The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 is off to a flying start with shows like “WandaVision” and “Falcon and The Winter Soldier” satiating a much-needed appetite for Marvel blockbuster storytelling. Nevertheless, the fun doesn’t stop there as everyone’s favourite silver-tongued deity is back to wreak havoc upon the multiverse. Marvel Studios’ “Loki” is set to debut on Disney+ in the coming weeks and we are burdened with glorious purpose to chow down this next series.
“Loki” seems to be an event that is as unpredictable as its title character. The Disney+ series is a time-hopping adventure that will take the God of Mischief out of his usual tricks across Yggdrasil to a place that has no temporal influence. Under the watchful wings of the TVA, he will have to face threats unlike any other. Without his mighty sibling by his side, Loki will only have his wit and mischievous charm to back him up.
That being said, if you’re genuinely confused as to what the general idea behind these series – pfft, what is the TVA? What are those three statues that keep popping up in the trailer? – or maybe you’re one of those people who needs a refresher on all things Loki, just lay your head back here. Relax. We’ve got you covered! Oh, and we’ll torture you with some glorious Asgardian puns while we’re at it.
THE TUBBIES WILL NOT BE TELEVISED?
“Loki” at heart is a sprawling love letter to sci-fi, according to the series director, Kate Herron. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Herron described the series as a “big sci-fi with heart”. Citing “Jurassic Park”, “Blade Runner”, and “Brazil” as being some of the major inspirations on the show, Herron brought a unique level of noir when she first pitched her ideas to Marvel.
As for the development of characters, the writers looked to the AMC series, “Mad Men” as the backdrop for rich storytelling. Head writer, Michael Waldron, notes “Mad Men’s” influence as a philosophical one as much as it is visual. Moreover, it is worthy to note that Waldron was a writer for an episode of Adult Swim’s animated raunch “Rick and Morty”. We could certainly see some concepts from that show make their way into “Loki” (more on that in a *hic* bit).
While the series is set to provide some visually stunning sci-fi sequences, the shocker here is that the crew also drew inspiration from “The Teletubbies”. WHAT IN LAUFEY’S UNDERPANTS IS GOING ON HERE? Are we gonna have faces in the Sun? Like is that what Loki meant when he said “The Sun will shine on us again”? WE HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS!!! And yet, deep down, we love the goofiness of it all!! Hell yeah, bring on the Tele-Lokis!
“I am Loki of Asgard, and I am burdened with glorious purpose…”
Tom Hiddleston’s tenure in the MCU is a decade old now as his character has evolved from borderline bad to an even-bigger villain, before finally redeeming himself as a hero. First appearing in 2011’s “Thor”, all Loki Laufeyson wanted was to be his brother’s equal. Eventually, the corrupt envy for power brought him at odds with the God of Thunder and led him down a dark path of deception and cruel intentions. Along the way, he falls into a wormhole and seemingly dies but NOPE, that smirking lean creature returns almost immediately to fight the Avengers. And, what’s more? He even enlists help from Thanos himself and gains two Infinity Stones in the process!
Now, of course, when you take on a team like the Avengers, you’re facing a challenge unlike any other. They’re not called Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for absolutely no reason. Loki loses his conquest of Earth and is taken back to Asgard for trial. Nevertheless, he is pulled into action once again to thwart the Dark Elves’ plan to conquer the nine realms. Along the way, he seemingly dies again, only to shockingly reveal that he has taken Odin’s place as ruler of Asgard.
The kingdom takes a comedic turn under Loki’s rule. With Thor and Odin gone, he commands for a statue built in his honour. Oh, and there’s a whole play dedicated to his ‘death’ during the Second Battle of Svartalfheim. Life’s good. That is, until Thor returns, proclaiming that the Twilight of the Gods is nigh…
The entire Ragnarok saga is a redeeming arc for Loki. Through the mad deceptions, illusions, and constant backstabbing, deep down, there is a Frost Giant who still has noble intentions within his bosom. After his adopted sister Hela frees herself from her centuries-long prison, Loki and Thor travel to Sakaar and join forces to overcome the new threat. With the help of Surtur, Hela is defeated. Nonetheless, Loki, the sly snake he is, cannot resist taking one final relic from Odin’s vault: the Tesseract.
The God of Mischief finally meets his demise at the hands of the Mad Titan, nobly sacrificing himself during the opening scene of “Avengers: Infinity War”. In a bait-and-switch attempt that goes horribly wrong, Loki hands Thanos the space stone, even offering his expertise to his crew, and gets awfully close to taking out Thanos himself. Nevertheless, the Mad Titan sees through his trick and chokes Loki to death.
