Loki (TV series)

Loki
Loki (TV series) logo.png
Genre
Created byMichael Waldron
Based onMarvel Comics
Directed byKate Herron
Starring
Music byNatalie Holt
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes2
Production
Executive producers
Production locationsAtlanta, Georgia
CinematographyAutumn Durald Arkapaw
Editors
  • Paul Zucker
  • Emma McCleave
  • Calum Ross
Running time51–54 minutes
Production companyMarvel Studios
DistributorDisney Platform Distribution
Release
Original networkDisney+
Original releaseJune 9, 2021 (2021-06-09) –
present (present)
Chronology
Related showsMarvel Cinematic Universe television series
External links
Official website

Loki is an American television series created by Michael Waldron for the streaming service Disney+, based on Marvel Comics featuring the character of the same name. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it shares continuity with the films of the franchise and takes place after the events of the film Avengers: Endgame (2019), in which an alternate version of Loki created a new timeline. Loki is produced by Marvel Studios, with Waldron serving as head writer and Kate Herron directing for the first season.

Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as Loki from the film series, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Eugene Cordero, Tara Strong, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino, and Sasha Lane also starring. By September 2018, Marvel Studios was developing a number of limited series for Disney+, centered on supporting characters from the MCU films. A series featuring Hiddleston as Loki was confirmed in November 2018. Waldron was hired in February 2019, and Herron had joined by that August. Filming began in January 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia, but was halted in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production resumed that September and completed in December.

Loki premiered on June 9, 2021, and will consist of six episodes. It is part of Phase Four of the MCU. A second season is in development.

Premise

After stealing the Tesseract during the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), an alternate version of Loki is brought to the mysterious Time Variance Authority (TVA), a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space and monitors the timeline. They give Loki a choice: face being erased from existence due to being a "time variant", or help fix the timeline and stop a greater threat. Loki ends up trapped in his own crime thriller, traveling through time and altering human history.[1][2][3]

Cast and characters

  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki:
    Thor's adopted brother and the god of mischief, based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name.[4] This is an alternate, "time variant" version of Loki who created a new timeline in Avengers: Endgame (2019) beginning in 2012.[5] Because of this, he has not gone through the events of Thor: The Dark World (2013) or Thor: Ragnarok (2017), which reformed the previously villainous character before his death in Avengers: Infinity War (2018).[6][7] Hiddleston expressed interest in returning to the role in order to explore Loki's powers, particularly his shapeshifting, which plays into the series' exploration of identity.[7] Loki's sex in the series is denoted by the Time Variance Authority as "fluid", referencing the character's genderfluidity in Marvel Comics that had previously been speculated on for the MCU given his shapeshifting ability.[8][9] Head writer Michael Waldron said he was aware of how many people identify with Loki's genderfluidity and were "eager for that representation".[10] Waldron compared Loki to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs since both were adopted and love being in control.[11]
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer:
    A former Hunter of the TVA who rose from the ranks to become a respected judge; she oversees the Loki variant investigation.[12]:8 Director Kate Herron compared both Mbatha-Raw and Renslayer to chameleons, and said Renslayer was always "trying to dance the line" with Mobius of being both his superior and his friend. Herron added that Mbatha-Raw brought a warmth to Renslayer, while also channeling her pain.[12]:8 Loki explores the origins of Renslayer, which predates the character's appearances in the comics, and Mbatha-Raw enjoyed being able to start "something fresh" with the character.[13]
  • Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15:
    A high ranking Hunter of the TVA determined to stop the variant that has been killing Minutemen troops.[14][12]:9 Mosaku called B-15 a "badass" who is a loyal devotee of the TVA, with a strong affinity for the timekeepers, whom she believes are gods.[12]:9
  • Eugene Cordero as Casey: A TVA receptionist.[15]
  • Tara Strong voices Miss Minutes:
    The animated anthropomorphic clock mascot of the TVA.[16][17] Strong voices Miss Minutes with a "Southern drawl",[18] which Herron felt was a representation of Waldron, since he is from the Southern United States. After being created solely to introduce the TVA, the writers found more ways to include Miss Minutes in the series since they found her to be a fun character.[19] Her design was inspired by Felix the Cat and other cartoons from the early 20th century, with Herron calling Miss Minutes a "Roger Rabbit kind of character".[18]
  • Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius:
    An agent of the TVA who specializes in the investigations of particularly dangerous time criminals.[12]:7[7] Herron likened Mobius to a hard-boiled detective,[20] with Wilson comparing him to the character Jack Cates in 48 Hrs. (1982).[12]:7 Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige noted that the character is similar to Wilson in that he is unfazed by the MCU;[7] Hiddleston helped Wilson prepare for the role by explaining and showing him moments from the MCU films, which Wilson felt was useful for when Mobius interviews Loki in the series.[7][21] Wilson and Herron examined Good Will Hunting (1997) as inspiration for Mobius being a mentor and therapist for Loki who still pushes him.[22]
  • Sophia Di Martino as the Variant:
    A variant of Loki who is attacking the "Sacred Timeline".[23] Di Martino said Hiddleston had "looked after" her and gave her advice on playing the character,[24] while she did her own research and preparation for the role. Hiddleston felt Di Martino incorporated "certain characteristics" he uses for Loki to portray the Variant, while still making the character "completely her own".[25]
  • Sasha Lane as Hunter C-20: A TVA Hunter kidnapped and tortured by the Variant.[26]

