Maybe this is all Disney’s fault. The first season of The Mandalorian, which debuted on the Disney+ streaming platform back in 2019, introduced an immensely popular new character to the Star Wars canon using the same simple tricks and nonsense that spawned the likes of Gizmo, Wall-E, and Wicket the Ewok. In floated The Mandalorian’s (and, now, The Book Of Boba Fett’s) greatest weapon, one calibrated to achieve maximum cuteness and make every child in the world screech “I want one!” in toy aisles the world ’round: Ladies and gentlemen, I believe you’ve already met Disney’s latest marketable icon, the improbably enchanting baby Yoda, Grogu.
With green ears out to here and eyes of jet that reflected only our hopes and dreams, Grogu’s propensity to react adorably to his sullen friend Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) violent mercenary work played a vital role in making The Mandalorian a streaming smash. (He also launched a teeth-gnashingly adorable meme.) Grogu is the latest in a long line of “no duh” examples of how a Mogwai-level mascot is precisely what a studio needs to line its coffers with licensed toy lines, plushes, t-shirts, lunchboxes, Spaghetti-Os, dental floss, toilet paper, and air sickness bags from now until the end of time.
So it’s no wonder why the Disney-owned juggernaut Marvel Studios might want to conjure up an appealing creature of its own—Loki’s Alligator Loki springs to mind—and you could bet the farm that competitor Warner Bros. was eventually going to stumble across something equitable in terms of cuteness and marketability. Like, say, Peacemaker’s Eagly. It’s weird that the DC of the big and small screen has only begun to tap into the comics’ long line of mascots and other lovable super-friends (there is an animated movie that’s about to blow this wide open). But Eagly, an original character created by James Gunn for his frightfully good HBO Max series, is already a strong contender for the all-time greatest. Eat your heart out, Krypto.
We know why characters like Grogu, Alligator Loki, and Eagly exist: They’re fun, adorable, and have the potential to make scads of money for their studio overlords. It’s only natural that we, the audience whose enthusiasm made them so popular in the first place, should want to pluck the very same squee-inducing animals from their television posts and toss them into an improbable situation that serves only our basest curiosities: If Alligator Loki and Eagly had to scrap, which one would win?
Like most online arguments that pit one fictional character against the other, this exceptionally unnecessary query orbits around perennial corporate-comic adversaries, DC and Marvel. TV Editor Danette Chavez has selected our cuddly combatants; the task to assess who would win a no-holds-barred grudge match between these two falls to me.
First, we have to assess the strengths and weaknesses of these two brawlers. Alligator Loki, whose exploits were documented in barely two episodes of Loki (he first appeared in the post-credits sequence of “The Nexus Event” and ran amok in “Journey Into Mystery”), has a reputation for being a trickster. The jury’s still out as to whether or not he’s an actual Asgardian alligator from some uncharted alligator-ridden alternate reality or some alligator that lucked into a cool set of golden horns that just happened to fit his little head. (Loki head writer Michael Waldron knows the answer, but he’s not telling.) So we have to take into account Alligator Loki might share all the same illusory powers of his fellow Loki variants, he just chooses not to use them. (Or—or! He turned himself into an alligator and ended up getting stuck that way, which would imply he’s just bad at magic.)
Alligator Loki, judging by his limited appearances, moves and behaves just like a regular terran alligator. We have seen Alligator Loki run quickly over very short distances (he lunges after Boastful Loki when provoked) and is very likely a wicked swimmer. If this fight took place in a body of water, Alligator Loki would almost certainly have it in the bag.
But Alligator Loki’s feathered foe in this theoretical executes most of his attacks from the sky. Eagly, indisputably the superior Peacemaker sidekick (sorry, Vigilante), has a keen advantage over most opponents he faces. As we saw in the thrilling Peacemaker episode “Murn After Reading”, Eagly can zoom in on his targets and pluck out their eyes in a matter of seconds. Also, Eagly has a zest for life that I just don’t see in Alligator Loki: He loves chips, hugging his best friend Chris, and sticking his head out of windows to catch a breeze whenever he goes on a car ride. Far as I can tell, Alligator Loki enjoys luxuriating in his kiddie pool and eating hands. (Just ask President Loki.) What’s more, like most Lokis he’s a temperamental sucker, and having a lousy attitude can get you into all sorts of trouble in the ring.
So how does this fight end? The only way it ever could: Eagly perched atop the luggage set that used to be Alligator Loki, a new pair of golden antlers on his head. As Grogu has shown a whole new generation of TV audiences, being adorable is a superpower on its own; if this were a contest of cuteness… well, Eagly still takes it, but at least here it’s not a total wash. Until we’re given some evidence that hidden within Alligator Loki’s diminutive frame lies some serious magical powers, Eagly’s in-and-out approach to mayhem wins the day—and it keeps hope alive that there may yet come a second season of Peacemaker. In the meantime, Eagly soars, Alligator Loki snores.