GRAZIA: Loki is unlike any other character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he exists in the grey areas where so many of his counterparts are purely good or evil. How far does this series go in absolving or redeeming Loki if at all and how important was this to the story line?
Kate Herron: “I’d say it was hugely important to the story line. Our show is about identity and as you mentioned, the grey area. I think Loki exists very comfortably in that space and we never know whether he’s going to be good or going to be bad. I think a question for me at the core of the show was is anyone truly good or truly bad and aren’t we all just in that grey area?
He’s so chaotic and he’s in this bureaucratic organisation that follows order. I would definitely say that a theme across the show is following identity and that grey area, but not just with Loki, with everyone in the show. Like, will our past actions always define us, or can we move past them, can we grow and how?”
In episode one Loki has such a difficult time grappling with time, his existence, and his purpose. This really brings a sense of humanity to his character perhaps for the first time. Why was this important to reveal first and foremost in the series?
Michael Waldron: “I think it’s because we knew that this was a character that had had several movies of growth beyond this version… Loki experienced the events of Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok and then died in Infinity War. He did sort of arc out a little bit in those movies. And so, it was important to me and to our writers that we bring him up to speed in a way and make him aware of the journey he would have gone on. So that’s in the back of his mind and the audience isn’t just ahead of the hero in that way… And now we get to take this guy on a whole new journey.”
What preparation went into beginning to write this film? As you said, it’s leaning Loki into a whole new journey as well as leaving space for spinoffs and other branches of the Marvel Universe. How did you start that writing journey?
MW: “First I had to dig up all the weird comics from the 70s which had the TVA (Time Variance Authority) in them. It was familiarising myself with that world and then it was going back and really re-watching all the movies with Loki, with an academic psychologist point of view. Trying to diagnose who this character is, because I knew that was the question I wanted to explore. I had to go from experiencing the MCU as just a fan to really studying it almost academically to start that writing process.”
KH: “It was always designed to be these six episodes, so we wanted to tell a good story about Loki. But I guess the most exciting thing I would say for future spinoffs is that we’re setting up the TVA and I hope that Marvel will use them in the future.”
What was it like working with Tom and how involved was he in developing Loki’s identity?
KH: “Tom was very involved. We had this amazing walk around New York where we spoke about the character. We both were really excited about the centre of his identity… As a fan it was very exciting because he was talking about his experiences over the last ten years, but also his acting choices and how he thought Loki felt in each moment. That definitely had an effect across all of the departments. I think it sparked ideas for everyone. He’s been an amazing creative force I would say, across the production.”
There are aspects like the TVA that have been pulled from the comics. How much leeway are you allowed to depart from the rules and laws of the comic books in this series?
MW: “This is a totally original story, Loki has never really [been] in a time adventure like this so there was no particular comics that we were looking at. But what I was doing was drawing inspiration from the comics at every. So, you’ve got a lot of leeway but you’re not doing yourself any favours if you don’t rely on the comics because that is the eternal wellspring of ideas that we can just keep pulling from.”
Where did you draw inspiration for the set?
KH: “I just wanted the show to be this big love letter to Sci-Fi, so I stole from everyone. I’m sure people would see “Brazil”, “Bladerunner”, “Alien”, the book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. I think it’s because we’re going to this really interesting place that’s outside of time and space. It’s not in the past and it’s not in the future. It’s almost this vague office space where there isn’t day and there isn’t night, and I definitely pulled from the comics a lot because they had these amazing images of rows of desks going off into the infinite. That’s what you see in the first episode when Loki looks over the viewpoint, there’s an office that’s a city stretching out into nothing. I think I was definitely inspired by those but also just trying to bring some levels of reality to this weird office. So, I think that was the fun of it, I didn’t really want it to feel super futuristic in a sense. I thought it was more interesting pulling from these different eras.”
The two previous series got tonnes of love from the fans; do you feel the pressure of Marvel’s previous achievement?
KH: “I guess there’s pressure across the whole production. There’s pressure when you set out to tell a very ambitious story because Loki is so beloved, there’s pressure when you’re filming because you’re always up against the clock. And I suppose there’s pressure today in the sense that you pour everything you can into a story, and you try to tell the best story that you can and I’m proud of everything that we’ve done. I think that it’s not really mine anymore now, it’s the audiences.”
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