Loki season 2 was a magical Disney Plus success, but it couldn't defeat one popular Star Wars show

Loki holds a watch and TVA prune stick as he looks at the Temporal Loom in Loki season 2
Loki season 2 doesn't need a follow-up on Disney Plus. (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

As if further proof was needed, Loki season 2 has cemented itself as a magical success for Marvel and parent company Disney.

Per a Disney press release, the final episode of the hit series' second season was watched 11.2 million times in its first three days on Disney Plus. That's 300,000 more views than Loki's season 2 premiere, and makes it the streamer's second most-watched finale in 2023 after The Mandalorian season 3's last episode.

Perhaps even more impressive was Loki season 2's ability to maintain audience interest across its six-episode run. Disney claimed the trickster god's sophomore outing on Disney Plus pulled in over 11 million fans every week, meaning it didn't suffer a significant drop-off in viewing figures between its opening episode on October 6, which was the second most-watched Disney Plus premiere of 2023, and the November 10 finale. By comparison Star Wars: Ahsoka's audience share fluctuated wildly throughout its first-season run in August and September.

It isn't all good news, mind you. Per analytics company Nielsen (as reported by Deadline), Loki season 2 episode 1 debuted with 446 million minutes streamed in its first week, which is a far cry from the 731 million minutes Loki season 1's premiere enjoyed in June 2021.

There are mitigating circumstances for that decline – Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fan fatigue, the now-resolved actors strike preventing the likes of lead star Tom Hiddleston from promoting the show's return, and competition from shows on Disney's streaming rivals, such as Netflix's The Fall of the House of Usher and megahit Suits, to name just three. 

Still, Loki season 2's success will be particularly welcome news for Marvel amid a tough year of never-ending MCU movie delays, TV show rescheduling, criticism of its 'systemic' overworking of visual effects artists, and the aforementioned actors strike, as well as the parallel writers strike.

Conjuring third season conversations 

OB, Hunter B-15, Loki, and Mobius stand in front of a cataclysmic event happening off-screen in Loki season 2

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Given Loki season 2's success, talk has inevitably turned towards a potential third season. Speaking to Comicbook.com, Kevin Wright, one of the show's executive producers, reiterated that it was always Marvel's plan to tell the god of mischief's story across two seasons. However, he added: "We are certainly thinking about how we can continue to tell TVA and Loki base stories... I think there's a lot more books on the shelf", sparking fan discussions that Loki season 3 might already be in early development.

The problem for me, though, is that Marvel can't continue to rely on nostalgia to maintain audience interest in its cinematic juggernaut. 

Without ruining anything for those who haven't watched it yet, Loki season 2 episode 6 was a fitting end to his most recent MCU adventure – you can read more of my thoughts in my Loki season 2 ending explained article.

Sure, this isn't the last we've seen of Loki – again, no spoilers here, but his importance to the Multiverse Saga has been mentioned time and again by Marvel President Kevin Feige and other executives. To paraphrase Loki himself, the sun will shine on him again.

In order for the MCU to move forward, though, it can't keep looking back at its most beloved characters and bringing them back to drive ticket sales for Marvel's new movies or boost viewing figures on Disney Plus. 

According to a recent and detailed report from Variety – whose credibility has been hit amid accusations said report isn't entirely accurate – Marvel floated the idea of Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson returning as Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow. The aim of this, Variety suggests, would be to get bums back on cinema seats after an underwhelming year at the box office for Marvel. Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is the only MCU film to make a profit in 2023, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania flattering to deceive and The Marvels currently struggling to make inroads. 

Bringing back iconic MCU heroes may seem like a sound blueprint for success, but those legacy characters' journeys are done. Reintroducing them would undermine how their stories ended, and be viewed as nothing more than nostalgia bait.

The same is true of Loki. Yes, we're bound to see him again before the Multiverse Saga has run its course; and Loki is one of the best Disney Plus shows around, so it's understandable why Marvel and Disney might want to make another installment. For me and many others, though, Loki's primary character arc is satisfyingly complete. Renewing the show for a third season would be a disservice to him and the story that's been told. Marvel won't rule out Loki season 3 for obvious reasons, but it needs to move past it and refocus its efforts elsewhere.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

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.