Who Is Zaniac? Meet The Hidden Marvel Comics Villain In ‘Loki’ Season 2

The latest episode of Loki season 2 saw TVA Agent Hunter X-05, played by Rafael Casal, take on the identity of actor Brad Wolfe to star in the new film Zaniac. That seemingly harmless reference may suggest the appearance of a classic Thor villain from Marvel Comics in the future.

Hunter X-05, like most TVA Agents in Loki, has no apparent counterpart in Marvel Comics. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t connected to classic characters. While Brad Wolfe may seem to be a benign identity taken up by Rafael Casal’s character in season 2, it’s actually the true identity of Zaniac, a classic Thor villain and the name of the movie that premiered in the latest episode.

In Marvel Comics, Brad Wolfe was the child of a neglected and abusive mother who turned to acting as an outlet. Wolfe eventually landed the role of Zaniac, a serial killer that resonated with him due to their shared childhood traumas. Following an accident on set involving explosives with residual Gamma radiation from the Manhattan Project, Wolfe began to act out the script of the film in real life, only stopped by the intervention of Thor and TVA Agent Justice Peace.

While it’s not likely Rafael Casal’s Hunter X-05 will turn into a green monster in Loki like the comic book version of Zaniac, their stories certainly have parallels. Hunter X-05 seems to have an odd relationship with Judge Dox, another TVA Agent from season 2, whose effects may parallel Brad Wolfe’s relationship with his own mother later in the series.

Even if Rafael Casal never makes a full heel turn as Hunter X-05, his take on Brad Wolfe has been a refreshing beat for a show as serious as Loki season 2. It may even be better for him to stay far away from his roots as a Marvel Comics serial killer and leave the Zaniac film as the only nod to his origins. Regardless, it’s certain to be one “elevated thriller” of a season!

Tom Hiddleston is spearheading the cast of Loki season 2 as the titular God of Mischief. The cast also includes Owen Wilson, Jonathan Majors, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Tara Strong, Eugene Cordero, Rafael Casal, Kate Dickie, Liz Carr, Ke Huy Quan and Neil Ellice.

Eric Martin replaced Michael Waldron as the head writer of Loki for its second season. Martin and Waldron also serve as executive producers on the series alongside Tom Hiddleston, Justin Benson, and Aaron Moorhead. Benson and Moorhead directed the majority of the episodes for the upcoming season.

Loki season 2 is now streaming on Disney Plus. Stay tuned for the latest news regarding the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel

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