Loki season 2 has just broken a big Disney Plus trailer record – but Marvel Studios still has more to do to convince me that it's back on a firm footing.
Deadline reports that the first trailer for Loki season 2 was watched 80 million times in the 24-hour period after its July 31 release. That makes Loki season 2's first official teaser the most-viewed trailer in the streaming giant's history.
That success isn't a complete shock. Well, not to me, anyway. You see, Loki is one of Marvel Studios' most popular characters. Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of the trickster god was one of the primary reasons why the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) got off to such a good start.
Yes, 2008's Iron Man reinvented the superhero movie game. It also sent the superhero genre down a new path towards the box-office dominance it would enjoy in the years to come. And sure, team-up films including The Avengers cemented Marvel as a cinematic juggernaut – a title it's yet to relinquish to this day, despite the problems it faced throughout MCU Phase 4 and continues to battle in Marvel Phase 5.
The MCU wouldn't be where it is now, though, without the creative ingenuity of its executive team, passionate showrunners, writers, and directors, and Marvel's ability to cast the right actors in the right roles. That includes Hiddleston, whose brilliant, increasingly multi-layered performances as Loki have lit up the MCU ever since his debut in 2011's Thor.
In fact – and this may be contentious in some people's eyes – Hiddleston's Loki is arguably the most popular and endearing character in the MCU, alongside Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark/Iron Man. Yep, even more so than Chris Evans' Captain America, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, and Chris Hemsworth's Thor among others. Just look at the reception Hiddleston received at San Diego Comic-Con 2013, which saw the acclaimed actor surprise fans by dressing up as the god of mischief and subsequently earning a rapturous reception.
Hiddleston's star has continued to shine ever since, and his enduring popularity is a reason why Loki season 1 performed so well on Disney Plus. Launching in June 2021, it became the most-watched Marvel TV show of all-time (per Deadline). With a second season confirmed to be in development during a post-credits stinger after the Loki season 1 finale credits had rolled, it was inevitable that Loki's second season would be one of the most anticipated MCU projects, too.
So, as I've mentioned, I wasn't surprised by Loki season 2's trailer figures. It's one of the most highly anticipated shows of 2023. And, with no footage released until July 31, MCU fans were desperate to get their first look at, and speculate over, the returning series. Marvel and Disney executives, then, will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of having a sure fire hit on their, well, hands.
However, with all that said, and even when (not if) Loki season 2 dominates the TV streaming charts later this year, Marvel still has plenty to do to win over alienated fans.
So far in 2023, the studio is one for three in terms of critically-acclaimed releases, with Guardians of the Galaxy 3 the only project to have been received positively. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania didn't enthrall in the way it was expected to, while Secret Invasion equally failed to live up to expectations. In fact, Secret Invasion's final episode was so bad, it's the worst-rated MCU production of all-time, with a horrific 7% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
So the pressure is on Loki season 2 to lift Marvel's stuttering franchise out of the gutter. It won't be alone in attempting to do so before 2023 ends, either, with The Marvels and Echo also set to debut in theaters and on Disney Plus in the months to come.
However, that duo are also likely to face criticism, whether it's warranted or not. The Marvels is the pseudo-sequel to 2019's Captain Marvel, which was met with negative reactions from toxic-male fans, who bizarrely hit out at Marvel for making a movie with a female lead. With three female protagonists (and a female antagonist) set to take center stage when it arrives on November 10, we could see those criticisms resurface.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that Echo won't be one of the best Disney Plus shows ever made, with the Hawkeye spin-off seemingly facing issues over its story and debatable deviations from the character's comic-book origins. We'll find out if that's the case when Echo's Netflix-style release arrives on November 29.
As pleasing as it is to see Loki season 2's trailer get Marvel back on solid ground, then, the Disney subsidiary isn't out of the criticism-laced woods yet. The return of Loki's TV show might give the studio a reprieve, but if The Marvels and/or Echo don't live up to expectations, Marvel will have to contend with more negative press about how the MCU is in real peril. I for one hope it can turn its fortunes around. But, even when Loki season 2 proves to be a huge hit on one of the world's best streaming services, I can't in good conscience say that Marvel is over its slump. I'll need to see three or four hits in a row before I – and plenty of others – can confidently say that.
Over to you, Marvel.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.
Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.
Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.