‘Avengers: Endgame’, the landmark 2019 film that neatly bookended the long-running Infinity War arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, may have completed the stories of many of the main characters — but a certain someone managed to give the Avengers — and even the president of Marvel — the slip.
If audiences remember the film, the Avengers do a little time travelling jaunt in order to stop Thanos, and there we meet Loki, a prisoner, who manages to cleverly escape with the Tesseract. And then he disappears in a puff of smoke.
It is at this point that Marvel president Kevin Feige realised that there is a potential for a Loki story to be told. “I think we did not know it when we shot ‘Infinity War’ but I think we did know it when we shot ‘Endgame’ is my recollection of it,” said Feige in a virtual press conference held on June 7.
“What that meant and where that specifically would go, we didn’t know. But one of my favourite things coming out of ‘Endgame’ 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 him at the end of that movie. And at that point we did know that there was Disney Plus coming and the show coming and then it became very exciting to make people wait until we figured out what the show would be.”
And the result of figuring that out is ‘Loki’, a Disney Plus series dropping on June 9 (on OSN in the UAE), where the Asgardian deity of mischief finds himself apprehended by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) for messing with the Sacred Timeline.
“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 him,” said lead star Tom Hiddleston, who also serves as executive producer on the show. “What makes Loki Loki? And if there is something authentic or something at the centre of him? Is he capable of growth? Is he capable of change? And do his experiences within the TVA give him any insight into who he might be? This material shape-shifter who never presents the same exterior twice? I hope the audience get a kick out of where we take it.”
Having played the character in six movies and for over a decade, Hiddleston is — unsurprisingly — still finding new ways to play the trickster. “I just love playing the character. And I always have. And I feel so fortunate that I’m still here. And that there are still new aspects of the character every time that I learn about. I think he’s a character of huge range. And so it never feels like the same experience.”
Director Kate Herron was excited to helm the series — for more reasons than just being a fan of the genre. “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 centre? 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.”
Loki meets Mobius
At the crux of the story also is the tenuous-but-heartwarming relationship between Loki and Mobius M Mobius, a well-respected figure working within the Time Variance Authority, who needs Loki’s help to apprehend an even more dangerous ‘time criminal’.
Offering some insight as to how Mobius fits into the storyline, actor Owen Wilson said, “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 that there is someone creating real mayhem for the TVA that Loki can help him find.”
Being a newcomer to the MCU, Wilson said at first he found himself on uneven ground, but Hiddleston was at hand to help. “Before we started filming, Tom very generously and patiently kind of took me through the whole sort of MCU mythology — and we’re calling them the ‘Loki lectures’ — and let me kind of ask questions. And I think that was really important and really helpful to our dynamic. Once we started filming the scenes, some of our conversations would work its way in. So that was really helpful to me, going to Loki school before we began,” said Wilson.
Hiddleston also looks back fondly on the time the two actors worked together to form their quirky dynamic. “Mobius is an expert on Loki in that he knows more about Loki than Loki [himself]. So I was going to help [Wilson] with some of my memories and my experience. And Owen asked such insightful, intelligent questions that made me rethink various aspects of the character and our conversations found their way into the scenes themselves. Which is really nice.”
Adding to that, Wilson said, “It was always sort of a chess match a little bit with Mobius and Loki — trying to stay on equal footing with the god of mischief, I sort of have to rely on this awesome weight of the TVA behind me and that’s pretty formidable and, and Loki is just clearly playing catch up.”
Tom Hiddleston on Loki’s long-standing fan base: “There’s no question that the reason I am allowed to continue to play Loki is because he clearly means so much to so many people. And for so many different reasons. And that is incredibly gratifying for me. And I see that as a big honour. I think over time, I’ve been made aware of the different things that he represents for people. Some people enjoy his playfulness and his spontaneity and that inherent sense of mischief that he has. Some people enjoy his quality as an antagonist. Some people probably can’t stand him, I don’t know. But I know there are some people who are drawn to his vulnerability underneath all those layers of charm and courage. And playfulness is a kind of vulnerability I suppose.”
Don’t miss it!
‘Loki’ premieres on OSN on June 9. New episodes drop every Friday.