Additionally, Richard E. Grant has been cast in an undisclosed role.[27]

Episodes

No.TitleDirected by [28]Written byOriginal release date [29]
1"Glorious Purpose"Kate HerronMichael WaldronJune 9, 2021 (2021-06-09)
Loki is arrested by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) when he creates a new timeline after escaping from the Battle of New York with the Tesseract in 2012.[a] The TVA resets the timeline, and this "variant" Loki stands trial in front of Judge Ravonna Renslayer for crimes against the "Sacred Timeline". Loki blames the situation on the Avengers, who had traveled back in time to 2012, but Renslayer says their actions were meant to happen unlike Loki's escape. Agent Mobius M. Mobius takes Loki to the Time Theater to review his past misdeeds and question his history of hurting people. He reveals that Loki, in his intended future, inadvertently causes the death of his adoptive mother Frigga.[b] Loki attempts to escape, but gives up after realizing that the TVA's power exceeds that of the Infinity Stones. He returns to the Time Theater and watches more future events, including his own death at the hands of Thanos.[c] He then agrees to help Mobius hunt another Loki variant who has killed several TVA agents and stolen their timeline-resetting charges.
2"The Variant"Kate HerronElissa KarasikJune 16, 2021 (2021-06-16)
Loki joins a TVA mission to the site of an attack by "The Variant" in 1985 Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but derails it by stalling and attempting to bargain his way into meeting the Time-Keepers, who created the TVA and the Sacred Timeline. Mobius convinces Renslayer to give Loki another chance. After researching TVA files, Loki theorizes that the Variant is hiding near apocalyptic events throughout time where their actions do not affect the timeline. Loki and Mobius confirm this possibility by visiting Pompeii in 79 AD, before deducing that the Variant is hiding during a hurricane in 2050 Alabama. Loki, Mobius, and TVA agents are ambushed there by the Variant, who possesses the bodies of several locals and TVA agent Hunter B-15. The Variant reveals herself to be a female version of Loki and rejects his offer to overthrow the Time-Keepers together. She sends the stolen, activated reset charges to various points along the Sacred Timeline, creating numerous branched timelines and throwing the TVA into disarray. She teleports away and Loki follows her.
3TBAKate HerronBisha K. Ali[30]June 23, 2021 (2021-06-23)

Production

Development

By September 2018, Marvel Studios was developing several limited series for its parent company Disney's streaming service, Disney+, to be centered on supporting characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films who had not starred in their own films, such as Loki; the actors who portrayed the characters in the films were expected to reprise their roles for the limited series. The series were expected to be six to eight episodes each and have a "hefty [budget] rivaling those of a major studio production". The series would be produced by Marvel Studios, rather than Marvel Television which produced previous television series in the MCU. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was believed to be taking a "hands-on role" in each series' development,[31] focusing on "continuity of story" with the films and "handling" the actors who would be reprising their roles from the films.[32] Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed in November that a series centered on Loki was in development and that Tom Hiddleston was expected to reprise his role from the film series.[33]

The series was expected to follow Loki as he "pops up throughout human history as an unlikely influencer on historical events".[34] Marvel Studios chose to make a series about Loki because of his story potential, and because he had lived for thousands of years in the MCU and a series could fill in the blanks of his various unseen adventures.[7] The series also provided Marvel Studios the opportunity to work with Hiddleston more, explore the character beyond his supporting role in the films, and show him build new relationships rather than just developing his relationship with Thor.[7][35] This allowed Loki's previous film appearances to retain their integrity, so the series did not have to retread those storylines.[7]