So, if Loki dies, why are they making a show about him in the first place? Ah, you see, in the MCU, death is not actually the end…
During the second act of “Avengers: Endgame”, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are on a mission to extract the six Infinity Stones from different points in the past. One of those nodes is the Battle of New York whereby Iron Man and Captain America are tasked with obtaining the space and mind stone respectively. While they succeed at getting the mind stone, the plan receives a Hulk-smash right in its face as Tony loses possession of the space stone. Seeing that everyone else is preoccupied, the trickster picks up the Tesseract and disappears…
To solve one of “Endgame’s” biggest mysteries, “Loki” will pick up where we last saw this variant. While it’s the same roguish Loki that we know and love, in the context of the cinematic universe, it’s a reset of Hiddleston’s character. This is a Loki that has not experienced the deaths of his adoptive parents. Loki número dos here is absolutely unaware that he has a secret sister. And yes, this IS a Loki that just attacked Earth with a Chitauri army!
Sif to say, this Loki will soon jump out of his blue box to help the TVA neutralise threats across time. There will be multiple locations and points in the MCU’s history where the series takes place. Along the way, we will travel to Asgard, a devastated New York, a location where Loki is president, and even a point when Loki takes the place of the infamous D.B. Cooper (seriously, just Google that insane story).
Marvel is definitely confident with their character here as a second season has already been ordered. This marks the first Marvel Studios Disney+ show to obtain a follow-up season. We couldn’t be happier for Hiddleston as audiences continue to enjoy his charming portrayal of Loki on the small screen.
The Time Variance Authority (TVA for short) is a bureaucratic organisation set on keeping tabs on the ever-expanding realities of the multiverse. First appearing in Thor #371, the TVA operates within the Null-Time Zone, an area that exists outside of time and space. Established by the Time-Keepers, they function as a sort of time police, making sure that time-space interference is kept to a minimum.
As the Ancient One explained in “Avengers: Endgame”, the flow of time is linear. Yet, when an object of importance (i.e. an Infinity Stone) is removed from the timeline, the time river splits due to that particular world not being able to defend itself as well. However, there is one remedy, which is to return the said object to its original position to nullify any branches that may have sprouted. Hence, it was of utmost importance that the stones returned to the original timelines after the Avengers defeated Thanos.
Without a doubt, Loki’s gleeful theft of the space stone spawns a branching timeline. This does not go over well with the TVA as they capture him and lay down the rules through their animated clock mascot, Miss Minutes. It is here that they give him an ultimatum: ride with the TVA… or be disintegrated! Fortunately for us, the Miss Minutes TED talk convinces Loki that the organisation is not to be messed. He soon agrees to help the TVA with their time management.
In the comics, high ranking officials of the TVA were all modelled after Mark Gruenwald, one of the famed writers for Marvel back in the 80s. Gruenwald was famous within the circle for being a continuity expert, recalling even the tiniest details to keep the fictional universe intact.
One of the TVA’s most notable agents is Mobius M. Mobius, played by Owen Wilson. Serving as Loki’s conduit into the organisation, he will be seen as an ally to the God of Mischief when their adventures begin. Other notable TVA agents will also be seen such as Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and Hunter C-20 (Sasha Lane).
Since the TVA is able to monitor realities, they also possess a large amount of data on a particular individual. His or her personality could be analysed and used against in order to subdue certain time criminals. Much to the chagrin of Loki, this might prove to be a hassle, as the card tricks he has up his sleeves might not work as well this time around. Maybe, he should just stick to the tried and tested formula that is, “Get Help”.
As we pointed out earlier, Michael Waldron’s involvement in this series simply isn’t a coincidence. If you’re familiar with “Rick and Morty”, it has a whole bazooka load of sci-fi potatoes and shenanigans. Space travel. Dimension hopping. Giant bug wars.
Indeed, one concept the show presents is the idea of characters existing in multiple realities and being able to interact with alternate reality versions of themselves. In “Rick and Morty”, the titular figures deal with an entire population of themselves even visiting a ruled by RIcks. There is a whole council of Ricks. Mortys run the town.
Similarly, Loki might be dealing with multiple variants of himself. As of now, it is unclear as to how many alternate versions we will see in this show. However, we will likely see this particular Laufeyson go to immeasurable lengths to prove himself to be the Lokiest of Lokis.
