Question is in the title, but I'll expand on it some.

Presumably from what we heard throughout the movie Loki's plan is to take over the planet. Great sounds good. however...

In the movie we see the portal opened in New York and the bad guys come out shooting and causing all sorts of mayhem, but... generally not doing anything constructive, at least from the point of view of the overarching goal (take over the world).

Lets look at some issues:

  • Loki attacked the Avengers and Shield seeing them as his strongest opponent.
  • However he hasn't taken out any world governments, or addressed the fact that a lot of those governments have nuclear weapons. (which as we see at the end of the movie work rather well on the Chitauri.)
  • New York while big and kinda important... really isn't important, as seen by the willingness of human leaders to nuke the place.
  • There are thousands of Chitauri that come though the portal, yet instead of spreading out to take military objectives, they are contained within a few blocks by 6 people, super hero's admittedly but still just 6 people.
  • We also see them stopping and killing bystanders. I understand that they don't care if they break a few eggs, but to what end does it serve to kill potential slaves that can't offer any sort of resistance.

I know they used the Stark building because of the power supply, so I'll give them the location. Beyond that... from the observed footage, how exactly were their actions accomplishing their ultimate goal of world domination?

8 Answers 8


The Chitauri were being used as a distraction by Loki. Loki's real objective has always been to get the Tesseract from SHIELD. Considering the powers of the Tesseract allow for the movement of resources or people from any distant location, it makes an excellent tool for infiltration, espionage or logistics. The Tesseract would be a worthwhile asset for any intruder or attacker.

Watching the battle, the Chitauri don't appear to have the clarity of objectives an invading force should normally have. Remove power, remove communications, terrorize locals, neutralize military, establish beachhead, occupy territory. Some of these seemed to be handled, but others seemed completely overlooked. Perhaps the Avengers prevented some of these things from being accomplished.

But what if we consider the Thanos element. What if this battle was conceived for another completely different purpose? Perhaps they only appeared to have no true objective. What if the objective was one of information gathering on the defenses of Earth, including SHIELD and the Avengers?

If I were Thanos and looking on from the safety of my throne in another dimension, I might have learned:

  • Iron Man coordinates, provides technology support and while his intellect may not be the equal of Thanos, exposing Iron Man to technology only means he may be able to understand it or reverse engineer it. Iron Man's combat abilities while technologically supported are considerable, for a human.

  • Captain America inspires and leads the ground troops, he has excellent tactical awareness and Hawkeye and Black Widow are weapons-masters. All three are excellent in close quarters combat. Hawkeye's ranged weaponry and tactical skills were excellently displayed. Thanos himself may not be physically threatened but any agents he sends will have to be capable.

  • We learn the Hulk is both fantastically powerful and highly unpredictable. His lack of flight did not stop him from contributing to the aerial battle as well. Now with his powers seemingly under control he could be a problem especially considering his intellect equals his physical capacity for destruction.

  • Thor boasts the widest array of abilities, flight, a fantastic level of superhuman strength, incredible energy projection using Mjolnir and superior hand to hand combat skills. He is a top level threat, even to Thanos.

From Thanos' perspective the Chitauri were an inexpensive way to learn about the Avengers before he has to meet them himself (assuming he even wants to or needs to do that). The Chitauri's lack of coordination may have simply been the expenditure of a pawn in a greater game that Thanos currently has the upper hand in even with the loss of Loki.

Historically, Thanos has used agents to learn about his opponents so this would play into his modus operandi in dealing with an unknown threat.

