By Zach Johnson
The time for the Loki press conference has come!
On Monday, cast members Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Wunmi Mosaku joined director Kate Herron, head writer Michael Waldron, and producer Kevin Feige to discuss Marvel Studios’ new original series, which debuts Wednesday on Disney+. In the first of the six episodes, Loki is apprehended by the Time Variance Authority (TVA), which is outside of the timeline, concurrent to the current day Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throughout his cross-timeline journey, Loki struggles to navigate—and manipulate—his way through the bureaucratic nightmare that is the TVA and its by-the-numbers mentality.
Below, enjoy seven highlights from Loki’s virtual press conference:
1. Loki’s story is just beginning.
The time-traveling series picks up in 2012, immediately after Loki escaped with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame. Given that an older Loki had been previously killed in 2018 in Avengers: Endgame (time travel is a trip, isn’t it?), Hiddleston admitted that the offer to reprise his titular role was “a combination of delight and surprise.” Like so many, he wanted to know what was next for Loki: “Where does he go? When does he go? How does he get there?” Marvel Studios producers Feige, Louis D’Esposito, and Victoria Alonso “reassured me that that would be the starting point of the series and there were so many places we could go,” the actor explained. “There were so many possibilities to think about.”
In fact, Loki had been in development for some time. “One of my favorite things coming out of Endgame was people saying that we forgot to tie up the loose end of Loki,” Feige said. “[As if] Loki just disappeared and we forgot to mention what happens to him at the end of that movie. At that point, we knew that Disney+ and the show were coming, so it became very exciting to make people wait until we figured out what the show would be.”
2. Loki is about to be humbled in a major way.
This is Loki as you have never seen him, facing consequences he never thought could happen to such a supreme being such as himself. “What I love about the series is that Loki is stripped of everything that’s familiar to him,” Hiddleston said. “Thor [Chris Hemsworth] 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. 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? Those questions became, for all of us, really fascinating to ask: 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? And 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.”
3. Loki covers a lot of ground—and a lot of land.
Loki spans thousands of years, with characters popping in and out of major moments throughout time all over the world. “When people hear this is a show about Loki affecting historical events, they maybe expect it’s going to be Loki riding with Paul Revere,” said Waldron, “but that’s the lowest hanging fruit version of that [concept]. We wanted to subvert those expectations and go to places that maybe people knew but didn’t know well, that would just be exciting to see.” As an aside, Feige revealed that about a decade ago, a short film idea centered on Loki’s adventures would have seen him running a nightclub like Studio 54 in the 1970s—an idea that “thankfully” was not incorporated into the Disney+ series. “Thanks to Michael and Kate, the show became infinitely more interesting than that,” he said, laughing. “The time periods are almost secondary to the to the story itself.”
4. Tom Hiddleston tutored Owen Wilson with “Loki lectures.”
Mobius M. Mobius (Wilson) is an agent for the TVA who investigates particularly dangerous time criminals. Against the advice of all others, he teams up with Loki to solve his biggest mystery yet. Similar to his character, Wilson didn’t hesitate to interrogate Hiddleston. “Before we started filming, Tom very generously and patiently kind took me through the whole sort of MCU mythology, giving me the ‘Loki lectures,’ and let me ask questions,” said Wilson. “It was really helpful to me going to Loki school before we began.”
Hiddleston said trying to compress his experiences within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was an “interesting” exercise: “Mobius is an expert in Loki. He knows more about Loki than Loki does, so I was trying to help out with some of my memories. Owen asked such insightful, intelligent questions. It made me rethink various aspects of the character.”
5. Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character gets her own origin story.
Mbatha-Raw plays Ravonna Renslayer, who was introduced in the pages of Marvel Comics in 1965 but has never before appeared in the MCU. “Kate explained to me that this was more of an origin story for Ravonna Renslayer, sort of predating some of the stuff in the comics,” she said. “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 onscreen. There’s so much there, so there’s plenty of potential for her in the future as well.”
6. Wunmi Mosaku’s first taste of Marvel Studios secrecy came early.
Mosaku joins the series as Hunter-B15, a high-ranking Hunter in the TVA. Her character was created just for the series and has no comic book origins. “There’s no pressure,” said Mosaku, “because no one’s got any ideas of what they want her to be.” The actress was “so excited” to be cast, especially since she “didn’t know” she’d even auditioned for Loki! “I had been given some dummy sides for an audition and sent it into the ether and thought, ‘Well, it’s top-secret, so it’s probably really important,’” she said. “I got a phone call in the middle of the night saying I’d been offered a part in Loki. I was like, ‘When did I audition for Loki?!’”
7. Tom Hiddleston considers Loki as the role of a lifetime.
“There’s no question that the reason I am allowed to continue to play him is because he clearly means so much to so many people—and for so many different reasons,” said Hiddleston. “That is incredibly gratifying for me, and I see that as a big honor. I think over time, I’ve been made aware of the different things 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. But I know there are some people who are drawn to his vulnerability. Underneath all those layers of charm and charisma and playfulness is a kind of vulnerability, I suppose. I owe all that to the writers, actually, and I owe that to everybody who’s ever written this character.”