On Monday, the cast, director, writer, and executive producer of Loki assembled for a virtual press conference ahead of the show’s premiere. On hand to discuss Marvel’s latest Disney+ series are Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, director Kate Herron, writer Michael Waldron, and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige. The conference is moderated by Chris Hewitt.
“That scene in Avengers: Infinity War had felt so final,” Hiddleston said. “I knew Avengers: Endgame was around the corner and in that scene Loki disappears with the Tesseract…When does he go? Where does he go? How does he get there?…[the executive producers] reassured me that would be the starting point.”
Feige explains that they did not know this show would be coming when they started working on Infinity War but did know when they developed the story point where Loki disappears in Endgame. He loved the conversations surrounding the movie claiming Marvel Studios forgot to “tie up the loose end” of Loki disappearing. This story will update live throughout the press conference!
Herron is asked how she landed the director job. “I just stalked Marvel basically,” Herron explained. “I found out they were making the show and I told my agent to just call them everyday.”
Owen Wilson gets welcomed by the moderator. “It’s exciting to be a part of [the MCU],” he said. “Seeing the trailer start to come out and how excited people get…the secrecy surrounding this I didn’t quite understand until I saw that the fan base is so revved up and passionate and Marvel’s just so committed to trying to surprise people so then you get into it.” He admits that he is still “walking on eggshells” with some details. “I fallback on some very shocking things that are gonna happen.”
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is asked if she got comic book research thrown at her. “Well, luckily or unlickly for me, Kate explained to me that this is more of an origin story for Ravonna Renslayer, predating some of the stuff in the comics. All that stuff is there but there is also the opportunity to feel like I’m starting something fresh with the TVA that hasn’t been seen before by fans on the screen…there’s so much potential for her in th future as well.”
Wunmi Mosaku’s character does not exist in the comics. She says that provides a “no pressure” opportunity. “I kinda like that,” she said. “It does feel like a bit of pressure when you’re joining the MCU…being able to have a clear slate and just do whatever I want to do with Kate, it’s fun, it’s just kind of free!”
Zodiac and Silence of the Lambs helped inform the murder mystery thriller elements of the show according to Waldron. “The real answer is the real answer is Kate,” Feige interjected. “We’ve loved the idea of it, wee just didn’t know exactly what to do with it before…but it was really Kate’s meetings with us and her pitch that allowed us to bring in all those references.”
What does Hiddleston want the audience to take away from his character’s arc? “What I love about the series is Loki is stripped of everything that’s familiar to him,” he said. “Thor 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 oyu take all of those things Loki has used to identify himself over the last six movies, what remains of Loki? Who is he within or outside of those things? I think those questions for all of us became really fascinating to ask…is he capable of growth? Is he capable of change? Do his experiences with the TVA give him insight to who he might be?…I hope the audience get a kick out of where we might go.”
How did they decide what locations to include? “We just filled a white board in a writer’s room,” Waldron said. “It was kind of walking the line of people hear it’s a show about Loki affecting historical events. I think people maybe expect that means it’s Loki riding with Paul Revere…we wanted to subvert those expectations and go to places maybe people knew but didn’t know well and maybe might be exciting to see.”
Was it tough to balance time periods and timelines? “Early on, it was sort of thee low hanging fruit,” Feige said. “There was ideas for a short film going back almost a decade for Loki running a Studio 54 in the 70s. I think we had some concept art of him on a horse. Thankfully, thanks to Michael and Kate, the story became more interesting than that.”
How was Owen Wilson convinced to join the super hero world? “It didn’t take much convincing,” Wilson said. “It was really the conversations Kate and I had that was a comprehensive phone call where Kate walked me through the idea for the show and the dynamic between Mobius and Loki…I think I signed on right then.”
Did a long-standing relationship with Hiddleston help develop Renslayer and Loki’s dynamic? “There is a comfort!” Mbatha-Raw explained. Having the same teachers and coaches helped them develop a comfort and confidence. Hiddleston, Mbatha-Raw, and Mosaku all have similar experiences together from school and other work.
How did Thor and Loki become two of the funniest MCU characters? “I think they all had a certain amount of humor in the comics,” Feige said. “The answer comes down to the performers and the remarkable talents of Mr. Hemsworth and Mr. Hiddleston…So, it wasn’t necessarily a conscious plan to say let’s make them even funnier now. They have just always been funny and we took that from behind-the-scenes and decided to put it on camera in more recent years.” Herron highlights how she has a comedy background and she wanted to bring the wit out of Loki.
Is there an extra sense of gravity in playing Loki given his extended MCU tenure now? “I just love playing the character and I always have,” Hiddleston said. “I feel so fortunate that I’m still here and there are still new aspects of the character…I think he’s a character of huge range so it never feels like the same experience. Particularly, this time around, I’m surrounded by these amazing people, truly. It’s not something that is lost on me. All my conversations with Kevin and Kate and Michael and my interactions with Owen, Gugu, and Wunmi, we just had a really good time. I think because of Loki’s complexity, new dynamics, new stuff emerges.”
Did Wilson and Hiddleston do anything to develop their chemistry and bond? “I think it was realy this sort of, before we started filming, Tom very generously and patiently taking me through the MCU mythology,:” WIlson said. “Letting me as questions… I think that ws really helpful and really important to our dynamic filming the scenes where we’re going over that stuff…That was really important to me, going to Loki school.”
“It was such n interesting time, trying to comprwss the experience of my time in the MCU, six movies, and Mobius is an expert in Loki, He knows more about Loki than Loki does,” Hiddleston said. “Owen asked such insightful, intelligent questions that made me rethinkv arious aspects of the character. Our conversations found their way into the scenes themselves. In their interactions, because they’re quite intense conversations…at one point, Owen was like, ‘This kind of feels a bit like a play,’ I think maybe there was germ of an idea that settled in Owen’s mind that a theatrical experience might be coming around the corner.”
“It was always sort of a chess match between Mobius and Loki,” Wilson said. “Loki is just clearly playing catch up, I thought that the scenes they were fun to do…They were long scenes…That’s where it started to feel like a play…I think they have some tension and humor.”