On June 9th, the first episode of Marvel Studios’ latest series, LOKI, was released on Disney+. Following in the footsteps of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, this latest series aims to explore the much-beloved chaos-loving villain after the events of Avengers: Endgame, where the fate of the character was left – debatably – hanging. As has been discovered since the first episode aired, our favorite God of Mischief’s timeline has gone out of sync and, if he wants to manage to survive, he’ll have to not only learn how to step outside of his brother’s shadow, but he’ll also have to look inward to battle his own personal demons and, quite possibly, himself.
Nightmarish Conjurings attended the press conference for the much-anticipated MCU series, LOKI. While at the press conference, we learned when it was learned that Loki would be getting his own series, what thriller influences were used for inspiration in the series, and how the team is diving into exploring newly introduced characters in the series.
When fans learned of Loki’s fate during Avengers: Infinity War, many thought that it was the end. And they weren’t the only ones who thought that, perhaps, this character was gone for good in the MCU. Producer, President of Marvel Studios, and chief creative officer of Marvel, Kevin Feige explained that his recollection of the situation, prior to letting Hiddleston know of his character’s fate, was that they did not know that they would have plans for him after Infinity War but they did know that there were planning something more by the time they shot Endgame:
“What that meant and where that specifically would go, we didn’t know. But, one of my favorite things coming out of Endgame was people saying, that we forget to tie up the loose end of Loki. Loki just disappears and we forgot to mention what happens to him at the end of that 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.”
Tackling the approach of the show and how to successfully incorporate the Time Variance Authority (TVA) Organization from the Marvel Comics into the overarching Marvel Cinematic Universe was quite the task for the team. But, as revealed throughout the course of the press conference, we learned a lot of the influences and direction of the show had much to do with Director and Executive Producer of the show, Kate Herron, and her collaboration with head writer and Executive Producer, Michael Waldron.
Feige explained that they were interested in the TVA, but not quite sure how to go about it. He placed much of the credit on the ideas Herron brought to the table in approaching how to tackle such a significant component of the Marvel Universe:
“We’ve loved the idea of it. But just didn’t know exactly what to do it. Kevin [Wright] and Stephen [Broussard] had the idea of putting it-putting it, uh, 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 slightly different genre than we were anticipating. Our inspiration was Kate and her pitch for this job.”
As fans who have watched the series so far might have guessed, LOKI is dipping into more of the crime-thriller genre (which for some may be a bit less confusing than the decade hopping sitcom shenanigans in WandaVision). However, there is so much to choose from in terms of stylistic influences, and even storytelling influences from the ever-growing crime-thriller genre. So, when narrowing down influences, Herron and Waldron had a lot to choose from but landed on a few notable notes to rely on when crafting the look and direction of the series. Waldron explained that they were looking at David Fincher’s works, as well as Zodiac and Silence of the Lambs for inspiration.
“Stylistically, I would say, like me and my DP, Autumn [Durald], 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,” shared Herron. “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.”
Now, it wouldn’t be a proper Marvel Studios’ project without introducing its audience to brand new characters. Joining the MCU for the first time, audiences will be introduced to Owen Wilson’s Mobius, Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Judge Ravonna Renslayer, and Wunmi Mosaku’s brand spanking new, never-before-seen character, Hunter B-15. For both Mbatha-Raw and Mosaku, there was less pressure in matching up to how fans would interpret their characters. Particularly, in Mosaku’s case, her role was completely brand new to Marvel period. So, starting completely from a clean slate, helped relieve some of the pressure that one would typically feel in taking on a position within the Marvel Universe:
“No one’s got any ideas of what they want her to be. I can just bring you who she is, and you have to accept it. And I kind of like that because it does feel like a bit of pressure when you’re joining the MCU. It’s the MCU, and being able to just have a clean slate and just do whatever I want to do with Kate, it’s great. It’s fun. It’s kind of free.”
In the case of Mbatha-Raw’s role as Judge Ravonna Renslayer, she was tapping into a character that was already established within the Marvel Comics realm. However, based on the approach that Herron was taking with the role, there was a bit of wiggle room as far as how they would approach bringing Renslayer to life for fans and non-fans alike:
“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. I feel like there’s plenty of potential for her in the future as well.”
When it came time for Owen Wilson to step up to the plate to take on Mobius, a lot of the work that he had to cover pertained to taking on Mobius’ expertise on the titular character. And, as many fans will discover just from the first two episodes, building that important bond between both Mobius and the God of Mischief would become the proverbial glue and draw for the series as time went on. In this instance, he worked extensively with Tom Hiddleston to work on building up his knowledge of the character.
“Tom very generously and patiently kind of taking me through the whole sort of MCU mythology and Loki. We were calling them the Loki lectures, and letting me ask questions. I think that was really important and really helpful to our dynamic once we started filming the scenes. Because some of our conversations, just when we were kind of going over that stuff, would work its way in. So, that was really helpful…me going to Loki school before we began.”
A school of Loki is fitting given the grandiose nature of the character and, as many would soon come to learn, the character has much more in them to explore. Hence, why we now have a fun series for fans to dive right into.
In all, LOKI is MCU’s step into the crime thriller genre and they more than succeed. The series features tons of surprises and a lot of Loki, in more ways than one. After watching the first two episodes, we’re excited to know how the rest of the story will unfold between Loki, Mobius, Judge Ravonna Renslayer, and Hunter B-15. So, keep tuning in each week as we unravel this strange mystery together.