Here’s why Loki doesn’t look like a Frost Giant:
In the comics, Loki always appeared more like an Asgardian than a Frost Giant because he was a runt.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is no clear explanation for why his appearance changes when he is adopted.
Most fan theories fall short, and it’s probably a small plot hole that doesn’t really change much.
So if you want to learn all about why Loki looks nothing like a Frost Giant, then this article is for you.
Let’s get right into it!
Why Doesn’t Loki Look Like a Frost Giant in the Comics?
If you’re a fan of Marvel movies but haven’t explored the comics that serve as source material, then it might interest you to know that Loki’s story, while similar, is considerably different in the two media.
In the comics, Loki is still adopted by Odin, but the path to get there is a bit different, and it helps with understanding why Loki looks Asgardian throughout his story.
Loki is the son of Laufey.
Laufey was the king of the Frost Giants, and Loki was not his first son.
When Loki was born, he was a runt, and Luafey kept him hidden for shame of the size of his tiny son.
Meanwhile, Odin’s father, Bor, attacked the Frost Giants.
During the war, Bor came across a sorcerer who turned him into snow.
Bor begged Odin to find a way to turn him back, but Odin had no interest.
For years, Bor was able to reach out to Odin to ask him to save him from his fate, all to no avail.
Eventually, Bor told Odin that he would leave him alone if Odin would adopt the son of an enemy.
Shortly after that, Odin fought against Laufey and killed him.
Odin eventually found Loki, who was still very small for a Frost Giant.
Odin adopted Loki and raised him as an Asgardian.
It turns out that the sorcerer who turned Bor into snow was actually an adult Loki from the future.
Additionally, what Odin thought was Bor talking to him was actually a trick from Loki the whole time.
Adult Loki orchestrated his own adoption.
What does this have to do with Loki’s appearance?
Well, Loki, being a runt, was still a Frost Giant for all of his life.
But, because he was so small, he naturally appeared Asgardian the whole time.
There was no special magic necessary.
But, considering Loki’s convoluted plot to get himself adopted by Odin, it’s possible that adult Loki used his magic to make his baby self more Asgardian in appearance to facilitate the whole plan.
That isn’t clearly stated in the comics, but it would explain the convenience of Loki just happening to look like an Asgardian.
Why Doesn’t Loki Look Like a Frost Giant in the MCU? (5 Reasons)
That covers the source material, but Loki’s story in the Marvel movies is a little different, and in terms of Loki’s appearance, those differences are pretty stark.
Loki is adopted by Odin, but in the movies, he didn’t travel through time to orchestrate that adoption.
Also, Bor is never even mentioned.
Instead, Odin just happened to find Loki, and the reason for Loki’s appearance isn’t entirely clear.
I’ll take you through the whole chronology, and we’ll discuss the major theories as to why Loki isn’t blue at each step.
In the end, you’ll see that there isn’t a connecting theory that explains everything.
That’s when I’ll point out the ultimate truth of it all and explain the real reason that Loki doesn’t look like a Frost Giant.
#1 Spoiler Warning
Before we get into any of that, I need to issue a spoiler warning.
This explanation involves plot points from all of the Thor movies and the TV series, Loki.
If you aren’t caught up on all of this content and want to avoid spoilers, then you should stop reading now.
If you are caught up, feel free to continue.
If you don’t mind spoilers, that’s up to you.
But, I have to go through very significant plot points in order to fully explain Loki’s appearance throughout the MCU storyline.
You have been warned.
#2 As a Baby
Odin and the Frost Giants were natural enemies for a long time.
Eventually, Odin went on a campaign to break the military strength of the Frost Giants once and for all.
He was successful, and when the fighting was done, he found baby Loki.
Loki was a runt for a Frost Giant, making him the same size as a normal Asgardian baby, but he was blue and had all of the characteristics of a Frost Giant (minus the size).
Odin saw the baby and picked him up, and Loki immediately changed appearance to look more Asgardian.