  • 4
    I think the basics of this theory---that Thanos was testing the water, so to speak---are confirmed in the after credits scene where the high ranking Chitauri comments that engaging earth would be "to court death." If it was merely about Loki ruling earth and Thanos getting the Cube, then why is the Chitauri leader telling Thanos that it's too deadly? Thanos's smile was clever in its ambiguity.
    – FoxMan2099
    Jun 29, 2013 at 4:51
  • 6
    @FoxMan2099 If you're familiar with Thanos' history, for him "Courting Death" is what he's always wanted. Thanos has an obsession/infatuation with the Marvel Universe personification of Death
    – Monty129
    Jul 11, 2013 at 20:34
  • @Monty129 Absolutely, I totally had that in mind when posting and should have mentioned it. From the Chitauri leader's perspective, courting death was, well, a bad thing lol, but from Thanos's perspective, it was not the case, thus the smile, and thus the impression that he was up to something more.
    – FoxMan2099
    Jul 14, 2013 at 21:28
  • Nicely done. Good breakdown of strategy and tactics for a potential later engagement.
    – Morgan
    May 28, 2014 at 9:25
  • 1
    It could be because he already knows that the Time stone (and possibly the Soul stone) is/are on Earth and he'll have to expend significant resources obtaining them. The Sorcerer Supreme seems to be fairly well known in the greater MCU, at least from Wong's comments near the end of Doctor Strange, so it's possible Thanos already knows who has it and where it is.
    – Derek
    Dec 4, 2017 at 4:45

The overall goals of Loki were pretty simple:

  1. Obtain the Tesseract.
  2. Take over Earth.
  3. Give Tesseract to Thanos as payment for helping Loki dominate and rule Earth.

The specifics involved Loki ensuring the Avengers and SHIELD could not provide an effective defense against the invasion. He did this by being captured, and disabling the Helicarrier during Barton's prison break. Loki also had to construct a device to use the Tesseract to open the wormhole, providing the Chitauri a path to Earth. He outsourced that to Dr. Selvig and Barton.

The issue here, is that the Avengers were able to mount an effective defense. In addition, we only saw the Chitauri invade for like an hour or two, not much time to establish much of a beachhead in New York City. The Avengers managed to rout their invasion, and swiftly close the wormhole. Had the battle gone for longer, sufficient forces would have come through the wormhole to occupy NYC, then they would have expanded from there.

Thanos provided the Chitauri to Loki, so that Loki could invade and conquer Earth. That would have taken some time, and it was shut down pretty early on so we never got to really see the broad scale of the invasion plan.

  • I understand that it would take some time. However in the hours that they are fighting (before the wormhole is closed) they don't do anything constructive. Their main opposition is the Avengers, yet we see large amounts of Chitauri running around doing...nothing. If your going to establish a beach head your troops need objectives. Yet in the movie they show no real objectives being accomplished. Even the most obvious one of taking out the opposition. If nothing else all of the forces should of focused on that. Not just the few we see in the movie. That's really the heart of my question.
    – Ryan
    Jun 28, 2013 at 18:36
  • 1
    @ryan We see them collecting prisoners. Captain America saves a batch of them.
    – user1027
    Jun 28, 2013 at 19:11

It seems more a case of "shock and awe" tactics in the beginning. Drop a lot of troops and some artillery behind enemy lines,then have them brandish their weapons menacingly, in order to cow the local populace into submission. If you remember Loki wanted humanity to "KNEEEL!!" rathen than simply wipe them out. We do see the Chitauri rounding up a large group of humans in the bank before Captain America rescues them. My guess is Loki wanted to be worshiped once again like the Norse Gods where long ago. Therefore the battle plan seemed to ammount to spear rattling in the hopes that the humans would lay down their arms and go peacfully.

  • 4
    From their observed behavior this seems likely what they were trying to do. Though it seems like a fairly stupid plan for him to employ. +1
    – Ryan
    Jun 28, 2013 at 19:12
  • I agree it's not a very solid plan
    – Monty129
    Jun 28, 2013 at 20:24
  • @Ryan Even Tony Stark agrees: He outright says it to Loki: "Not a great plan!" youtube.com/watch?v=cfR3ZbU-oYM
    – BMWurm
    Jul 28, 2017 at 12:55

There's a line where Cap tells Thor they don't want to take out Loki before closing the portal, because as long as he's in charge, the Chitauri are focused on taking out the Avengers, whereas without his command they might spread out. ("Save it. Loki's gonna keep this fight focused on us and that's what we need. Without him these things could run wild.")

