Tom Hiddleston has said there is something “relatable” about his character Loki’s “vulnerabilities” that draws people towards him.
“I think, over time, I’m made aware of the different things he represents. Some people enjoy his playfulness, his spontaneity, and that inherent sense of mischief he has. Some people enjoy his quality as an antagonist,” Hiddleston said during a virtual press conference on Monday.
“There are some people who are drawn to his vulnerabilities, under all these layers of charm and charisma. There is something really relatable about vulnerability,” the 40-year-old actor added.
Hiddleston also thanked the writers who contributed to creating the personality of the “God of Mischief.”
“I owe it to the writers, everyone who has ever written this character. Starting from Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Payne, who wrote the first four movies, way to Michael (Waldron) and his amazing team,” he said.
“I just love playing Loki. I feel so fortunate that I’m still here and there are just new aspects to the character every time that I learn about it,” he said.
“I was so excited by the idea of series and also had to scratch my head a bit because that scene in Infinity War (when Thanos kills Loki) felt so final and conclusive. It looked like the end of Loki’s story,” he added.
The new teaser clip for the series has officially also confirmed that the impish villain is gender-fluid.
The promotional clip, which was released on Twitter on 6 June, includes a shot of what appears to be a file on Loki kept by the Time Variance Authority – an organisation that polices timeline disruptions and the multiverse.
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Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Kevin Feige & creative team talk Loki | The TVA, D.B. Cooper & the god of mischief
Written by W. Andrew Powell, June 7, 2021
Loki is one of Marvel’s most complicated characters. He’s a hero, a villain, a frenemy, and everything in between, and starting Wednesday, June 9 on Disney+ his series kicks off with a brooding adventure that spans the timeline.
Avengers: End Game setup a chain of events that is likely going to be a big part of the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In that film, Loki, played by the one and only Tom Hiddleston, picked up the Tesseract and vanished to parts unknown. Now, in Marvel’s Loki, we finally get to see what happened to him, and why the Time Variance Authority (TVA) are after him.
Just a hint though, it’s not good, and it’s going to lead to trouble.
As far as the TVA is concerned, it’s a massive organization, and no one there seems to be a fan of the god of mischief’s work. That includes Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson), Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), to name a few.
To launch the new series, the key cast, executive producer Kevin Feige, creator and lead writer Michael Waldron, and director Kate Herron sat down to chat about the who, what, when, where, and why of Loki. Read on for the story of how the team came together, and what to expect from the Marvel series.
So what was it like for Hiddleston when he realized he was going to get to play Loki again? As he admits, it was unexpected.
“[It was ] a combination of delight and surprise. I think it’s probably the accurate way of describing it,” Hiddleston said. “I was so excited by the idea and I also had to scratch my head a bit because that scene in Avengers: Infinity War had felt so conclusive as the end of Loki’s story.”
“But I knew that Avengers: End Game was coming around the corner. And in that scene, in that film, Loki picks up the Tesseract and disappears in a puff of smoke. And where does he go? When does he go? How does he get there? Kevin [Feige] and Louis d’Esposito and Victoria Alonso all reassured me that that would be the starting point of the series. And there were so many places we could go, so many possibilities to think about.”
“And in due course, everybody that you can see [points to the other cast and creators] jumped on and had so many brilliant ideas and created thi new show, which I think is really exciting and I’m happy to be doing it.”
For Kevin Feige, he suggested that they had the plan started for Loki while they were filming the last Avengers movie.
“I think we did not know it when we shot Infinity War, but I think we did know it when we shot End Game,” Feige said. “[That’s] my recollection of it.”
“What that meant and where that specifically would go, we didn’t know, but one of my favourite things coming out of End Game was people saying that we forgot to tie up the loose end of Loki. Loki just disappears. And we forgot to mention what happens to them at the end of that movie. And at that point, we did know that there was Disney+ coming in, and it became very exciting to make people wait until, we figured out what the show would be, and now, finally, two days from it being unveiled to the world is pretty cool.”
After the idea, came head writer Michael Waldron, and his plan for the story.
“I was just thinking Loki is D.B. Cooper. That’s all I was [thinking],” Waldron said. “I was so excited about that opportunity.”
