Loki Season 2 has premiered on Disney+ and alongside the God of Mischief there are some new faces in the TVA in the new season. One of those is played by someone from our communities – Rafael Casal (Blindspotting) who is of Irish, Spanish, and Cuban descent.
Casal plays a soldier in the TVA (Time Variance Authority), identified as Hunter X-5. This part isn’t all that surprising, there are plenty of soldiers in the TVA and we haven’t really gotten to know many outside of Hunter B-15. Unlike B-15, however, X-5 doesn’t seem all that interested in going against the rules or questioning the TVA.
Quite the opposite, in fact. The little we see of Hunter X-5 in the first episode of Loki Season 2 sees him following instructions from General Dox, which include going after Sylvie. He also makes fun of Mobius jet ski obsession and acts kind of testy all around when he’s on screen.
Casal has spoken about the complexities of his identity before with his family immigrating from Cuba and their background being Spanish. And when speaking to the Golden Globes he said, “When I’m among Spanish speaking guys I’m always sure to clarify that I’m Hispanic, that my family immigrated here from Cuba like a lot of people do but my background is Spanish.”
Other actors like Ana de Armas, who is Cuban-Spanish, are on the same boat of complex identities with her being born in Cuba to migrant parents from Spain. So is Lupita Nyong’o, who was born in Mexico, grew up in Kenya, and considers herself Mexican-Kenyan. All of these people emphasize how important conversations of identity are and how complex they get depending on where you’re born, raised, and what you self-identify as.
This actor joins an expanding list of people from our communities in superhero entertainment. The list includes, but isn’t limited to, Zoe Saldaña, Salma Hayek, Oscar Isaac, and Nyong’o herself. But also actors who have actually gotten to play their identities on screen, like Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez, aka Miss America and Xolo Maridueña’s Jaime Reyes, aka Blue Beetle.
As for Casal, he co-wrote the Blindspotting movie, and both starred and served as showrunner in the show adaptation of the same name. He has also appeared in supporting roles in Bad Education, The Good Lord Bird, and the second revival of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Fans were really excited to see him in the first episode of Loki, with some saying that they would “know his voice anywhere,” and others celebrating the fact that he “popped up within the first five minutes.”
Considering where the first episode left off, there’s plenty more of X-5 coming in Loki season 2. We just hope he’s in a better mood next time.