It is truly fascinating what passes as an acceptable romantic storyline in the Disney machine. I can’t help but imagine how pitching sessions might unfold at Marvel Headquarters when Kevin Feige and all other executives discuss new storylines for their characters with writers and creatives.

“A character dating a version of themselves from another timeline?” “Yes. What a fascinating exploration of self-reckoning and the impossibility of self-love. But make sure it’s heterosexual.” “How about a human falling in love with an Artificial Intelligence framework with a creepy lab-generated human body and real feelings and emotions?” “Love it. Really edgy and provides great commentary on the future of technology. Don’t forget to make sure it still presents as a male/female relationship, though!” “Okay, great!”

“We also really wanted to explore the chemistry between these two best friends who we think could be a lot more than just that.” “Oh, like who?” “Steve and Bucky? Carol and Maria? Loki and Mobius?” “Oh, no, we can’t do that, we’d lose millions.”

Loki and Mobius have some key lime pie in episode 2 of 'Loki' season 2.
Image via Marvel Studios

Obviously, I know that’s not how it actually goes. I doubt Steve and Bucky or Carol and Maria were ever even considered as possible romantic relationships in the many writers’ rooms of the MCU despite having a lot more chemistry than most other heterosexual couples in the franchise (not you, Quill and Gamora, we love you). However, there’s something that feels slightly less baity and a lot more purposeful about Loki and Mobius.

For one, Loki is actually assumedly queer in the MCU after a groundbreaking scene in season 1 where he tells Sylvie he’s been with both men and women in the past. That’s more than has ever been stated by a major character in the films or the Disney Plus shows. Additionally, while the two TVA analysts had plenty of chemistry and great scenes in the first season, there’s something about the way they’re attached at the hip in this second season that feels like it could, hopefully, lead somewhere.

Owen Wilson as Mobius in Loki
Image via Marvel Studios

Most likely, we will be cheated again in the end for thinking that the show that finally gave us an explicitly queer main character in the MCU could deliver the first proper same-sex couple, too. No matter how many times we have been down this road, there’s always a sliver of hope that this time around, in 2023, at a point in time when same-sex relationships are finally properly represented in the media at large, it could be different.

It doesn’t feel great that a Loki dating a Loki (but only if it’s a lady variant, of course) or Wanda dating an android (a male presenting android, certainly — despite the fact that technology is genderless/sexless) is seen as more acceptable than two characters with an immensely rich dramatic history and palpable chemistry becoming romantically involved, simply because they’re of the same sex.

Still, this is Marvel we’re talking about, after all. The same company that reduced Ayo and Aneka’s relationship to blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-moments in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. And the same company that promoted Thor: Love and Thunder as the gayest movie in the MCU yet, only for the queer love story in question to concern two secondary rock-shaped humanoids — where one existed merely as a punchline for a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joke — instead of, you know, one of its main characters who is famously bisexual in the comics. Well, at least we will always have Phastos and Ben.

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