The movies don’t clearly explain why this happened.
We see it on screen, but there’s no exposition that makes it clear.
Because of this, many people theorize that Loki changed his own appearance through his connection to Odin.
Odin offered him parental love, and Loki responded by shifting in appearance.
Keep in mind that this theory is not suggesting that Loki was just holding up an illusion the whole time (which will make more sense later).
Instead, Loki’s appearance literally changed because of his connection to Odin.
#3 For Most of His Life
So, Loki was raised in Asgard and never knew of his true heritage.
He looked like an Asgardian and fit in the whole time.
If Loki was using an illusion to look Asgardian, surely he would eventually figure that out, right?
But, that never happens, and that’s why the theory suggests that this was never a deliberate choice by baby Loki.
Eventually, adult Loki does learn that he is a Frost Giant, and he travels to Jotunheim.
While he is there, he touches a relic of the Frost Giants, and while touching it, his appearance turns blue and Frost Gianty.
This again suggests that Loki is not using his powers of illusion.
The reversion is involuntary, and it could be that while touching the relic, he felt a connection to his ancestry that was stronger than his connection to Odin.
#4 After Odin’s Death
Here’s where the connection theory starts to fall apart.
In Thor Ragnarok, Odin dies.
In fact, Loki is there when it happens, and he’s clearly deeply saddened by the loss of his father.
Despite that, Loki’s appearance does not change at all.
When Odin dies, many things that he had been controlling with his power shift — namely Hela is freed from her prison.
This shows that things that depended on Odin no longer held together.
At this point, Loki no longer has a connection to Odin, but despite that, he continues to look like an Asgardian.
This is where the connection theory dies, but another theory can potentially explain things.
It’s possible that when Odin picked up Loki, he was already determined to adopt the baby.
Understanding the complications of such an adoption, Odin used his own magic to change Loki’s appearance.
When Loki touched Frost Giant relics, that was enough to temporarily impact Odin’s magic, but otherwise, it was persistent magic that Loki never had to maintain himself.
Such magic could persist after Odin’s death.
We know that because Thor’s hammer continues to work after Odin dies, and it was also reliant on Odin’s magic.
#5 After Loki’s Death
But, the Odin’s magic theory also falls into trouble as you continue the MCU timeline.
Eventually, Loki ends up in the Time Variance Authority (TVA) Office.
This is a place that exists outside of any single universe within the grand multiverse.
As such, it is unaffected by powers that are constrained within any of those universes.
As an example, we see Infinity Stones in the office that are only useful as paperweights.
They have none of their powers from the previous Marvel movies.
Here’s the catch.
While in the TVA office, Loki looks the same way we expect him to look.
He doesn’t turn blue or anything.
If Odin’s magic is the reason for Loki’s Asgardian appearance, then that magic should completely fail in the TVA.
We’re even shown that Loki’s own powers don’t work there.
No magic does because any magic only works within its own universe.
The TVA is beyond all of that.
The fact that Loki doesn’t turn blue is proof that no magic was ever responsible for his appearance, and that leads us to the final answer.
Is Loki Not Looking Like a Frost Giant a Plot Hole?
Yes. It’s just a plot hole.
In order for the story in the first Thor movie to work, Loki (and the audience) has to believe that he is Asgardian at the start.
That requires that he isn’t blue and obviously a Frost Giant.
By the time Loki’s character is established and in additional movies, the audience expects him to look a certain way.
The producers kept Loki looking the way we all recognize him for the sake of convenience and audience satisfaction.
They never bothered finding an in-universe explanation for his appearance, and thus, there is no explanation.
It’s just a plot hole, and it’s not a particularly important one either.
Loki looks Asgardian because “reasons,” and it’s fine.
The storyline ultimately works as is, and the movies and TV series don’t really suffer for a lack of this small explanation.
Loki can look like anything, and we don’t care too much.
He’s a popular character for reasons that have little to do with his appearance.