Hiddleston considered Loki's death in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) to be the emotional end of his character arc, though he knew when he filmed the death scene that he would make a cameo appearance in Avengers: Endgame (2019).[36] That Endgame scene sees a 2012 version of Loki escape with the Tesseract, which was not intended by the writers to set up a future television series as Loki was not planned then. Hiddleston was unaware of where Loki had gone with the Tesseract when he filmed the scene in 2017,[7] and did not learn about plans for Loki until around six weeks before Infinity War was released. He kept plans for the series a secret until the official announcement later in 2018, and later expressed excitement about being able to develop Loki differently by taking an earlier version of the character and bringing him into contact with new, more "formidable" opponents.[36]

Michael Waldron was hired as head writer and executive producer of the series in February 2019, and was also set to write the first episode.[34] Waldron felt the series was an opportunity for "chaos and fun", such as connecting Loki to the story of D. B. Cooper,[37] and his pitch to Marvel was to create a "big, crazy, fun time adventure" that would explore a new corner of the MCU and do something unexpected in each episode that would "blow up" the audience's ideas of what the series is.[38][12]:3 Kate Herron, a fan of Loki, prepared a 60-page document for her pitch to be the series' director, feeling that a display of passion for the character would differentiate her from more experienced directors that were being considered. After developing her pitch during several interviews over Zoom with Marvel Studios executives Kevin Wright and Stephen Broussard, the London-based Herron was flown to Burbank for a meeting with top executives including Feige, Victoria Alonso, and Louis D'Esposito.[39] Wright believed Herron's pitch had a "complete vision" of how to take the ideas for the series and turn them into something "wholly unique" to the MCU.[12]:2 In August 2019, Feige met with Herron in London to offer her the job as director for the series. Within 48 hours, she flew to New York to meet Hiddleston and discuss the character with him, and then went on to Disney's D23 Expo event where she was announced as director and executive producer.[28][39] After Waldron signed on to write the MCU film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) in February 2020, writer Eric Martin was promoted to handle the day-to-day needs of the series including being the lead writer on set, with Waldron and Martin later collaborating on any rewrites for the series.[11] The first season consists of six, 40–50 minute episodes.[40][41][42] In addition to Waldron and Herron, executive producers for the series include Feige, D'Esposito, Alonso, Broussard, and Hiddleston.[43]

Development on a second season had begun by November 2020.[44] In January 2021, Waldron signed an overall deal with Disney and part of that deal included his involvement in the second season of Loki "in some capacity".[45] Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore, who served as an executive producer on the series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, believed Loki had "really irreverent and clever and cool" storylines that lent to the series having multiple seasons rather than being a one-off event.[46]

Writing

Hiddleston promoting the series at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con

Elissa Karasik,[47] Bisha K. Ali, Eric Martin,[11] Tom Kauffman,[48] and Jess Dweck served as writers for the series,[49] working for 20 weeks to create the series' scripts. Waldron found this period challenging because he also had to write the pilot episode, which is normally done in a separate development period before additional writers are hired, to establish the world of the series while conceiving story elements for the rest of the episodes.[48] Loki takes place after Avengers: Endgame, which saw Loki steal the Tesseract during the 2012 events of The Avengers (2012) and unwittingly create an alternate timeline from the main MCU films.[50][51] In the series, this "time variant" of Loki travels through time and alters human history,[1][5] with the series exploring the questions "Where did Loki go after he picked up the Tesseract? Could Loki ever make a friend? [W]ill the sun ever shine on him again?".[28] Exploring alternate timelines and the multiverse allowed Loki to introduce versions of other MCU characters in addition to other versions of Loki.[7] Waldron also hoped to explore more complex character questions such as what makes a person "truly good or truly bad",[7][52] and what makes a hero, a hero, or a villain, a villain.[7] He added that the series' setting in an alternate timeline meant it did not have to deal with the "immediate grief and aftermath" of Endgame and could instead "blaze a little bit of a new trail into a new corner of the MCU", which differentiates it from Marvel Studios' previous two Disney+ series WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier that are set shortly after Endgame.[53]