Stark also previously deduces that Loki's going to Stark Tower because he's grandstanding, he doesn't want to just conquer the world, he wants to do it dramatically and rub it in the faces of his enemies. ("He made it personal. ... That is the point. That's Loki's point. He hit us all right where we live. Why? ... He had to conquer his greed, but he knows he has to take us out to win, right? That's what he wants. He wants to beat us and he wants to be seen doing it. He wants an audience. ... Yeah. That's just a preview, this is opening night. Loki's a full-tilt diva. He wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built in the skies with his name plastered...")

The plan was probably still to use the Chitauri in the fashion you describe, but once the Avengers proved to still be in the picture, Loki's ego demanded defeating them first. (This could also be a matter of eliminating them as a persistent threat, as Stark promises him that even if they can't stop him from conquering the world, they'll survive to assassinate him ("if we can't protect the earth, you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it."))


It seems to me that the few hundred (possibly thousand?) of Chitauri that made it through the portal into the skies over New York were merely the advance scouts for a much larger force. When Iron Man redirect the nuke through the portal we see it detonate against one of several large spacecraft floating around in space. I'd wager those ships would be the Heavy hitters of the Chitauri invasion force.


I think we need to keep in mind that the Avengers weren't supposed to be there. In New York, that is. Part of the strategy in getting caught and taken on board the Helicarrier was obviously to divide the Avengers and gut their morale. And it worked for a bit, but they all (unexpectedly to Loki?) got back on the horse and headed to New York.

In other words, the Chitauri were supposed to enter the world without any standing opposition.


Loki himself was just a scout. Thanos was the primary takeover guy. If you listen at the beginning of the Avengers film, the Other says that "A world will be his, the universe yours..." which means that Thanos simply helped Loki with the Chitauri to make Loki into giving him the Tesseract, which is one of the six infinity stones that Thanos craves to take over the universe. Loki's plan was to bring in the Chitauri unopposed while the Avengers lay morally wounded aboard the Helicarrier, which would have crashed, as per his plan. But as things did not go as Loki planned and the Avengers destroyed the Chitauri, both Thanos and Loki were defeated, but Thanos apparently did not mind, given in the smile of the post credits scene.


"What was Loki's plan"?

well, as plainly as it gets this enter image description here

Yup, not a great plan, if you plan to make people kneel before you. Loki's plan makes no sense. Probably because it wasn't his endgame? Let's see closer.

• The rhetoric isn't his normal rhetoric ("Kneel", "You're born to be ruled", "You crave subjugation", you name it). He doesn't stick to it neither before, nor after New York.

enter image description here

• Condition in which he came to Earth in the first place is as well questionable at least: he trips, he's sweaty, with white lips and shades under his eyes. Loki even struggles at first to hold Hawkeye back as he blocks archer's hand.

• Mental slap from across the Universe from the Other don't as well contribute to the statement that he was completely falling in line. Same as Loki naming himself a messenger to Fury ("I come with glad tidings") instead of I AM A KING, and stating for no reason that "Freedom is life's great lie".

• As much as Tony said that Loki was a diva, Loki never drew any additional attention to his fight with Avengers and most of the time was even out of people's view. He didn't even address them to maybe vote for peaceful surrender.

• As Loki said to Natasha, Barton told him everything. He knows Widow's backstory (and still somehow falls for her primary method: to play a victim to get abuser to gloat over how petty you are compared to them).

He recognizes Captain America ("The soldier, man out of time") and still doesn't kill him on at least three occasions in Stuttgart;

He knows of Banner's condition (and not a single time evokes doubt in him to reach for Hulk, on contrary even);

And he kills of all people Coulson, because if Natasha and Hill know he's close to Tony and fanboys over Cap, then Hawkeye knew it too.

