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At the end of Thor, Erik is seen:

Under the control of Loki, discussing the tesseract

But at the start of Avengers:

Loki mindwipes him and takes control of him, again!

And at the end it turns out he some how:

put a failsafe into the device, even when he was under control.

How is this possible?

  • 4
    great question. This is the plot hole that's been bugging me the most. I'd thought that Whedon had directed that end bit for Thor – Dan Kelly Jun 1 '12 at 9:33
  • Yup, according to Skarsgard, they shot it with Whedon 6+ months after filming Thor. – phantom42 Jun 1 '12 at 11:06
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I took it as though at the end of Thor,

Loki is directly controlling Erik - and needs to do so at a shorter distance. In the movie-universe, this is the only instance of any one being puppet-controlled.

It is wholly possible, but unexplained that this must be done at a shorter range than his own powers or the staff work. Loki is clearly somewhere else at the beginning of The Avengers having to return to Earth, so he may have been out of range.

In The Avengers,

It is explained that the staff basically removes free-will of the target and allows the wielder to impart his own. This is similar, but not quite the same. This means that the target could operate under Loki's direction at a further distance away.

There is also of course the fact that

The staff's power seems to lose effect on the target if they are knocked unconscious - evident from Hawkeye's mind being restored after he is knocked out.

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The way I saw the end of Thor, I thought Loki could subtly influence Erik, not completely override his mind and force him to betray his friend.

After all, Erik would always have been at least intrigued by the Tesseract, even if he wasn't sure about working for SHIELD.

Whereas the Tesseract-powered staff allowed him to nearly completely control Erik's mind, to the point where he could only fight in a way that wasn't fighting.

Failsafe devices are justifiable in any complex system, even if you aren't fighting Alien Mind-Control.

2

My theory: He wasn't controlling Erik, but was just using him like a window to see our world.

The brief scene at the end of Thor never indicated that Loki was actually exerting some kind of control over Erik, only that he was seeing through his eyes. This is speculation, but this "Erik-Vision" is probably what allowed Loki to know of the Tesseract and its location.

In The Avengers, it was never explained how Loki knew the location of the Tesseract. The only thing close was the following exchange between he and Thor later in the film:

THOR: You think yourself above them.

LOKI: Well, yes.

THOR: Then you miss the truth of ruling, brother. A throne would suit you ill.

Angrily, Loki shoves his brother to the side. He walks back up to the ledge. Turns around.

LOKI: I've seen worlds you've never even known about! I have grown, Odinson, in my exile! I have seen the true power of the Tesseract, and when I wield it...

THOR: Who showed you this power? Who controls the would-be-king?

The scene implies that Loki was shown the true power of the Tesseract by his benefactors, who turn out to be

Thanos & the Chitauri who serve him.

However, it's quite possible that Loki - through Erik's eyes - was the one to determine that the Tesseract was on Earth in the SHIELD facility. Once revealing this, it would naturally become a target for his benefactors, thus leading to the bargain they struck with Loki.

Unfortunately, the stinger scene is not included in the script, so we are left to speculate.

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