LOKI and the Case of the Quantum Spoiler

Spoilerphobia has reached an all-time high in the past few years. With enormous franchise movies and appointment TV creating all manner of online discourse, the unstoppable force of people talking and the immovable object of wanting to remain in the dark are constantly clashing. We here at Nerdist have lengthy discussions about whether or not to post even minor spoilers. And without fail people call us out because even with plenty of warning, people can’t seem to stop reading. But what does or doesn’t spoil something is in the eye of the beholder, and Loki is a prime example. Behold the first Quantum Spoiler.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) stands before the judges of the TVA, wearing a TVA jumpsuit and a time-shackle collar.

Marvel Studios

As with  WandaVision and the MCU as a whole, surprises and guest appearances abound in Loki, even within the first two episodes. But if you didn’t know something was a spoiler, would you necessarily realize it was even if you saw it?

Submitted for your approval, this twisting vortex of strangeness.

I was lucky enough in my role as a reviewer of pop culture, and an assigner of things to others, to see the first two episodes of Loki prior to the first episode going live on Disney+. As such, I had already seen the second episode’s reveal that the Variant Loki is actually Lady Loki, as played by Sophia Di Martino. It’s a pretty great moment, and one that the first episode sets up nicely with some strategic foreshadowing. So, cool! I looked forward to people seeing it.

A hooded figure stands in front of flames in Loki


On June 8, Marvel held dual premiere screenings in Los Angeles (with Owen Wilson and Kevin Feige) and London (with Tom Hiddleston and Di Martino). Naturally, they didn’t call out who Di Martino was playing. They had always listed her as a cast member. But, Nerdist‘s wonderful social media manager Lee tweeted the following official photo.

Our social media manager hadn’t seen either of the first two episodes at this point. But I had, and so seeing Hiddleston and Di Martino standing in front of the word “Loki” with the social copy “Big #Loki energy” gave me a dilemma. That is a spoiler; that is both actors who play Loki all but announcing they both play Loki while Lee even inadvertently called it out. But I couldn’t tell Lee it was a spoiler, because I would have then spoiled Lee myself.

And this, friends, is what I like to call a “Quantum Spoiler.” The image itself is a spoiler, however it’s only a spoiler if you know that it’s Sophia Di Martino in the photo, and that Di Martino plays Lady Loki. She has different hair in the show, so it’s not immediately obvious that it was even her in the photo. But it is, and she does play Lady Loki. It’s a spoiler to me because I’d seen the episodes and know that she’s the Variant Loki. But because I’d seen it already, I therefore wasn’t spoiled. Other people who hadn’t seen the episode yet probably don’t know that she’s the actor who plays Lady Loki, and maybe don’t even know who that actor is, so they also aren’t spoiled.

A GIF of Sophia Di Martino as Lady Loki telling her male counterpart This isn't about you.


This is both a spoiler and not a spoiler. It’s only a spoiler if you know it’s a spoiler and it isn’t one if you don’t. The only way for anyone who hadn’t seen the episodes to know it’s a spoiler is if someone who had seen the episodes specifically calls attention to it. It’s a spoiler only when observed, and not at all other times. Dear Odin, I hope people who hadn’t seen the episodes stopped reading at the spoiler warning, because now they’re spoiled and I’ve just spoiled them by explaining how this spoiler even is a spoiler in the first place.

I’ve now well and truly gone spare, and anyone will note the gone-sparal look on the front of my head. This is what spoilerphobia in an internet discussion space has done to me. I was afraid of spoiling people who would only get spoiled if I told them they were.

Anyway, that’s a Quantum Spoiler.

Tom Hiddleston saying Right as Loki, to Lady Loki.


Kyle Anderson is the Senior Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!

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