“When I heard that it was going to be a series about Loki. It was already, you know, my favourite character in the MCU and it was going to have a time travel element. Just the opportunities for chaos and fun within that. Obviously it seemed like it would be a great time as writers, so I just went after it and started eliminating my enemies one by one, so I could try to get the job.”
Coming in to direct the series, Kate Herron said that she had a plan to get the job.
“I remember that I found out they were making the show and I told my agent to just call them every day until they caved and it worked,” Herron said. “I just was like, ‘just get me in the room, just get me in the room.'”
“So, yeah, consistency, I guess, and being a pain in the butt, got me the job.”
But there’s a lot more to it than that, as Feige, Hiddleston, and Waldron said. Herron helped shape the whole series.
“We knew we wanted to do a Tom Hiddleston Loki series,” Feige said. “We knew we wanted to have time travel elements. Our producer, Stephen Broussard, Kevin Wright, and I were always fans of this Time Variants Authority organization from the comics.”
“For years and years, we’ve loved the idea of it, but just didn’t know exactly what to do with it before Kevin and Stephen had the idea of putting it up as a major part of this show, but it’s really Kate’s meetings with us and her pitch that brought in all those references and allowed us to look at this in a slightly even different genre than we were anticipating.”
“So that’s my answer. Our inspiration was Kate and her and her pitch for this job.”
And then there’s MCU newcomers Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Wunmi Mosaku. How did they feel about joining the universe of characters?
“Well, it’s exciting to be a part of it. You know, with seeing the trailers start to come out, and how excited people get,” Wilson said.
“I’ve kind of talked about how I worked on a lot of things, but the secrecy sort of surrounding this, I didn’t quite understand until I saw that it’s just so much, and the fan base is so revved up and passionate and Marvel’s just so committed to trying to surprise people. So then you kind of get into it.”
After that, he said he was definitely “walking on eggshells… because you’re not quite sure now if this happened in episode three or four, or one, or have they already seen it? And so I just tend to sort of fall back on ‘There’s some very shocking things that are going to happen.'”
For Judge Ravonna Renslayer, Mbatha-Raw has a lot of story in the comic books, but that didn’t necessary play a part in Loki.
“Well luckily or unluckily for me, Kate explained to me that this was sort of more of an origin story for Ravonna Renslayer, you know, sort of predating some of the stuff in the comics,” Mbatha-Raw said.
“So all that stuff is there, but there was also the opportunity to feel like we were starting with something fresh with the TVA that hadn’t been seen before by fans on screen. But there’s so much there that I feel like there’s plenty of potential for her in the future as well.”
On the other hand, Wunmi Mosaku plays a brand new character, made just for the series. So how did that impact her role?
“Yeah, no pressure because no one’s got any ideas of what they want her to be,” Mosaku said. “I can bring you who she is and you have to accept it, and that’s just as it is. And I kinda liked that because it does feel like a bit of pressure when you’re joining the MCU. It’s like, it’s the MCU and yeah, being able to just have like a clear slate and just do whatever I want to do with Kate and you know, it’s just, it’s great. It’s fun. It’s kind of free.”
Finally, what can you expect from Loki?
“Well, stylistically, I would say like me and my DP, Autumn [Durald], we were really inspired by a lot of film noir… and you can see that in our lighting and how we approached it. Seven is a very heavy influence. There’s a little reference to Seven in episode two, of a little needle drop, which I’m sure fans of that film will recognize instantly.”
For Waldron, he said “I think Fincher for sure… Zodiac and The Silence of the Lambs were two specific [influences] we were really looking at a lot in the writers’ room.”
There is a lot more to cover from the Loki press conference, so stay tuned for more with the cast and creative team throughout the week.
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How Director Kate Herron Created The Trippy, Unfathomable World Of Loki
Spoilers for Loki episode 1 are ahead.
“How do I show a place that’s not on a planet, there’s no sun, and it literally exists outside of time and space?” There was no easy solution to Loki director Kate Herron’s predicament as she helmed the six-episode Marvel Cinematic Universe series about the God of Mischief’s adventures in time travel. The homebase of the Disney+ series is the Time Variance Authority (TVA), an organization that manages the one true timeline. By definition, it cannot exist in any space we’ve yet seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or any space at all, really. So, what’s a director to do?
