Early on in Loki there’s one joke that might send you running to Google, or, at the very least, to the dusty parts of your brain that are obsessed with random facts from the 1970s. In one flashback scene in the first episode of Loki, we learn that the titular brother of Thor lost a bet and then, participated in one of history’s greatest unsolved mysteries. So, who is D.B. Cooper anyway? Spoilers ahead for Loki Episode 1.
As Mobius (Owen Wilson) is debriefing Loki (Tom Hiddleston) we get a pretty elaborate clip show that allows us to see not only Loki’s history up until the events of The Avengers (2012) but also, into Loki’s “future,” in which he accidentally betrays his mother (Thor: The Dark World) and is eventually killed by Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War.) But amid all of that, we also get a part of Loki’s past we never knew about: In 1971, during Loki’s immortal youth, he hijacked a plane, held it for ransom, and took off with $200,000 bucks. Mobius responds with bemused incredulity, “You were D.B Cooper?”
Who was D.B. Cooper?
In real life, “D.B. Cooper” is the name given to an unknown man (alias Dan Cooper) who really did hold a Boeing 727 for ransom in 1971. The reason the case is so famous is that the man was never caught. In case you forgot, here’s what happened.
- Cooper tells the people on the plane he has a bomb. He wants them to land, give him $200,00 bucks or he’ll blow up the plane. He’s super nice about it though.
- The pilots comply, the plane lands in Seattle, all the passengers get off, Cooper gets his money. He has a classy cocktail.
- Cooper then tells the plane to take off, and somewhere over the west of the United States, he jumps out of the plane with a bunch of money.
But, he was never found. His body was never found, and in 1980, some of the money was identified in the Columbia River in Canada.
Loki fixes history
If you or your kids are wondering whether or not Loki could have actually been D.B Cooper, the answer is…yes? As presented in the show, everything that Loki does in this flashback checks out with what Cooper did in real life. Even his Don Draper style fits! And, even though we see him vanishing back into Asgard, some of the money does go tumbling down to Earth, which would account for people finding it in 1980.
In the first Thor film, the legends of Thor and Loki are obviously derived from Norse Mythology. But, that film turns magic into science fiction, using the Arthur C. Clarke maxim, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Thor and Loki really are the ancient Norse gods, but, from our 21st-century perspective, they’re also aliens. Now, in Loki, it looks like we’ve got a new corollary to that Clarke saying: “Any unsolved mystery of the 20th century might be the work of a Marvel supervillain who lost a bet.”