Part of Waldron's pitch to explore a new corner of the MCU included introducing the Time Variance Authority (TVA),[38] an organization that monitors the various timelines of the Multiverse.[3] Feige and Broussard had hoped to introduce the TVA into the MCU for years, but the right opportunity did not present itself until Loki. The introduction of the TVA convinced Hiddleston to make the series.[7] Waldron felt the organization was fun because it presents something as "remarkable" as time travel as "soulless" and bureaucratic.[53] Herron infused the series' depiction of the TVA with details and knowledge from her time as a temp worker,[20] and the writers added "fun flourishes of discontinued things" from the past that the TVA would be able to access such as drinks from the 1990s like Josta and BoKu.[54][55] The writers worked hard to conceive how time travel works at the TVA to ensure the audience would be able to easily grasp the concept and rules, expanding upon the method that was introduced in Avengers: Endgame. Waldron felt it was important to make this logic air-tight because, being a weekly series, the audience would have a week between each episode to "pick this apart".[11] Speaking to the locations visited in the series, Waldron hoped to subvert the audience's expectations of Loki appearing at various monumental events in history, instead choosing to go places the audience knows "but didn't know well and maybe might be exciting to see".[13]

Waldron felt that exploring the TVA's perspective on time and reality would help examine Loki's struggle with identity.[7][56] He noted that the character had been out of control at pivotal parts of his life throughout the MCU films,[56] and the TVA's place working with different timelines would take him further out of his comfort zone. Waldron explained that the nature of the work done by the TVA made the organization "uniquely suited to hold up a mirror to Loki and make him confront who he is and who he is supposed to be".[7] Hiddleston also felt the series was about identity, as well as the difficulty of self-knowledge and self-acceptance,[7] and "integrating the disparate fragments of the many selves that [Loki] can be", pointing to the series' logo, which features the "Loki" title shifting through various fonts, as an indication of this.[57] As well, Hiddleston believed Loki was about the value of time and what it is worth to a person.[7] Broussard stated that in addition to the time travel element, the series would have a "man-on-the-run quality to it",[58] with Waldron adding that there was an unexpected science fiction quality to the series,[59] which also explores mysterious conspiracies and bending reality.[1] Loki also has murder mystery thriller elements.[13] Love stories are also a part of the series, with Waldron highlighting the platonic love story between Loki and Mobius that is similar to the one between the characters Carl Hanratty and Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can (2002).[11]

Waldron said the series was structured as individual short stories rather than a six-hour film split into episodes, comparing his approach to the series The Leftovers and Watchmen.[11] The series Mad Men was a philosophical and aesthetic inspiration for Loki, since Waldron believed it was a good example of a "rich character study" which is what he was aiming for in Loki.[20] Other inspirations include Before Sunrise (1995), Catch Me If You Can, Quentin Tarantino films,[11] David Fincher films like Seven (1995) and Zodiac (2007),[37] The Silence of the Lambs (1991),[13] Toy Story (1995), Armageddon (1998),[60] and the series Rick and Morty (which Waldron was a writer on).[11] Loki does not adapt a particular storyline from the comics, despite various comic references appearing.[61] The Kid Loki story in Journey into Mystery, written by Kieron Gillen, was an inspiration to Waldron because it explored the character's humanity in a vulnerable space that is only possible with a child (and not necessarily because there is a child version of Loki in the series).[11]

Feige stated in November 2019 that the series would tie-into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,[62] but ahead of the series' premiere he would not reconfirm this or whether the series would tie in with any other MCU projects.[7] However, he did say the series would be "tremendously important" and would "lay the groundwork" for the future of the MCU, having more impact on the MCU than WandaVision or The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did.[63][12]:1 Waldron noted that, as with all MCU properties, the aim was for Loki to have "wide-reaching ramifications" across the franchise.[64] He collaborated closely with Jeff Loveness, the writer of the MCU film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), since that film deals with the Quantum Realm and is closely tied to the multiverse.[11] As well, Ali became the head writer of the Marvel Studios series Ms. Marvel (2021).[11]

Casting

With the November 2018 announcement of the series, Hiddleston was expected to reprise his role as Loki,[33] with his involvement confirmed in February 2019 by Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan F. Horn.[4] In November 2019, Sophia Di Martino was cast in the "highly contested" role of the Variant, a female incarnation of Loki.[65][23] Waldron wanted to cast an actress in the role that matched the energy that Hiddleston brought to Loki, and described Di Martino as an accomplished British actress with not much familiarity to U.S. audiences whose prior work had "blown [him] away".[24] In January 2020, Owen Wilson joined the cast as a "prominent character",[66] later revealed to be Mobius M. Mobius,[7] with Gugu Mbatha-Raw cast the following month as the female lead Ravonna Renslayer, also said to be a "prominent character".[5][67]