“My first point was going to the comics and they had these amazing images of desks stretching off into eternity,” she told Refinery29 on the eve of Loki’s June 9 premiere. She added in a bit of Clockwork Orange (it was filmed in her hometown) and some Mid Century decor. “[We brought] those together and little nods to other sci-fi — the font on the computers is like in Alien and the time doors were inspired by Dune — with also just my own experience as an office temp.”
From that image was born what Herron calls “infinite office space.” Outside of the TVA’s inner rooms packed with out-of-date tools monitoring high-tech concepts, is a vast panorama alive with the whir of transport vehicles and city sounds. It absolutely stops Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in his tracks in episode 1, after he’s been dragged to this liminal space by the TVA’s time-traveling hunters, who arrest anyone who steps off their prescribed path. If ever there was a person destined to shirk their prescribed destiny, it’s Thor Odinson’s adopted brother Loki Laufeyson (yep, Loki has a last name, as the series so thoughtfully reminds us).
“He's one of the most compelling characters in Marvel for me because he's only had roughly around 79 minutes of screen time [in the movies],” Herron said, noting that we’ve now got six hours with the character thanks to the new series. “There's so much more to Loki than we've got to see.” Including, she noted, more of his magic.
But in episode 1, Loki’s magic is locked down at the TVA; without his powers, his mischief is far more lo-fi. The TVA’s judge (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is about to have him erased from existence entirely, when an investigator named Mobius (Owen Wilson) insists that he needs Loki to solve his latest mystery. Upon showing Loki his prescribed timeline, Mobius says that Loki only existed to make everyone else around him better. When he sees how his story is supposed to end, our anti-hero is left feeling used and hopeless. He then launches a very shrewd, but ill-fated escape attempt, and Mobius appeals to his wounded ego: There’s another version of Loki loose on the timeline and only the god himself can outsmart the perp. The final scene of episode 1 shows us this other Loki, their face obscured by shadow, giving a bit more credence to those fan theories that we’re about to see other actors as Loki variants.
The open-ended mystery is a thrill because most MCU fans, at this point, know Loki’s history pretty well. It’s why, when the series replays footage of his past traumas, from his struggles in Thor, to accidentally leading dark elves to kill his mother in Thor 2: The Dark World, to eventually being strangled to death by Thanos in Endgame, Herron made sure to keep TVA-bound Loki in each frame, rather than going full-screen with old MCU footage. “I thought it would be really emotional to have almost like a play of Loki’s life on-stage and he's watching this play out and wants to reach out and touch them, but he can't,” said Herron, noting that she was inspired by the interactive footage from Minority Report.
Before bringing this unfathomably complicated world to life, Herron was perhaps best known for directing several episodes of Sex Education. The Netflix series about a teenage boy who gives his fellow students confidential sex advice may not have time cops, but it does share some characteristics with Loki, including a love of witty repartee and Mid Century aesthetics.
“The one thing I definitely consciously brought from Sex Education was [the idea of] wearing your heart on your sleeve and letting emotions feel grounded and real,” Herron said. But how do you ground a series about a time-traveling god defying the lords of time? The director points to the Marvel series’ quieter scenes, moments in which two characters are just talking, and not fighting, astral projecting, or conjuring. “In the second episode, Mobius and Loki have a conversation, and it is kind of almost like two friends talking about religion and what they believe in. It's about always trying to find the emotional truth between the characters.”
While Loki is unexpectedly emotional, it’s also an absolute oddball. One of the first characters we meet is a hand-drawn animated clock named Miss Minutes (voiced by Tara Strong), whose first scene is part Dolly Parton and part Mr. DNA from Jurassic Park (that sci-fi reference that was actually in head writer Michael Waldron’s script, per Herron). Its time travel rules so far amount to “just go with it.” Several of the characters carry around light sticks that can literally erase people from all time. Add to that a backwards folding storyline and a few dashes of theremin music, and you’ve got yourself a delightfully knotty ball of weird.
“This show is really kind of resetting the rules for what people thought time [travel] was going to be,” said Herron. “We had that great moment in the first episode where Loki sees the infinity stones” — in a desk drawer, of all places — “and Casey's like, Yeah, they're paperweights. I just know if I saw that as a fan, I'd be like, What is this place? What's going on?”
That is exactly what we’re all thinking after Loki’s first episode. But the series, like its namesake, is burdened with glorious purpose.
New episodes of Loki premiere on Disney+ on Wednesdays.
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