*Major Loki spoilers below, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Of all the villains and anti-heroes that Marvel has introduced over the past decade, none have made an impact or had a character arc like the Asgardian God of Mischief, Loki.
Sadly, the character, played brilliantly by Tom Hiddleston, is dead in the current Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) timeline. But when it came time for Marvel to announce its new phase of movies and TV shows, they didn’t pass up the chance to revive a time-hopping version of the character, and thus Loki got his own TV series. To make matters more interesting, for the first time ever, Loki got a love interest, too, in the form of Sylvie – a version of himself as a woman in an alternate timeline.
The multiverse theory states that there are different versions of our reality in parallel planes of existence, and in the MCU’s new phase of TV shows and movies, these timelines and universes seem to be colliding.
The six-episode series focuses on Thor’s egotistical adopted brother as he traverses time and space to spend time with his alternate reality self, Sylvie (referred to as a “Loki Variant” in the show, which isn’t really comforting in COVID times). The two get up to hijinks and before we know it, start developing feelings for each other. This phenomenon has been dubbed as “selfcest,” and has inadvertently sent shockwaves throughout the Marvel nerdboi community.
While we meet Sylvie only at the end of the second episode, Loki is quickly enchanted by her and, by the end, is sharing his biggest fears and insecurities. They even end up canoodling in a warm blanket. But any plans for further action are ruined by the very fabric of time being set into chaos mode.
Selfcest is an early 2000s concept popular among fanfiction writers and niche Tumblr accounts who wanted their favourite fictional characters to have sex with another version of themselves – be it a clone or a time-travelling counterpart. It’s a lot like when we had two of the same figurines as kids so we just banged them together. But the term has only gotten famous more recently.
“One reason people fall in love with each other is the sense of familiarity they feel with the person,” clinical psychologist and Marvel fan Priyanka Varma told VICE. “In Loki, I remember this scene where they are talking about their mother, and that kind of union or bond runs deeper than liking the same type of food or having the same hobbies.”
But is it a narcissistic trait to fall in love with yourself? According to Varma, it’s not. “Although narcissists do love themselves and just themselves, here, Loki goes through a process which helps him realise maybe he’s not the villain that he thought he was meant to be,” she said. “The idea of his ‘glorious purpose’ is shattered in the first episode and we see how insignificant everyone else is in the grand scheme of time flow. If anything, the Avengers tell us gods have emotions, too, and the most powerful one is feeling understood and being accepted.”
But how would you feel about getting hot with… yourself? Or like a version of yourself? We asked Marvel fans the question that has been dividing their fandom.
Bhuvi, 31, Corporate Trainer and Motorcyclist
If my alternate self is as weird, kookie, tough and badass as me, then I’m absolutely up for boinking myself. Plus I’m an adventure junkie so two of me means two bikes to go on amazing long rides together.
Arijit, 18, Student
It’s actually a win-win situation. There are two possible cases: Either my alternate version knows everything about me, or nothing about me. If he knows it all, then he’s perfect because he will know how to best care for me, understand my outbursts and where they are coming from, and love me the way I like. If he hasn’t got a clue about me, then it’ll be the same as dating any other guy. Being a different version of me would play no specific role except for having more common grounds to relate to.
Ragini, 30, Copywriter
I would most definitely do myself. I personally think that my parallel dimension self could be literally anybody, and the show creators were subtly hinting that you have the freedom and power to love anyone you want.
Maks, 18, Student
Imagine being that lonely that the only one who wants to screw you, is you.
Kevin, 32, Supervisor
Well first, I am straight. So she’ll have to be a woman. And second, if she’s as hot as Sylvie, why not? And what makes her hot is not how she looks but how she is portrayed. For the longest time in films, including Marvel films, women have been portrayed as sex dolls. But Sylvie is a woman true to her personality and that would make anyone hot, I’d say. Also, per Norse mythology, Loki once transformed into a mare and fucked a stallion, thereby giving birth to an eight-legged foal. Loki has truly done it all.
Abhi, 23, Filmmaker
Whenever a Disney character is revealed to be even slightly queer in the corner 1/10th of a scene frame, everyone loses their shit. But I was hoping this time it would be different. The character of Loki is ripe for these devious gender-bending sexual adventures, but in the end, they had to show Loki hooking up with a woman. Because, oh no, Odin forbid he make out with another man in a Marvel franchise. What will the hetero nerds masturbate to?! I’d much rather he kissed the Alligator Loki by the end. To add to that, just because your Variant is a different gender, it doesn’t mean you are fluid. Then, that way, all of us in this make-believe world are queer. You can’t try to be inclusive and exclusive at the same time. What the fuck?
Jatinder, 28, Software Engineer
It is difficult to even comprehend whether Loki liked Sylvie because she was a Loki or because she was of a different gender. I feel that’s just an amazing way of saying no matter who you are, love yourself and maybe one day, you will find someone to love you, and you may even find it within yourself to love someone else. It just blurs the fact that there is no gender to self-love. I mean, it’s just a Loki loving a Loki. Why does there have to be gender in there or anything else? It’s just love or at least attraction. Love is a strong word to use.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
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