There’s a reason why that opening "Loki" flashback doesn’t feel quite the same as it did the first time Marvel fans saw it.
The series premiere of Marvel’s latest Disney+ series covers plenty of important ground throughout its 52-minute runtime. Indeed, the episode moves at a brisk pace — rarely ever stopping to let its characters (or the viewers watching at home) pause for a moment to take everything in. That’s not a bad thing, though, as the premiere’s fast pace only works to further heighten the absurdity and weirdness of many of its moments. That includes the way it introduces the Time Variance Authority (TVA), explains the organization’s role in the universe, and establishes the TVA’s unique relationship with time.
But before the "Loki" premiere even gets into any of its numerous exposition dumps or introduces important TVA agents like Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), it first takes a few minutes to journey back in time. The episode opens with a flashback to the time heist from "Avengers: Endgame" — replaying the exact moment in 2012 New York when everything went wrong and a captured Loki (Tom Hiddleston) escaped with the Tesseract. In other words, it’s the moment that opened the door for Marvel’s "Loki" series to happen in the first place.
There’s a specific reason why the "Loki" premiere flashes back to that scene, and there are also a few reasons why it’s presented a little bit differently than it was in "Avengers: Endgame."
Loki included an Endgame flashback in its premiere
There’s a practical reason for why the "Loki" series premiere opens with the character’s time heist escape in "Avengers: Endgame." By starting with the scene, the Disney+ series casually reminds Marvel Cinematic Universe fans how (and where) "Loki" even exists in the greater MCU timeline. It also works to explain how the character — despite dying tragically in the opening of "Avengers: Infinity War" — still gets to be at the center of a Disney+ series about him. It’s a useful place for the "Loki" premiere to begin, and allows the episode to neatly transition to its lead character’s arrest at the hands of the TVA.
That said, the opening scene of the "Loki" premiere isn’t just a shortened version of the character’s escape in "Avengers: Endgame." Rather, there are a handful of small changes and differences scattered throughout the episode’s "Endgame" sequence, including cuts to completely different shots and angles that weren’t featured in the original version. While that may seem strange at first, it turns out that there’s a logical explanation for why the God of Mischief’s escape in "Loki" is shown a little differently than it was in "Avengers: Endgame."
According to the director behind the Disney+ series, it all has to do with a matter of perspective.
Why the Tesseract escape sequence in Loki is different from the Endgame scene
"Loki" director Kate Herron spoke with The Hollywood Reporter recently about the making of the Marvel show’s premiere episode. Throughout the conversation, Herron dives deep into what it was like filming the episode, and confirms that she and the "Loki" crew cut together a slightly different version of the Tesseract escape scene from "Endgame" for the Disney+ series. The sequence includes several moments that weren’t in the original "Endgame" version, including a close-up shot of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki mockingly waving to The Hulk (Bruce Banner) from inside the Avengers tower elevator, which the latter character is barred from getting on.
When asked if those moments were new scenes shot specifically for the "Loki" premiere or moments that were cut from "Endgame," Herron said, "There are some new shots that we filmed. I also got access to all the [Endgame] moments that we put in the first episode. So with the ‘Endgame’ moment, we deliberately used footage, takes and angles that hadn’t been in that film, mixed in with the structure of the scene that people recognize. We wanted to put it more into Loki’s POV, so I filmed the shot in the elevator where he waves."
"I almost think of it a bit like ‘Rashomon,’" Herron continued. "It’s a scene we’ve seen before, but now we’re putting it through a different lens. So we did film some of it, as it’s a mixture of both [new and old footage]."
For those who don’t know, "Rashomon" is a 1950 film directed by legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa that spends much of its runtime showing the same event several times from different, subjective perspectives. With that in mind, it makes sense for Herron to reference it in regards to the "Endgame" sequence in "Loki." While the scene plays out the same way in both the film and the Disney+ show, the latter title is far more focused on showing it from Loki’s actual point of view than "Endgame" was.
To put it another way, the sequence wasn’t so much reshot as it was remixed.