The Universe, in all its multifarious forms, seems to have been leading Gugu Mbatha-Raw to her latest role as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s arbiter of temporal justice. In Disney+’s Loki, the 38-year-old British actor plays Ravonna Renslayer, the judge overseeing the mischievous title character’s case.
But according to Mbatha-Raw, this wasn’t the first Marvel role she’s flirted with. “There were a few auditions, the odd offer but near misses, really. There was nothing that really worked out until now,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Renslayer is definitely one of the most complex, powerful and interesting female Marvel characters that has come my way.”
Another indication that the existential bureaucrats of the Time Variance Authority must have had a hand in pushing her toward the role: she studied at the same drama school as co-stars Tom Hddleston, who plays the titular trickster god, and Wunmi Mosaku, who plays Hunter B-15, a chronological enforcer. “I think it’s sort of comforting,” Mbatha-Raw says of the uncanny connections. “When you’re on the right path, you do start to notice the connections in the world. It always fills me with pride to see my peers from drama school succeeding and taking over the world of entertainment.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Mbatha-Raw has played in the superhero genre. In 2018, she starred in director Julia Hart’s indie superhero drama, Fast Color. The film followed a young woman with superhuman powers on the run from the law. Critics praised the film for its lowkey magical realism and its depiction of a matriarchal dynasty of powerful Black women.
In 2019, it was announced that no less a superhuman than Viola Davis herself was developing a TV series based on the film for Amazon Studios with Hard and writer Jordan Horowitz. With so much of the original Fast Color team onboard, it stands to reason that Mbatha-Raw will reprise her role in this timeline, right? Well…she’s not saying no.
“I don’t know. It’s a bit early days for me to comment,” she says. “I can’t really say at this point in time, but I’ll let you know.”
Somebody get the TVA on this, ok?