• Then again, with Thor and Hulk thrown off the Helicarrier, why again didn't Loki shoot engines of "flying fortress"? He just saw that Stark mended the engine. And he left Hawkeye behind, as well as used a sniper not as sniper should be used. What did he achieve by attacking but not finishing the Helicarrier? He lost sniper and informer, and won what? Thor and Hulk being thrown off the craft? Of all the two people who could possibly survive the fall and would be pissed off at him if they did? Yeah, great planning.

enter image description here

• And every time he shoots vehicles or aircrafts, he shoots whatever else but pilot's/driver's place. For a person who tries to make a statement, he killed at most about handful people at the very beginning, the others died of blast SHIELD knew was coming.

enter image description here

• Oh, and for some reason Hawkeye, who knows Fury, shot him not in head but in torso, of all places the one where he knows armour can be? And Selvig building in mechanism to cut off power — just in case if truth on the other side that he was so fascinated about turned out not to be overly friendly? Yeah. And Selvig built a mini Bifrost for that matter, Asgardian technology that Loki, being "master of Magic", i.e. science. would know very well.

Loki's field of expertise, in fact, is military deception

In first Thor alone he's shown to be professional at stealth and military ruses (from his decoy holograms and manipulation to briefly mentioned in deleted scene smoke cover he provided Thor and company with to cover their retreat).

enter image description here

And in "Avengers"?

• They play it like he — being a manipulator — wouldn't know that common threat, one that shows off and leaves casualties behind, is more serious than any doubts/differences team must put aside? Loki goes as far as to say that to piss them all off was his plan.

• Compared to "Thor" and "Thor 2", Loki is suddenly a show-off? He wanted attention, yes, but he never invoked it. He killed Kurse without showing off. He supported team during Jotunheim battle without putting an emphasis on himself. He killed blood father in Odin's bedroom and not in front of whole Asgard. Also Loki for some reason openly lies to Thor twice in the movie: he says he's a king (contradictory to his statement from "Thor" that he never wanted a throne, but wanted to be equal to brother), and he says Thor threw him into abyss, given he knows darn well he let go of the spear himself. Maybe it was a way to tell "If two of three are obvious lies, than third iiiiiiis… a lie?"

The Other supervised Loki's work in Avengers and if he could mentally slap him over distance, then maybe Loki wasn't as willing and rather was coerced? Why supervise him if he's undoubtedly loyal after all?

What does Loki need Midgard for? Because it's Thor's favourite world? Thor should grow up and understand that not everything revolves around him. It simply was a world in which Loki knew Tesseract was (one of Asgardian treasures). And one world that could be sold to Chitauri as petty, since it's not Asgard after all. But one that could fight them off with a little bit of help and assemble.

What for would he do it?

  1. Well, he never sought destruction of Asgard, and Chitauri were interested in one of Odin's greatest treasures, which would have drawn Asgard into this war eventually.

  2. And he at very least didn't want of all people his mother, Queen of Asgard, dead?

  3. Of course, to repay dismissive attitude towards himself.

  4. To have an opportunity to escape from Thanos back to luxurious Asgard?

Again, if looked at as it is, Loki's plan doesn't make a least bit of sense. He wants Earth. Why? He let himself be caught in Stuttgart. But what did he achieve? Assembled Avengers and temporarily broke an engine. How Selvig controlled himself enough to help Avengers? Why was Hulk integral to Loki's plan even? Why not kill off couple Avengers that are not as famous as Stark? Like, Captain, a symbol? Or why not put Hawkeye in charge of Helicarrier — the closest military stronghold? This wouldn't've diminished spectacle of overtaking Earth.

  • 1
    How does this answer the question?
    – amflare
    Apr 4, 2018 at 17:28
  • What I was trying to say, his plan for Chitauri was simply to defeat Chitauri army with Avengers, because he wasn't truly The Other's and Thanos' ally, and was probably coerced to cooperate.
    – The Guest
    Apr 4, 2018 at 17:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.