There are some 'strange' things afoot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Spider-Man director Sam Raimi picks up where Scott Derrickson left off to deliver Doctor Stephen Strange’s second solo outing. Following the cataclysmic events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Benedict Cumberbatch’s wily wizard is facing the consequences of tearing open the fabric of the Multiverse and finally unleashing it into the MCU.
Alongside Cumberbatch, it’s a who’s who of familiar faces with Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, and Elizabeth Olsen all reprising their Marvel roles.
Read more: Everything we know about Doctor Strange 2
If this wasn’t enough, we’ve got Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez and the seemingly mind-blowing return of Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier from Fox’s X-Men movies.
Couple this with rumoured cameos for everyone from Fantastic Four's Mr. Fantastic to Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter, it makes Multiverse of Madness quite the ensemble.
Still, is there room for a certain God of Mischief as internet whispers claim?
Is Loki in Multiverse of Madness?
Since his debut in 2011’s Thor, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki has become a mainstay of the MCU. The character’s death in Avengers: Infinity War seemed to count him out of the franchise’s future, and while Loki’s demise was one that stuck, Endgame’s time heist plot took the Avengers to an alternate 2012, where a Loki variant escaped with the Tesseract.
This was still the villainous version of the character, who quickly settled into his new life and the adventures of Disney+’s Loki series.
As soon as the Loki finale aired, there was confirmation season 2 was on the way. Buried in a report from The Hollywood Reporter, there were claims Hiddleston would be back for Multiverse of Madness. Given the site’s track record, most assumed it to be legitimate, however, Hiddleston and those at the top have refused to confirm it as fact.
Read more: How Loki set up a second season
At the time of writing, Hiddleston’s only commitment to the MCU is the fact he’s due to start filming Loki season 2 this summer. Much like he’s not officially on the books for Thor: Love and Thunder, the jury is still out on whether this tormented trickster will be stopping by for a wild ride through the Multiverse.
That being said, there's a real-life connection to Loki, with Michael Waldron writing both Loki and Multiverse of Madness. Much like there are rumours Tobey Maguire will reunite with Sam Raimi for a Peter Parker cameo, the opportunity for Waldron to sneak Loki into the action seems too good to pass up on.
If that wasn't enough, producer Richie Palmer explained to D23 Magazine (via The Direct), how Loki directly influenced Multiverse of Madness.
For those who still aren't convinced, eagle-eyed fans think they spotted a tease of Loki in one Multiverse of Madness trailer. This brief moment included Wanda Maximoff wielding her chaos magic and walking away from something that looked suspiciously like one of Loki’s timedoors.
How could Loki fit into Multiverse of Madness?
The Loki finale featured Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie (herself a Loki variant) killing Jonathan Majors’ “He Who Remains” — cueing the arrival of Ant-Man 3 villain Kang the Conqueror. The final shot found Loki in a new timeline where Kang had taken control of the Time Variance Authority.
Although Loki season 2 will presumably pick up with Loki searching for Sylvie across these shattered timelines, he could easily join forces with Strange or simply stop by for a post-credit scene to set up his own future.
Just like Strange himself warned, “The Multiverse is a concept we know frighteningly little about.”
Despite his short time with timelines and variants, it makes Loki something of an expert on the Multiverse. We’ve seen Strange call on Wanda for help navigating this new realm, so it’s just as likely Loki could be recruited.
If nothing else, remember the TVA has a drawer full of Infinity Stones that could come in handy replacing the Time Stone Strange lost. There’s also a chance Hiddleston is playing another of those fan-favourite Loki variants like when he pulled double duty as “our” Loki and the nefarious President Loki.
If Hiddleston is in Multiverse of Madness, it’s just as likely we could see Owen Wilson’s Mobius or even Di Martino’s Sylvie. Hiddleston’s name has repeatedly come up in “leaked” cast lists, and while we’d once have laughed the idea of Patrick Stewart off as a 4chan fake, it turned out to be true.
Then again, the same leaks have also claimed everyone from Hugh Jackman to Wesley Snipes will be appearing. In a movie that has already revealed so much, it seems strange that the trailers would reveal a potential bombshell like Charles Xavier but not include Loki as part of Team Strange.
It turns out those Multiverse of Madness rumours are even trickier than Loki himself.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releases in UK cinemas and IMAX on 6 May, 2022.