety with no official word from Disney or Marvel, “second-tier” heroes and villains from the MCU are getting their own series on the Mouse House’s streaming service, Disney Play.

The first to be revealed are reprisals of Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen as Loki and Scarlet Witch, respectively, each in their own six-to-eight episode limited series. Will they crossover? Will they be continuations or involve stories from the past? That’s unknown, and the forward-moving possibility would be a spoiler for fans anyway, even if they have seen Avengers: Infinity War. What is known is these shows will be big budget programs.

Will the series feature, at least in guest appearances, any other MCU characters? Probably, and a series with Scarlet Witch and Vision (Paul Bettany) could be preferred. Or maybe they’d go back earlier and bring back Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). And her original accent? Don’t count on Thor (Chris Hemsworth) showing up in the Loki show, however, as Variety reports no main title MCU heroes will be in these shows. Or maybe it’s just that those characters won’t be getting shows. Okay, maybe Thor could make a cameo.

Hopefully, that’s not a hint that Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) could also wind up on Disney Play without a theatrical release for her long-awaited solo spotlight. The streaming service is going to be a big deal, with a lot of hot new series and movies debuting there, including big-budget Star Wars animated and live-action shows (the latter priced at $100 million) and new entries in Disney’s run of live-action remakes of its animated features — we know of Lady and the Tramp, for one.

Elizabeth Olsen In Avengers Infinity War

And these MCU series aren’t just going to be afterthoughts, as far as the mega-franchise canon is concerned, the way Disney TV series like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Netflix Defenders shows have been. Kevin Feige is a major part of the development of the Loki and Scarlet Witch series, which will be produced within the richer and more prestigious Marvel Studios banner. Yet, Disney Play promises to be cheaper than Netflix, at least when it debuts in late 2019. Disney is reportedly okay with losing money at the start.

Hiddleston’s Loki series will surely be a big draw for fans of the MCU. The actor and the character as portrayed by him becoming such a staple of the franchise is basically the equivalent of a sitcom guest star who becomes a recurring player — not that I mean to liken him to Steve Urkel, but yes that’s sort of an equivalent situation. It’s a breakout role and character. And nobody else could have taken over as Loki for a TV spinoff. Everyone has been wondering if Hiddleston was done with Loki. Now we know he’s not.

The Scarlet Witch series is not as much of an exciting venture. As much as I think Olsen is a capable actress, her portrayal of Wanda Maximoff — even besides the accent issue and even with her big dramatic task in Infinity War — hasn’t been that memorable. Of all the Avengers, she’s the one whom fans haven’t been begging to get her own movie. Or her own series, had we known that was an option.

Which other second-tier MCU folk should get their own spinoff streaming shows? Falcon, perhaps? How about Shuri? Her series could just be an educational science program, like Mr. Wizard’s World. But where she also has to kick someone’s ass in the end, too. Jeremy Renner better say yes to a Hawkeye show, because he’s never getting that movie he keeps saying that he might get one day.

There really aren’t a lot of characters who’d make sense to get their own series, if you think about it. So, obviously, that means Disney should just resurrect Agent Carter. I’d subscribe for that alone. Two big Marvel shows to start with will be plenty, though. And they’re just over a year away. In the meantime, you can go watch I Saw the Light for Hiddleston and Olsen on screen together.

Christopher began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called 'Read,' back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials.