Lokesh Cinematic Universe, Explained: How Does ‘Leo’ Connect With ‘Kaithi’ And ‘Vikram’?


Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Kaithi seemed like a standalone, self-contained film that told the story of a prisoner taking a police officer to a police station that held a large stash of confiscated drugs. When Vikram was about to release, there were murmurs of the film being a secret sequel to Kaithi, and the rumors turned out to be true. While the first half of Vikram didn’t allude to this shared universe angle, its second half furthered the events and characters of Kaithi. It even introduced the franchise’s big bad villain, Rolex, and laid out his plans to capture and kill both Vikram and Dilli. Now, with Leo, Kanagaraj has made a trilogy of films where violent men living dual lives inadvertently wage a war against drugs. The unofficial (or maybe the official) name of the franchise is Lokesh Cinematic Universe. Since Lokesh’s nickname is Loki, it’s also called the Loki Cinematic Universe. But, going by one of Anirduh Ravichander’s background track titles, where he mixes the theme songs of Kaithi, Vikram, and Leo, it’s called the Lokiverse. So, let’s find out how Leo fits in this Lokiverse.

Spoiler Alert

Napoleon from ‘Kaithi’

After Parthiban and his family are harassed multiple times by the slain serial killers’ family members and then by Antony Das and his goons, Parthiban asks the Himachal Pradesh police to give them protection. The head of the police department, who doesn’t like Parthiban at all just because he gets all the attention for the work he does, refuses to help him and his family. So, Parthiban tells Forest Ranger Joshy to transfer a constable from his hometown and let him stand guard in front of his house. And, yes, that constable turns out to be Napoleon. Obviously, Parthiban is underwhelmed because he was expecting someone who could protect a family, not someone who seems to need protection himself. When Parthiban asks Joshy why Napoleon turned out to be the best candidate for this, he brings up the siege in Kaithi. It seems like the official story is that Napoleon defended an entire police station against an army of Rolex’s men. Dilli’s name has been kept under wraps for obvious reasons, thereby making Napoleon a superhero. By the way, when Napoleon wins Parthiban’s trust, Parthiban asks how he managed to wield a minigun when he can hardly manage a rifle. Napoleon says that he just read off the manual while Dilli did all the hard work. To be fair, he does take part in a high-octane highway fight and takes out three goons with that archaic rifle in Leo. So, good for him.

The Escort and Agent Vikram from ‘Vikram’

In Vikram, the titular character used to go to a brothel, hire a particular escort to make it seem like he was “busy,” and then spy on PWD officer Veerapandian and contractor Rudra Prathap because they were the ones who had killed his son, Prabhanjan. That escort makes an appearance in Parthiban’s Cafe in Leo. She doesn’t say anything, but she does leave a note that says, “The pleasure is mine.” Parthiban doesn’t realize its significance, but later on, we see the escort in a room full of masked men and monitors with maps on them. One of those masked men is Vikram, and he has been keeping tabs on Parthiban. He knows that Parthiban has decimated the Das factory, which was manufacturing and selling drugs, and where there are drugs, you can be sure that Rolex is involved in it. Vikram also knows that Parthiban is actually Leo. Since Vikram is on a crusade to end the nexus of drug cartels in India, he wants Leo to join him because destroying one drug-making factory isn’t going to make much of a difference. Leo doesn’t give a definitive answer, but he does heave a sigh of exhaustion because all he wants to do is live a quiet life with his family and manage his cafe. Being a hero is definitely tiring.

The Kada from ‘Master’

To be clear, Master doesn’t exist in the Lokiverse, even though it’s directed by Lokesh and is one of the best Indian films of all time. Thalapathy Vijay’s character in Master isn’t connected to Vijay’s character in Leo. Vijay Sethupathi’s character in Master isn’t connected to Sethupathi’s character in Vikram. So, Leo pulling out a “kada” (a metal bangle) from his trunk full of old stuff is kind of surprising. J.D. from Master used to wear a “kada,” and while it seemed like an accessory, it came in pretty handy during his final fight with Bhavani. Anyway, we can treat Master like an Elseworlds story where an alternate version of Leo exists (or Leo is an alternate version of J.D.), and he had a tiff with an alternate version of Sandhanam (or Sandhanam is an alternate version of Bhavani). The Lokiverse isn’t sci-fi yet. But if, at any point, it goes into sci-fi territory, maybe these two worlds will collide, and we’ll see Thalapathy Vijay pulling off yet another double role (his filmography has a couple of double roles) as Leo and J.D. One can dream!

What Is Leo’s Future in the Lokiverse?

Everything I am about to say is purely speculative, so take it with a grain of salt. I feel that Leo is going to be the next big bad of the Lokiverse. Unlike Dilli and Vikram, Leo isn’t a hero. He isn’t a good person. He is a being of violence and evil. Back in the day, the man whimsically killed anyone who didn’t align with his views. In the present day, he explicitly states that he is using his family to sugarcoat that past, something that is symbolized by the bloody golden chocolate coin. Leo says that he can go to any extent to maintain the lie that he is Parthiban, and if he admits to anyone that he is Leo, he’ll kill them. That puts him at odds with Vikram because Vikram knows that he is Leo. Vikram, maybe naively, thinks that Leo has some kind of an anti-drug agenda, and hence, he’ll join his cause. But that’s not why Leo destroyed the Das factory. He wanted to erase anything that could link him back to his past. Now that Leo knows that Vikram and his men are aware of who he is, don’t you think he is going to annihilate them? I don’t think Vikram’s altruism will somehow convert Leo. It worked on Amar (Fahadh Faasil’s character from Vikram), but that was because he was already on the side of justice. Leo is nothing like Amar.

I am not sure how much damage Leo has caused to Rolex’s business, but if it’s significant, then Leo is in Rolex’s crosshairs. If Leo learns about this threat, he can take up Vikram’s offer. However, does a man who can take out a factory full of violent men really need help? From what we have seen, Rolex feels like one of those self-proclaimed alpha male sales executives who act all high and mighty to create an air of fear and intimidation. Leo will be able to dismantle him within seconds, thereby making him the most dangerous individual in the Lokiverse. But won’t that be at odds with his “simple” lifestyle? Yes, and if you remember, Joshy talked about how everyone’s ability to lie has its limits. Therefore, we can expect that at some point in the future of Lokiverse, Leo is going to stop lying and accept his villainous status. That said, all of this heavily depends on Thalapathy Vijay because there are rumors that he is going to quit acting and join politics. If he does that in the near future, maybe we won’t get to see more of Leo. Also, in India, an actor’s on-screen image sometimes bleeds into their off-screen image. That’s why some actors want to play positive and heroic roles, and Leo seems to be the exact opposite of that. If Vijay decides to continue acting, though, then the possibilities are limitless.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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