While we are scarce on details with regards to how this will actually play out, one set photo provides a sneak peek at a possible Loki variant. Actress Sophia Di Martino is seen in this image sporting a familiar dark green suit. Indeed, one could deduce that this is the very same costume worn by Loki in “The Avengers” and “Thor: The Dark World”. Even the gold piece around the neck is there. So… is this supposed to be… Miss-Chief?
For the uninitiated, a female trickster does indeed exist in the source material. After the Ragnarok event wipes out the Asgardians, Loki is reborn as a woman. There’s a naughty twist though, as Loki’s spirit inhabits a body originally intended for Sif.
It remains to be seen whether the hooded figure attacking some TVA agents or the Black Widow look-alike in the purple hues is actually Lady Loki because if that was the case, she could potentially be the big influence in the series. Take note, no official villain has been announced thus far. If we’re to go with our gut, we could assume that Loki’s biggest foe is himself. Or in this case… herself?
Besides, another grain in the rumour mill suggests that Kid Loki and Classic Loki will also make an appearance. The fan speculation that has made rounds suggests that Jack Veal and Richard E. Grant might be playing the aforementioned variants respectively. Again, nothing has been confirmed thus far, but it certainly would be an educated guess considering the premise.
Dealing with the ins and outs of time travel is always complicated. BUT it gets even more mind-bending when there are three ‘space lizards’ involved.
The Time-Keepers are creations of the being known as He Who Remains. Going by the names, Ast, Vort, Zanth, these three were created to protect time itself. These creatures have the ability to manipulate temporal fields to their whims. They could transport individuals to and from any node in time, using them to do their bidding. What’s more? They can move through the fabrics of realities, conjure up energy shields, and blast their enemies with sheer force. They have also been known to remove realities from ever existing. Indeed, the absolute authority they possess throughout the multiverse is one to be feared.
The TIme-Keepers are embroiled in a war for dominance with their divergent counterparts, the Time-Twisters. Together, these beings have been known to destroy or manipulate realities across the multiverse to assert dominance or to ensure their own survival.
Indeed, the Time-Keepers’ commanding presence will be felt throughout “Loki”. Towering statues and massive heads are scattered within the walls of the bureaucracy, showing that the TVA holds them in high regard.
JUDGE, JURY, AND CONQUEROR
Now, we left this detail near the very end because we are shaking with glee for the introduction of this character in “Loki”! Gugu Mbatha-Raw was recently announced to be playing Judge Renslayer, an executive for the Time Variance Authority. Superficially speaking, this might not seem like a big deal. But oh yes! We assure you it is!
You see, it’s all the name. Renslayer just so happens to be the last name of Princess Ravonna, the daughter of King Carelius, a ruler in Earth of the 40th century. Now, this is where things begin to get interesting. Kang The Conqueror, who hails from a millennium before her, is smitten by her. Much like how Thanos chose to wipe out half the universe in “Infinity Gauntlet” to win Death’s affection, Kang chooses to bring the Avengers to the future and challenge them to display his worth.
Ravonna eventually grew fond of Kang even though he did order a full-scale invasion upon her kingdom. She even sacrificed herself to save Kang from a killing shot. Thus ends the tragedy of Ravonna Renslayer.
Like her comic-book counterpart, it appears as though Judge Renslayer will not possess any special abilities like being able to shoot eye-beams or twist reality. But that’s not to say that she would not be a formidable threat in the series as she does have some superhuman durability akin to the Asgardians. A formidable hand to hand combatant as well, Ravonna does have a mastery of the weapons in the TVA’s vault. So, yeah, you wouldn’t want to mess with her.
While Marvel Studios will probably tweak her origins and overall backdrop for this character, it would be a squandered opportunity to just use her in this series and not have her interact with Jonathan Major’s Kang in the future. The Conqueror is set to appear in “Antman and The Wasp: Quantamania” in 2023. Considering that time is not just of the essence, but IS the essence of “Loki”, Judge Renslayer could definitely serve as a way to tie into the overarching narrative they have in store for that prominent Avengers villain.
We’re not gonna shut our mouths until the scarlet demon decides to roll in accompanied by the funky tunes of Gorgoroth.
We know. We know. We’re just not over the whole bait-and-switch thing we experienced with “WandaVision”. Nevertheless, come hither. Just take a good look at this image below. Doesn’t that horned dude in the stained glass scream EVIL-DEMON-WHOSE-NAME-BEGINS-WITH-THE-LETTER-M???
Don’t @ us if he doesn’t actually show up in the series, but in true Grandmaster fashion, Mephisto… uh… finds a way.
Marvel Studios’ “Loki” will be slithering to Disney+ Hotstar on the 9th of June.