Before reading this post, I highly suggest starting with “The Casket and the Tesseract” as a lot of what I’m saying continues on from what I said there.
Loki had the Casket of Ancient Winters (which is connected to the Tesseract) when he fell through the portal at the end of Thor. The next time we see Loki, he is being handed the scepter by the Other (the name that the leader of the Chitauri is given in the credits of The Avengers). As far as we know, Loki had the Casket of Ancient Winters at that time.
Now, let’s focus on what is being said at the beginning of The Avengers:
“The Tesseract is awakened. It is on a little world, a human world. They would wield its power, but our ally knows its workings like no other. He is ready to lead and our force, our Chitauri, will follow. The world will be his, the universe yours. And the humans? What can they do but burn?”
– The Other to Thanos
With that quote, can I call back to the what I said at the end of the “Background Information” post about the deal between Loki and Thanos. “…the universe yours…” definitely fits in with that, no?
On topic, I want to point out the following line: “Our ally knows its workings like no other.” Now, are we in agreement that this “ally” that the Other is referring to is definitely Loki? If so, how would he “know its workings like no other.” We’ve never seen Loki use the Tesseract or even touch it.
However, the revelation from Thor that Loki is the son of Laufey might have something to do with that. As a Jotun, Loki would probably be able to understand how to use the Casket of Ancient Winters. If the Casket is the other “side” of the Tesseract, then would it be too much to assume that he might have an understanding of its workings as well?
Even from that great of a distance (specifically “other side of the universe”), Loki seems to be able to control it. He was able to subtly control Selvig when he is shown the Tesseract at the end of Thor. Could he have exerted this control through the Casket and through the Tesseract?
With this control, he might also be able to “awaken” the Tesseract. Once the machine that S.H.I.E.L.D. had built was completed, he would be able to open the portal and travel to Earth, leaving the Casket of Ancient Winters with the Chitauri army. He would not take the Casket of Ancient Winters with him. How else would he open the portal to the Chitauri at the end of The Avengers if he didn’t have the other part of the door there?
He arrives on Earth and his main goal becomes to get the Tesseract so that he can unleash the Chitauri so that he can rule the world. Except that doesn’t make sense. He’s Loki. Loki is the God of Lies and Mischief. He also would not settle merely for Earth. He doesn’t care about Earth. Why would he rule over Earth when instead he could use the Chitauri army to be ruler of Asgard? In fact, in his conversations with the Other, he still thinks of himself (or wants the Other to think that he thinks of himself) as being king of Asgard.
So, what if Loki’s goal wasn’t to rule the Earth?
Well, look at how the movie turned out. As we all (should) know, the Chitauri are defeated by the Avengers, Loki is “arrested” by Thor, and the Tesseract is taken by Thor back to Asgard. Fine and dandy right?
Except that the Casket of Ancient Winters is still out there somewhere. Thor and all of Asgard has one end of the door, but the Other and/or Thanos has the other end. By being defeated, Loki has brought the Tesseract to Asgard. And by bringing the Tesseract to Asgard, he has brought an easy way for Thanos to get to the Infinity Gauntlet, thus fulfilling his side of the bargain.
Note: There was a blog post when The Avengers first came out that speculated that the entire movie was a Xanatos Gambit. I agree, but have built on it some. Particularly with the next post that I’ll be making.