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‘Loki’ doesn’t just explore ‘anywhere’, but also ‘anywhen’: creator Michael Waldron

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) in Marvel Studios' ‘Loki’, exclusively on Disney+.   | Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

“Everyone has been asking ‘when are we going to see Loki’s real power?’,” starts Michael Waldron, as he animatedly dives into the upcoming Loki miniseries, starring Tom Hiddleston. “To have six episodes to explore his power has been so liberating because just from a ‘pure superhero abilities’ perspective, we wanted to explore the awesome stuff he can do, and also dramatically too.”

On board as Loki’s creator, executive producer and lead writer by Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Fiege, Waldron is itching for the series to drop already. It is evident as he gesticulates expressively as he puts forth how much Loki as a character means to him.

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Last we saw the Norse trickster god, he had a giant purple hand wrapped around his neck. The shocking demise of Loki at the hands of the mighty Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War broke the hearts of millions everywhere. What would the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) be without his quick-witted jests and pranks and devilish smile?

In 2019, the announcement of Loki, fans already speculated that it would take place in one of the Marvel Universe’s alternate timelines — and they were right. Dissecting and peeling back the layers of the multiverse has been “thrilling” for Waldron, director Kate Herron and the series cast and crew. “It’s a new sandbox, a new corner of the universe to play in. It was certainly a challenge to define the rules of these spaces, the Time Variance Authority and how these branching timelines work. It wasn’t just about going ‘anywhere’ it was about going ‘anywhen’.”

‘Loki’ series creator, lead writer and executive producer Michael Waldron, photographed at D23 Expo, 2019

‘Loki’ series creator, lead writer and executive producer Michael Waldron, photographed at D23 Expo, 2019   | Photo Credit: Disney / Getty Images

At the D23 Expo in 2019 when the project was first announced, Waldron called himself and Herron “custodians of the fans’ love for Loki.” Though he was not a comic-book reader growing up (he admits he came to truly know about Loki through the MCU), storytelling remains an utmost priority for Waldron, who almost reminds us that “this is television we’re doing.”

He continues, “We can pick our spots and slow down in a way a feature film never could, and we can do long and quieter dialogue scenes and build tension and emotion in the way best television has been doing.” But Waldron was keen on creating his own original storyline; taking existing elements from past Loki comics and existing TVA bits and putting his spin on them.

So far, the MCU has been extended into successful miniseries such as WandaVision, following Wanda Maximoff’s evolution into the Scarlett Witch, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, detailing Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes’ partnership.

Loki meets bureaucracy

In the series, Loki is seen tumbling into the hands of the regulation-body Time Variance Authority, headed by Mobius (played by Owen Wilson). The best storytelling comes from an out-of-comfort-zone experience and seeing natural troublemaker Loki at the mercy of the TVA’s bureaucracy is sure to be a spectacle.

At this, Waldron chuckles, explaining that “it was a blast” to tip the scales for Loki while making room for his inevitable naughtiness, Waldron says, “It was a chance for our writers’ room to delve into some therapy, if they ever had to go to the DMV (U.S. Department of Motor Vehicles). While we were writing the show, I was in the process of getting a new passport. And you go back to work and go ‘ugh, you’ll never guess the bureaucratic red tape I have had to deal with! But we got excited, too, and were like ‘That’s the TVA!’ so we used that.”

This in mind, he continues, “Taking an organisation that is so soul-crushing by-the-book, so to speak, in their managing of time and dropping the most chaotic character in all of the MCU smack-dab in the middle of that is just amazing juxtaposition. It’s a great way to have both entities drive one another crazy, instigating a lot of amazing conflict right from the start.”

Waldron-Hiddleston-Wilson trifecta

Waldron — who has worked on notable projects such as Community, Rick and Morty, is writing for upcoming wrestling drama series Heels, and producing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — has nothing but high praise for Hiddleston and his versatility as an actor and storyteller. It was integral that he pushes Hiddleston’s boundaries.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) in Marvel Studios' ‘Loki’, exclusively on Disney+.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) in Marvel Studios' ‘Loki’, exclusively on Disney+.   | Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

“That’s where the collaboration between writers and actors is such a joy...when you push one another,” he explains, “and my goal from day one was to tell a story of Loki that had never been told before. There had been 10 years of stories of this character and we hope folks would’ve seen a fully-realised redemptive arc. Now we are starting with this version of Loki at the end of the first Avengers film. So it was our responsibility to not retread old ground. Tom was more than game for that, in fact, he wanted to do that and go deeper into Loki’s shape-shifting identity.”

Probably one of the best surprises is Owen Wilson thrown into the mix. Known for being the early-2000s romantic-comedy must-cast, seeing him take on the meticulously attentive and seemingly diabolical Mobius will be a delight. So what about Wilson struck a chord with Waldron? “I am the perfect age [33] to have grown up with Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers, Zoolander and Armageddon. I love Owen and he is so great in this show.”

Waldron elaborates on how Wilson and Hiddleston bring varying energies to the show. “Loki is proper and pompous, Owen is folksy and down-to-earth – so right away, energies clash in a way that’s harmonious. But what he shares with Tom is a hard-to-even-put-into-words unique charisma. They [Owen and Hiddleston] both have natural comedic abilities and they can have a purely dramatic conversation and they could play off one another’s energies and make certain the right moments funny and right moments dramatic. I didn’t even have to set up punchlines to get laughs in this show!”

Loki streams on Disney+Hotstar Premium from June 9.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 12:52:10 PM |

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