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In the post credit scene of Thor (2011), we are shown Loki controlling Selvig as he speaks with Nick Fury about the Tesseract.

In Avengers (2012), Loki makes it to Earth for the first time using the wormhole created by the Tesseract. This is after he's made a deal with the Chitauri.

How is Loki doing that mind control thing on Selvig if he never was on Earth at that time?

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    Is there a reason to think that the events depicted in the post-credits scene of Thor happen before the events depicted in the opening scenes of Avengers? – Anthony Grist Mar 27 at 13:42
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    @AnthonyGrist yes - the end credit scene in Thor has Nick Fury bringing Dr Selvig onto the project to study the Tesseract, while the Avengers opening scenes show Dr Selvig in charge of the project and already working with it. – Dave Mar 27 at 13:46
  • Though if you look at all the post-credit sequences many are retconned away by later movies -- for example, we see Thanos picking up what looks like the Infinity Gauntlet after Age of Ultron, when Infinity War establishes the gauntlet he actually uses isn't created until around the time of Thor: Ragnarok. – jeffronicus Mar 28 at 15:18
  • Much before Ragnarok, the gauntlet may have been there but he hadn't gotten any of the stones yet – MovieMe Mar 29 at 13:44
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This isn't the first time Loki has been to Earth - he shows up to talk to Thor earlier in the film while Thor is incarcerated by SHIELD after trying to retrieve Mjolnir. He's definitely present as he attempts to pick up the hammer, so it's not just an illusion.

As Loki was acting as the King of Asgard at that time, he used the Bifrost to make this trip; however earlier in this film, Loki opens a path to Jotunheim without using the Bifrost to allow the Frost Giants to get into Asgard unseen by Heimdall. In Thor 2, he makes use of a wormhole to transport Thor and Jane from Asgard to Earth and mentions that there are many ways to travel between realms aside from the Bifrost.

We do not know where Loki lands after he lets go of Thor's hand at the end of the film - however, if he can find a way from there to Asgard, he clearly has a route to Earth available.

Worth considering is that he potentially found his way to Thanos who tasked him with retrieving the Tesseract and told him it was on Earth. Thanos could no doubt have provided a method of transport to Loki, although he may not even have needed it. Using the Tesseract to appear on Earth in the Avengers is a bit more theatrical; something Loki is well known for.

As noted in the comment below by Dan Staley, Loki may not have needed to travel to Earth to influence Selvig at all. Note that during the Avengers movie, Loki mentally transports himself to the asteroid where he talks with Thanos and The Other, where he is rebuked for questioning Thanos. After the conversation, he snaps back to wakefulness on Earth. This shows that it is also possible that Loki wasn't on Earth at the point where he was influencing Selvig, just mentally projecting himself instead.

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    Awesome, that makes sense. So he infiltrated SHIELD before the end of the first Thor movie. – MovieMe Mar 27 at 15:23
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    He may not even have traveled there; maybe he or Thanos found a limited way to use the mind stone's power at a distance. – Dan Staley Mar 27 at 22:05
  • @DanStaley That's a valid point - I'll edit that into the answer as well – Dave Mar 28 at 12:11

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