In March 2020, Richard E. Grant was cast in an undisclosed role for a single episode of the series,[27] that September, Sasha Lane was revealed to have also been cast as Hunter C-20,[68][69] and in December, Wunmi Mosaku's casting was revealed,[70] with Mosaku playing Hunter B-15.[14] In April 2021, Eugene Cordero was revealed to be appearing in the series as Casey,[71][15] while voice actress Tara Strong was revealed to be voicing Miss Minutes with the series' premiere.[16] By December 2020, Jaimie Alexander was reported to have the potential to reprise her role as Sif in the series from past Thor films.[72]

Design

Herron worked with costume designer Christine Wada to create costumes that were "an outer reflection of the inner story" and would reflect the "wear and tear" throughout the series. Loki has a multitude of costumes in the series that reflect his journey;[12]:10–11 the comic miniseries Vote Loki inspired one of Loki's looks in the series.[73] Mobius' look in the series is meant to resemble Marvel Comics editor Mark Gruenwald, who was Marvel's "top continuity expert", as each member of the TVA in the comics is meant to be a clone of Gruenwald.[5] Herron had initially imagined Mobius to have a scruffy look, but she and Wilson decided that it was not working. Wilson remembered a time he was on Saturday Night Live with silver hair and felt that would be an interesting direction to take the character; that ended up being part of the character's look.[22]

For the design for the TVA, Herron pulled visual inspiration from the films Metropolis (1927), Blade Runner (1982), and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and the Brutalist architecture of southeast London to mix with the "midwest style" of the series Mad Men. She also looked to the "retro-futuristic" visuals of Brazil (1985). From the comics, Herron was drawn to "these amazing images of desks going on into infinity" to incorporate into the TVA design.[18]

Filming

Filming began in January 2020,[66][74] at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Atlanta, Georgia,[12]:9 with Herron directing,[28] and Autumn Durald Arkapaw serving as cinematographer.[41][12]:2 The first season was filmed under the working titles River Cruise and Architect.[75][76][77] Herron had a strong desire for Loki to be a love letter to science fiction films such as Brazil, Metropolis, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Alien (1979).[39] She also took visual inspiration from the series Teletubbies,[20] and the noir quality of Blade Runner. She pointed to Jurassic Park (1993) as an example of the "big sci-fi with heart" tone that the series was aiming for.[20] Location shooting took place in the Atlanta metropolitan area throughout the month of February.[78] On March 14, filming for the series was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[79] Production resumed at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in September.[80][81] Approximately one month of shooting remained in mid-November,[82] and production wrapped by mid-December.[83] The Atlanta Marriott Marquis portrayed the Time Variance Authority's headquarters.[5] On the TVA set, Arkapaw used working frosted incandescent ceiling lights as the set's key lights.[22] Other Georgia locations used for filming included a quarry in northern Georgia that became a mining town and a vacant discount store that became the futuristic superstore, Roxxcart. Herron felt Roxxcart, which is set in 2050, was a fun way to continue the series' dark sense of humor by showing extremely expensive products as a result of inflation.[12]:10

The second season is scheduled to begin filming in January 2022, also under the working title Architect.[44][84]

Post-production

Herron began editing what had already been filmed during the production shutdown, which helped inform her, Martin, and Wright on what needed to be reworked or added once filming resumed to fit the series' intended tone. Paul Zucker, Emma McCleave, and Calum Ross serve as editors. Herron's work on the series was completed on June 16, 2021.[39] Visual effects were provided by Cantina Creative, Crafty Apes, Digital Domain, FuseFX, Industrial Light & Magic, Luma Pictures, Method Studios, Rise, Rodeo FX, and Trixter.[85] The world outside the TVA offices is depicted as an infinite city with inspiration from Metropolis and imagery of infinite spaces from the comic books, which Herron wanted to have a "level of unreality to it in some ways [because...] it isn't on a planet and there isn't a sun".[22]

