Interviews TV

Everything You Know Is About To Change: The Cast Of Loki Takes Us Into The Unknown

Marvel Studios’ Loki, is a series unlike any other that will not only change everything we thought we knew about the MCU but open the doors to endless possibilities. Created as an original live-action series exclusively for Disney+, it showcases the mercurial God of Mischief as he steps out of his brother’s shadow, and questions everything he thought he was, thought he knew, all while testing his capabilities.

Described as a crime-thriller meets epic adventure, it takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Loki the character and the show is created with boldness that is willing to step out of its comfort zone.

In his cross-timeline journey, Loki finds himself a fish out of water as he tries to navigate—and manipulate his way through the bureaucratic nightmare that is the Time Variance Authority and its by-the-numbers mentality. This is Loki as you have never seen him. Stripped of his self-proclaimed majesty but with his ego still intact, Loki faces consequences he never thought could happen to such a supreme being as himself. In that, there is a lot of humor as he is taken down a few pegs and struggles to find his footing in the unforgiving bureaucracy of the Time Variance Authority and from there things get wild.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

In celebration of the series, Marvel Studios held a press conference with Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Kate Herron (Director), Michael Waldron (Head Writer) and Kevin Feige (Producer).

“I was so excited by the idea [of Loki returning]. And also, I had to scratch my head of it because that scene in Avengers: Infinity War had felt so final. Had felt so conclusive as the end of Loki’s story. But I knew Avengers: Endgame 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?” said Tom.

“Kevin and Louis D’Esposito and Victoria Alonso all reassured me that would be the starting point of the series. And there were so many places we could go. So many possibilities to think about. It was in due course [because] everybody had so many brilliant ideas and created this new show which I think is really exciting and I’m [just] happy to be doing it,” Tom continued.

Miss Minutes (voiced by Tara Strong) in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

As Kevin Feige once stated, “This series breaks new ground for the Marvel Cinematic Universe before it, and lays the groundwork for things to come.” The starting point of the series is the moment in Avengers: Endgame when the 2012 Loki takes the Tesseract—from there Loki lands in the hands of the Time Variance Authority (TVA), which is outside of the timeline, concurrent to the current day Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, this plan wasn’t always set in stone.

When it came to the specifics of how and where the series would go, Kevin admits, “specifically [where it] would go, we didn’t know. But one of my favorite things coming out of Endgame was people saying, we forget to tie up the loose end of Loki. Loki just disappears and we forgot to mention what happens to him at the end of that movie. And, at that point, we did know there was Disney+ coming and the show coming. It became very exciting to make people wait until we figured out what the show would be. And now, finally [all will] be unveiled to the world is pretty cool.”

For Kate and Chris they were eager and willing to join the show by any means necessary because of the multitude of opportunities the direction of the show could take. Joining Marvel Studios presents an air of excited anticipation when filmmakers collaborate with a shared vision for the new, innovative series.

(L-R): Hunter D-90 (Neil Ellice), Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

For Michael, he knew the show would offer, “opportunities for chaos and fun within that [and] obviously it just seemed like it would be a great time as a writer. So I just went after it. An started eliminating my enemies one-by-one,” he said with a chuckle.

When Marvel Studios discovered Kate Herron, the British director who made a splash directing the critically acclaimed Netflix Original, Sex Education, they knew they had found the right fit and that she would be able to help interpret Loki’s journey through the six-episode arc. Recalling a meeting with Kate, Kevin felt after the first meeting she is the person who understands the spirit of what Marvel Studios would love to achieve, and she wasn’t just going to execute those ideas but was going to push them even further. Kate came prepared with an extensive visual pitch that was unlike anything seen before. She left no scene unturned and had a
complete vision of how to translate this series to screen and create something wholly unique to the MCU.

“I just stalked Marvel, basically. Like, I remember 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. I just was like, ‘just get me in the room. Just get me in the room.’ So, persistence and being a pain in the butt got me the job,” said Kate.

(L-R): Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

As viewers will soon find out Kate’s scripts brings an earnestness and a grounded reality to everything that showcases her love for the characters.

“I love genre cinema, and I love sci-fi and I love fantasy, but, what was really important to me was stripping away all the fantastical elements to find the heart of this story. In Loki, if we took away all the bells and whistles of this story, what is the relatable message at the center? For me, it was a journey of self-discovery and someone trying to find their place in the universe because, obviously, we literally delete his universe. We delete his reality. It’s a story of reinvention and also morality. Can Loki find goodness in himself? Loki’s journey, to me, is really about acceptance of himself,” said Kate.

“Stylistically, I would say, me and my DP, Autumn, we were really inspired by a lot of film noir films. And you can see that in our lighting and how we approached it. Se7en is a very heavy influence. There’s a little reference to Se7en in episode two of a little needle drop, which I’m sure fans of that film will recognize instantly. Fincher for sure. Zodiac  and Silence of the Lambs were two specific ones that we were really looking at a lot in the writers room,” Kate finished.

