Loki’s query about people not knowing if they’re robots alludes to Life Model Decoys, a concept fleshed out in live-action in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Loki season 1, episode 1, “Glorious Purpose.”
The Loki series premiere cleverly referred to one of the best Marvel Comics ideas that got repeatedly used in Agents of SHIELD during the latter seasons. While Thanos killed the God of Mischief in Avengers: Infinity War, Tom Hiddleston’s time in the MCU was far from over. Thanks to the time travel events during Avengers: Endgame, the 2012 version of Loki, who The Avengers had just stopped, was able to escape with the Tesseract, thus creating a new timeline for himself. While Loki thought he had won, it did not take long for the Time Variance Authority to arrest him.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
While the Time Variance Authority is fairly obscure to the mainstream audience, Loki’s first episode spent most of the time establishing its place in the MCU. But as Loki had never heard of them before, there were a number of new elements for him, as well as for the viewers, to take in throughout the episode. One of the Time Variance Authority’s screening processes is verifying the individual is not a robotic being, which threw Loki off-kilter. When Loki was asked to confirm that he was, in fact, not a robot, he replied, “Do a lot of people not know if they’re robots?” That is where the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. connection comes in in the form of Life Model Decoys.
After the MCU referenced the Life Model Decoy (or LMD) in The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 fleshed out the concept and made it one of the three major storylines that year. An LMD is an android that is normally designed to replicate or replace any person, including their memories. The Life Model Decoy project was revived by Holden Radcliffe, who created AIDA, who gained sentience and became one of the primary villains of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4. The final season of the Marvel adventure drama even introduced an LMD version of Phil Coulson after the real one had died for the final time. Loki’s comment about people not knowing if they are robots is a reference to the idea first established in live-action in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is that LMDs usually don’t know they’re A.I. robots unless someone reveals it to them.
Despite the MCU’s overall lack of connections to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the original Marvel Television shows, it was fascinating to see Loki reference the comic book concept that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continued. Even though Agent Mobius showed Loki the footage of when the God of Mischief murdered Coulson in the first Avengers movie, he didn’t reference the fact that Clark Gregg’s character had been resurrected and lived on for several years until his final passing.
It is also worth noting that Mobius also left out the part that Coulson’s LMD is alive and is out there in the world. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s place within the MCU still remains a bizarre mystery, despite Marvel Studios Kevin Feige being on the record that it’s not completely impossible for the characters in the show to one day be involved with the films again. While the MCU films have so far not used LMDs in any way, it would not be shocking if they started popping up in Phase 4 and beyond. Additionally, it would make sense if upcoming episodes of Loki actually use LMDs after alluding to it in Loki episode 1.
Loki releases new episodes every Wednesday, only on Disney+.
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023