Music

By January 2021, Natalie Holt was composing music for the series.[86] Holt and Herron were both drawn to using the theremin for the series' main theme, which Herron felt was loosely inspired by A Clockwork Orange (1971). Herron also called Holt's music for Loki "operatic and bold".[22] Holt's score combined the theremin with an orchestra, electronic music, clock sounds, and Nordic instruments. Charlie Draper served as the theremin player.[87] The score for the series will be released digitally by Marvel Music and Hollywood Records in two volumes: music from the first three episodes will be released on July 2, 2021, and music from the last three episodes will be released on July 23. The end credits track "TVA" was released as a single on June 11.[88]

Marketing

A commercial for the series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and WandaVision was shown during Super Bowl LIV.[89] Julia Alexander of The Verge said the footage "wasn't much" but offered "enough glimpses to tease fans".[90] Haleigh Foutch at Collider felt of all the Super Bowl commercials, Marvel's teasers "stole the whole show" and had "a lot to get excited about".[91] A trailer for the series was released during Disney Investor Day in December 2020. Writers for Polygon said Loki "finally feels untethered by the grounded approaches of the early Thor movies", and based on the content of the trailer and given the series deals with alternate realities, the series might try to "explain" certain phenomena such as Loki being D. B. Cooper or features worlds where urban legends such as the fictitious video game Polybius exist.[73] John Boon writing for Entertainment Tonight called the trailer a "bonkers first look".[70] /Film's Hoai-Tran Bui said the scenes in the trailer was "very intriguing, cryptic stuff" and was surprised to learn the series was more than "just the time-hopping series we assumed" and would deal "with mysterious conspiracies and reality-bending organizations".[1]

A second trailer for the series was released on April 5, 2021. Charles Pulliam-Moore of io9 called the trailer "a large-scale, time-hopping adventure with the promise to be Disney+'s next big epic".[92] Pulliam-Moore's colleague Jame Whitbrook said the trailer was "big on mystery" and was clearer than the first about the TVA's role in the series, but it was still unclear what Loki gained "beyond the chance to enact his own brand of chaos across an entire multiverse of timelines".[5] Polygon's Austen Goslin said it appeared Loki would be visiting past memorable moments from MCU films, calling Loki "a sci-fi, reality-hopping, heist series".[93] Bui felt this trailer gave a better understanding of how Loki would get involved with the TVA than the first trailer did.[94]

A poster for the series was revealed in May 2021, which featured Loki, Mobius M. Mobius, Ravonna Lexus Renslayer, and Hunter B-15,[95] as well as Miss Minutes, the animated anthropomorphic orange clock that is the TVA's mascot.[95][17] Commentators were drawn to Miss Minutes, thinking it would be viewers' favorite new character, with /Film's Chris Evangelista loving the mascot despite its weirdness and not being convinced it was a clock.[96] Erin Brady at Collider thought Miss Minutes would try to "steal Baby Yoda's thunder",[95] while Adele Ankers of IGN believed the mascot was a hint towards the various realities the series would explore, despite not knowing what role Miss Minutes would have in the series.[97] Two episodes of the series Marvel Studios: Legends were released on June 4, 2021, exploring Loki and the Tesseract using footage from their MCU film appearances.[98]

In January 2021, Marvel announced their "Marvel Must Haves" program, which reveals new toys, games, books, apparel, home decor, and other merchandise related to each episode of Loki following an episode's release.[99] The first merchandise was revealed on June 7, 2021, which included Funko Pops, Marvel Legends figures, pins, apparel, and accessories for the series,[100][101] while General Mills and Marvel announced that they would release 3,500 specially branded boxes of Lucky Charms cereal, titled "Loki Charms", on the same day as the series' release.[102] The "Must Haves" merchandise for the episodes started on June 11.[103] Later in the month, Hyundai Motor Company released a commercial featuring Hiddleston as Loki promoting the series and the Hyundai Tucson. The commercial was produced by Marvel alongside similar commercials for WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and What If...?, and was meant to tell an "in-world" story set within the narrative of the series. It received 2 million views within 24 hours of its release.[104] With the release of each episode, Loki's appearance and costumes in Disneyland's Avengers Campus updated each week to reflect the events of the episode.[105]

Release

Loki debuted on Disney+ on June 9, 2021, releasing weekly on Wednesdays,[29] and will consist of six episodes.[40] The series was originally scheduled for release in May 2021,[1] before it was shifted to June 11, 2021, and then to two days before that.[29] It is part of Phase Four of the MCU.[106]