(L-R): Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Making his debut in the MCU is Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius who is perfectly paired with Tom Hiddleston delivering scenes together that range from feeling like an intimate play to being part of a cat-and-mouse game between the two.

As an agent for the Time Variance Authority who specializes in the investigations of particularly dangerous time criminals, his goal is to stop a certain threat against the TVA increases, leading Mobius to follow his gut and takes his biggest risk to date—he’s going to deputize and partner up with Loki.

Offering some insight as to how Mobius fits into the storyline, Owne says, “Mobius is a detective in the TVA [Time Variance Authority]. He’s a little bit like Nick Nolte getting Eddie Murphy out of jail in 48 Hours to help him investigate. It’s a little bit of that kind of idea where Mobius believes in this investigation and the fact there is someone creating real mayhem for the TVA that Loki can help him find.” Since Loki is gonna Loki, “Working with Loki, of course, is a little bit of a chess match to gain his trust, and Loki seeing how far he can go with Mobius. And who’s manipulating whom? And whose purposes ultimately are going to be served, and who is going to win out in this match between them? But I think in that shared endeavor that there is something, if not a friendship, then there’s some sort of interesting dynamic between them that maybe you haven’t seen the Loki character have in the Marvel movies.”

(Counter clockwise from top center): Judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Throughout the years we’ve seen Owen in so many comedic films where there’s a natural lightheartedness and likability to him. But in Loki viewers will see him play  heavier emotions similar to a bad cop when the moment calls for it. For Owen it was an exciting experience.

“Well, it’s [exciting to see] how excited people get. And [the] secrecy sort of surrounding this, I didn’t quite understand until I saw that the fan base is revved up and passionate. And Marvel’s just so committed to trying to surprise people. So, then you kind of get into it. So, I just tend to sort of fall back [when there’s] some very shocking things that are gonna happen.”

Gugu who is also new to the MCU plays Judge Ravonna Renslayer a character known from the comic books. She found her indoctrination into everything Loki refreshing. “Kate explained to me this was more of an origin story for Ravonna Renslayer. Predating some of the stuff in the comics. So [there’s also an]opportunity to feel like we were starting with something fresh with the TVA that hadn’t been seen before by fans on screen. I feel like there’s plenty of potential for her in the future as well. I don’t think I’ve ever played such an authoritative character, as a judge and the role that she has. She’s powerful. She’s well respected. She’s worked her way up.”

Judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) in Marvel Studios’ LOKI exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

While there’s plenty of backstory and theories about Judge Ravonna Renslayer already circling online, Wunni’s Hunter B-15 is an entirely new character created for the show. Hunter-B15 is a high-ranking Hunter, determined to find and delete The Variant for taking down TVA troops. She’s tough, fair, by the book and none too pleased with Mobius’ laissez-faire demeanor.

Describing her character, Wunmi Mosaku says, “She’s a badass. She’s proficient physically, and she’s strong. She’s dedicated and loyal. She is a diehard, absolute super fan of the TVA and believes she was created there and that the timekeepers are her superiors and like gods.” There was no pressure to play her because “no one’s got any ideas of what they want her to be. I can [just] bring you who she is, and you have to accept it. And I kind of like that because [there is] a bit of pressure when you’re joining the MCU. It’s the MCU. [But it’s a] clean slate and just do whatever I want to do, it’s just fun. It’s kind of free.”

Tom Hiddleston has already played Loki six times, but those films were about Loki’s connection to Thor and Loki’s connection with his family. So after participating in a meeting with Marvel Studios filmmakers, he also posited a series of questions of his own: “Where do we go now? What have we not done? What’s new? What’s original?”

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

“That was the most inspiring conversation,” recalls Hiddleston. “I remember leaving it thinking, this is going to be very, very new because the character has got so much breadth and so much depth. That’s been the gift to me as an actor. Loki is almost this endlessly fascinating box of tricks where the moment you think you know him he reveals something else.He seemed to be a bit of a misunderstood villain.”

“What I love about the series is Loki is stripped of everything that’s familiar to him. Thor is not close by. Asgard seems some distance away. The Avengers for the time being aren’t in sight. He’s stripped of his status and his power. And, if you take all those things that Loki has used to identify himself over the last six movies, what remains of Loki? Who is he within or outside all of those things? And I think those questions became, for all of us, really fascinating to ask. I what makes Loki Loki? And, if there is something authentic or, something at the center of him, is he capable of growth? Is he capable of change? Do his experiences within the TVA give him any insight into who he might be? This mercurial shapeshifter who never presents the same exterior twice. I hope the audience gets a kick out of where we take it.”

Loki is now streaming on Disney+.

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