I must have been feeling “Loki” for having taken on the assignment of attending a virtual press conference at 2:30am for the sake of the God of Mischief. But like most Marvel fans, we were in denial about Loki’s seeming death in The Infinity War installment of the film series, thus was happy to discover that denial has its rewards. It is no small achievement that Tom Hiddleston’s interpretation of the famously unreliable, untrustworthy, petulant anti-hero of the Marvel series, became a firm fan favourite. So much so, Loki warranted having his own show. The relief for all Loki fans (and those Hilddlestoners), is that rumours of his death were very much exaggerated. Well, at least in this Disney Universe.
Tom is back with a time variant bang as Loki, alongside Owen Wilson as Mobius, the Time Variant Authority bureaucrat, seemingly unimpressed by the former’s God status and the whole Marvel gang. Before reading further, here is a quick definition to Time Variants and the Authority who presides over the phenomenon.
Time in the MCU Universe
Time travel in our world does not exist, and the science is sketchy or even theoretical at best. In the MCU universe, zipping back and forth in time was a means to saving the end of the world as we know it. The idea of time travel takes centre stage in “Loki”, as both a means to explain his existence but also as a key anchor in the series storyline.
A Time Variant
Loki is a Time “Variant”—someone/something who does not keep the course in time he is destined for, thus upsetting what is pre-destined to happen by creating several branches of events that should not have happened.
The Time Variant Authority
In the MCU Universe, the Time Keepers are the beings who rule over time and what happens in it, to ensure that everyone and every event keeps to its pre-destined journey, and the TVA, are the ‘police force’ who ensure that variants comply and attempt to correct time that has been upset by a variant.
Present at the recent Press Conference alongside Hiddleston (who also serves as Executive Producer) were the following:
– Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who plays Judge Ravonna Renslaver, Mobius’s Boss Lady)
– Wunmi Mosaku (Hunter 15—a high-ranking soldier of the TVA)
– Kate Herron, the series director (cited as one of BBC’s hot new talent)
– Michael Waldron, Head writer and Executive Producer
– Kevin Feige, Executive Producer and Chief Creative Officer for Marvel Comics
Speaking to the world press on Zoom (a little like the Brady Bunch talking to us on-screen), this is what we learnt about the hotly anticipated series.
You will find out what happened to Loki—at least in this Universe
When we say “this” Universe, to say more would be to spoil. The first episode deftly explains the link between Loki’s demise in Infinity War, what happened to him after he stole the Tesseract in Endgame and how he came to be the protagonist of his own story (instead of just antagonist/antagonising Thor et al.). Loki has always been reliably unreliable, and here, Hiddleston posits the existential question “Is he capable of change, is he capable of growth… this mercurial shapeshifter who never presents the same exterior twice?” You will have to tune in to see if he will…
“Loki” is a crime thriller meets epic adventure
Arrested and captured by the TVA, Loki is drawn into helping investigate and solve a serious crime by a mysterious threat. Loki’s “unique perspective” is needed to locate the culprits and mend the timeline, spanning a six-episode arc that looks to break new ground for the MCU and lay the groundwork for things to come. Director Kate Herron quoted the David Fincher’s thriller 7 as an influence, and writer Michael Waldron agreed and cited other influences such as Zodiac and Silence of the Lambs, but ultimately, according to Feige, the inspiration was and came from Kate Herron herself.
Loki Lectures’ were part of creating the show
Tom Hiddleston, whose portrayal of Loki over the past decade has seen the character become a fan-favourite, shared his vast knowledge of the MCU, Loki’s place in it and his relationships with other characters, with the cast and crew of the series. “I started calling it the ‘Loki Lecture’,” says director Kate Herron. “It was great to ground us all to make sure everyone was on the same page and working from the same angle.”
Over the past decade, ‘Loki’ was part of the brethren of characters that made up the ensemble that was the MCU, and his appearances in the films probably amounted to less than 2 hours in screen time. To evolve a role that was arguably “prominent guest star” into a role that carries an entire show is a big endeavour. Hiddleston’s chemistry with co-star Owen Wilson offers a relationship in conflict with moments of heart and comedy. However, the weight of the series rests heavily on Hiddleston’s shoulders, and he does not disappoint. After living and breathing the character for over a decade, it is quite possible that Loki’s twinkle and charm that makes him a brilliant God of Mischief, is something inherent in the actor that plays him.
Filming the production was an epic effort, with the pandemic stopping and starting work, but in the end, the results speak for themselves.
Catch Loki on Disney Plus Hotstar in Malaysia.