Vital Thrills recently got a chance to chat with the cast and crew of Marvel Studios’ Loki, which debuts today on Disney+. Joining the press conference were stars Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Owen Wilson (Mobius), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Ravonna Renslayer) and Wunmi Mosaku (B-15).
Also participating were director Kate Herron, head writer Michael Waldron and producer Kevin Feige.
Hiddleston spoke about revisiting the role of the God of Mischief, calling it “a combination of delight and surprise.” He said, “I was so excited by the idea, and also, I had to scratch my head of it, because that scene in Avengers: Infinity War had felt so final… as the end of Loki’s story.
“But I knew that 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?”
Hiddleston said that Feige and producers Louis D’Esposito and Victoria Alonso told him that that would be the starting point for the series, stating that there were “so many possibilities.” He called it “really exciting.”
Feige said that they didn’t know they were going to do a Loki series when they shot Infinity War, but they did when shooting Endgame. “One of my favorite 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 the movie.’
“And at that point, we did know that 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.”
Waldron was asked about the first thoughts running through his head if he became the head writer for the show to which he responded, “I was just thinking Loki is D.B. Cooper. That’s all I was thinking.
“I was so excited that the opportunity – when I heard it was going to be a series about Loki, who was already my favorite 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 just seemed like it would be a great time as a writer.” He joked that he “started eliminating my enemies one by one, so I could try to get the job.”
Herron said that when she found out that they were making the show, she told her agent to “just call them every day until they caved – and it worked!” She laughed, “Just get me in the room.”
Wilson spoke about being part of the MCU. “It’s exciting to be a part of it, you know, with just kind of seeing the trailer start to come out and how excited people get…
“I kind of talked about how I’ve worked on a lot of things, but the sort of secrecy surrounding this – I didn’t quite understand until I saw that… the fan base is so kind of revved up and passionate, and Marvel’s just so kind of committed to trying to surprise people, so then you kind of get into it.”
Mbatha-Raw talked about her approach to playing Ravonna Renslayer, saying, “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. 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.”
Mosaku plays Hunter B-12, who is a new character to the Marvel universe and hasn’t appeared in the comics. She joked that there was “no pressure because no one’s got any ideas of what they want her to be.” She said, It does feel like a bit of pressure when you’re joining the MCU…being able to just have a clear slate and just do whatever I want to do with Kate – you know, it’s just great. It’s just fun. It’s kind of free.”
Herron gave us a peek at some of the influences she looked at for the series. “Stylistically, I would say that 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.”
Waldron added, “Yeah, I mean, I think 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.”
Feige added, “The real answer is, the inspiration was Kate. We knew we wanted to do a Tom Hiddleston Loki series. We knew we wanted to have time travel elements – our producer Stephen Broussard and our other producer Kevin Wright and I were always fans of this Time Variance Authority organization from the comics for years and years.
“We 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 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 as a slightly different genre than we were anticipating.”
In terms of Loki’s growth in the series, Hiddleston said, “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 of all of those things? And I think those questions became, for all of us, really fascinating to ask. What makes Loki, Loki?
“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 get a kick out of where we take it.”
So, what time periods did they originally consider? Feige said, “Early on, it was sort of this – Michael calls it the low-hanging fruit. Those ideas, as Tom would remember for a short film, going back almost a decade, for Loki in the ’70s. Like running a Studio 54… I think we had some concept art of him on a horse.” He said that because of Herron and Waldron, “the show became infinitely more interesting than that, and the time periods are almost secondary to the story itself.”
Wilson said his conversation with Heron was what convinced him to join the show, and the cast said that Hiddleston gave what they called “Loki lectures” to get Wilson and everyone up to speed on the character.
Marvel Studios’ Loki features the God of Mischief as he steps out of his brother’s shadow in a new series that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Tom Hiddleston returns as the title character and is joined by Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku and Richard E. Grant. Kate Herron directs Loki, and Michael Waldron is head writer.