Who Was D.B. Cooper and Why Was He in LOKI?

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Truth is stranger than fiction, the tired old adage goes, and history is replete with WTF-inspiring crimes and events that feel too weird to be true. And yet, they are true. Or at least they’re true enough. One such fabled “true crime” that has kept people scratching their head for nearly 50 years is the legend of D.B. Cooper. On November 24, 1971, a well-dressed man wearing sunglasses hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 from Portland to Seattle. He claimed to have a bomb and demanded $200,000 cash and four parachutes. After landing and receiving the money, he forced the plane to go back up in the air where he jumped out somewhere over Southwestern Washington. He was never found.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki dressed in a snappy suit, slicked hair, and sunglasses aboard a 1971 airplane assaying the infamous hijacker D.B. Cooper.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki dressed in a snappy suit, slicked hair, and sunglasses aboard a 1971 airplane assaying the infamous hijacker D.B. Cooper.

Disney+/Marvel

It’s highly probable you’ve heard of this story; there was a very good HBO Max documentary about it last year, and it was the very first unsolved mystery on the second episode of Unsolved Mysteries back in the 1988. There’ve been myriad theories and pop culture memes suggesting people like Mad Men‘s Don Draper or Adam West have really been D.B. Cooper. Hell, the heroic FBI agent of Twin Peaks‘ name is Dale Bartholomew Cooper. It’s a fascinating and weird story, and one which the creators of Loki couldn’t pass up.

Minor spoilers for the first episode of Loki.

As we saw in some of the teaser material, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wore a suit, sported short hair and sunglasses, and jumped out of an airplane. In the series’ premiere episode, we learn, via a debrief with TVA agent Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) that Loki was indeed responsible for the D.B. Cooper scheme. We see him deliver a letter to the stewardess and utter the infamous line, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.” It then cuts to the end of the story where he winks at the stewardess, jumps out of the airplane with the money, and calls for Heimdall to open the Bifrost.

We learn quickly, of course, this was just the result of Loki losing a bet with Heimdall and his brother Thor. Surely some drunken revelry and laughing about the gullibility of Midgardians. Since there are no fewer than 14 “legitimate” suspects for who D.B. Cooper actually was, not to mention the half-billion other tips that the FBI have received in the ensuing years, I guess the god of mischief having fun is as good an answer as any.

Kyle Anderson is the Senior Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!

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