Warning: SPOILERS lie ahead for Loki season 2, episode 3, “1893”!
- Balder the Brave’s statue in Loki season 2 serves to remind Loki and the audience of his godly power, emphasizing that he is not just a TVA agent.
- The statue also subverts expectations by swapping out Loki for Balder, adding humor to the scene.
- The inclusion of Balder and the reference to the Chicago Worlds Fair highlights the show’s effort to acknowledge and critique reductive and racist representations of different cultures.
After the character was left on the cutting room floor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel, director Kasra Farahani breaks down Loki season 2’s Balder the Brave Easter egg and its connection to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The latest episodes of the Tom Hiddleston-led show have been packed full of connections to both the wider MCU and comics, with some of the more notable being the appearance of posters for Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo and seeming teases of the X-Men’s impending arrival, Episode 3, entitled “1893”, continued this trend with a trio of statues of the Norse gods with Odin and Thor, though Loki being swapped out for Balder the Brave, much to the god of mischief’s dismay.
Ahead of the episode’s premiere, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with Farahani to break down the various plot reveals and Easter eggs throughout Loki season 2, episode 3. When asked about the Balder the Brave statue and whether it had any connections to his cut appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the director acknowledged there were no direct ties, but rather that it was meant to remind the god of mischief of the power he wields. See what Farahani explained below:
No, it was not. What that is about this… First of all, it’s about the joke that you would expect that if you got Odin and Thor, that you would expect a third statue would be Loki, but it isn’t. But it’s also about using this as an opportunity to remind Loki and the audience that Loki’s not just somebody who works with the TVA, but that he’s a God. That he comes from that stock and that he has that power within him. And then finally, also, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that the midway of the Chicago Worlds Fair was basically they brought all these different cultures from around the world, and they created pavilions for them. And the truth of the matter is they’re pretty reductive and downright racist at times. So I wanted to kind of acknowledge this notion that we have Loki say that, “You can’t distill an entire culture down to a diorama.” So I wanted to acknowledge that in there.
Balder The Brave’s Almost MCU History Explained
Based on the similarly named Norse god, Balder the Brave is a complicated character in Marvel Comics, generally walking the line of a hero, even when he’s incidentally the cause of Ragnarök leading to the destruction of Asgard. Acting as the half-brother of Thor and Loki, the character also has a complex relationship with the god of thunder, often being manipulated by the god of mischief, including exiling Thor from Asgard after he killed their reborn grandfather Bor, only to later realize his sibling’s evil motivations and allegiance with Doctor Doom.
Interestingly, the statue seen in Loki season 2, episode 3 was nearly not the first appearance of Balder in the MCU. 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was expected to introduce Daniel Craig to the superhero franchise as the character, with concept art showing off a design of what he would’ve looked like in the role. The Knives Out actor frequently downplayed the rumors that he was being courted for a cameo in the sequel, only for Elizabeth Olsen to confirm in mid 2023 that the costume itself had even been designed for Craig, but didn’t elaborate on why he was ultimately cut.
With the latest Easter egg seemingly confirming his existence, it remains unclear when Balder the Brave will finally make his proper MCU debut, or whether Craig will even still play the part. Despite debunking the rumors, Craig did acknowledge he would feel “so lucky” to get to join the franchise, and with The Multiverse Saga frequently delivering fan service cameos with the likes of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man: No Way Home returns, among others, it seems entirely possible Loki season 2 could be paving the way for Craig’s eventual arrival as the Norse god.
New episodes of Loki season 2 air Thursdays on Disney+.