Reception

Audience viewership

Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that "Glorious Purpose" was the most-watched series premiere for the streaming service in its opening week.[107]

Critical response

Loki: Critical reception by episode

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 96% approval rating with an average rating of 7.89/10, based on 112 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "A delightful diversion from the MCU as we know it, Loki successfully sees star Tom Hiddleston leap from beloved villain to endearing antihero—with a little help from a delightful Owen Wilson—in a series that's as off-kilter, charming, and vaguely dangerous as the demigod himself."[108] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 74 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[109]

For the series' first two episodes, reviewers highlighted the banter and relationship between Hiddleston's Loki and Wilson's Mobius.[16][110][111] The various design elements of Loki, particularly the production design from Kasra Farahani and the cinematography from Autumn Durald Arkapaw, were also praised.[16][111][112]

TVLine's Matt Webb Mitovitch gave the first two episodes a "B+". He felt Hiddleston "effortlessly slips back" into this version of Loki and explained that the banter between Hiddleston and Wilson was "a significant upgrade from what Falcon and Winter Soldier believed it was doing". Mitovitch concluded that once the premise has been established, Loki gets "very fun", with each episode "building to a tantalizing, two-pronged reveal... that opens up all kinds of possibilities" for the remainder of the series.[16] Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter said in his review, "After two episodes, Loki is at a tipping point. Having set everything up to an exhausting degree, things could be lined up to get really entertaining — if not zany in a Rick and Morty way, perhaps fun in some of the timeline rupture-of-the-week ways [of] The CW's Legends of Tomorrow... Or Loki might just be a lot of Hiddleston and Wilson talking, which might still be engaging for six episodes."[111] Nick Allen, reviewing for RogerEbert.com, called Loki "an exciting and genuinely inspired addition to Marvel storytelling, one that spins off and rockets its complicated villain into original territory with the help of time travel" adding the series was "bound to be a sci-fi gem".[47]

Reviewing the first two episodes for Variety, Caroline Framke was more reserved on how successful the series would be, feeling the "dense" first episode had a lot of ground to cover, while the second "was far more engaging" and able to have more fun, ending on a tease of "an intriguing new direction", though she cautioned that the series may ultimately not "deviate from the usual script".[110] Giving the episodes a "C", Ben Travers at IndieWire felt the series was "any movie or TV show where a criminal is enlisted by the authorities to help solve a difficult case" with little story progress made over the first two episodes, instead using "exhausting" explanations. He added, "Loki isn't really about Loki, so much as it's about introducing the TVA, the logistics of time travel, and how the MCU's Phase 4 timeline will end up with a Multiverse of Madness".[113]

Analysis

Ahead of the series' release, Sam Barsanti at The A.V. Club noted how the potential for various alternate versions of Loki to appear in the series and continue on in the MCU was "a smart way to maintain Loki's presence in the MCU without worrying about keeping Hiddleston under contract or having to continue explaining that this Loki—even though he's played by Hiddleston—is not the same Loki that got killed by Thanos", and would follow suit with WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier both revealing new incarnations of existing heros. Barsanti was excited by the prospect of potentially seeing Old Man Loki (rumored to be played by Grant), the heroic Kid Loki (who could be another potential member of the Young Avengers team that Marvel Studios had been teasing) and in particular, Lady Loki (rumored as Di Martino's role). Since Lady Loki is "generally more of an unrepentant villain than other Lokis", it would be a way for Marvel Studios to update the Loki character and have them be a villain without "[negating] the growth that Hiddleston's Loki went through".[114] Writing for The Verge, Chaim Gartenberg believed heading into the series that Loki felt like "a capital-S Spinoff" more so than WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, both of which served as lead ins to feature films. As such, being somewhat more disconnected could allow Marvel the opportunity to "make a more standalone series that can actually be a good TV show", believing like in the comics, standalone stories sometimes produce the better stories than "the 1,000-issue epics".[115]

After the first episode, Richard Newby at The Hollywood Reporter believed the series was promising a "grand expansion" of MCU lore that would "supersede anything Marvel Studios has every attempted with a single [MCU] entry" stating Loki felt "cosmically big, yet at the same time, [still] deeply personal". Particular lore items Newby was keen to keep an eye on were Nexus Points, that could have connections to WandaVision, and how those could lead to the creations of multiverses, and the multiversal war, which could be a reference to a future Secret Wars-type event that would "rewrite reality" and "make the quest for the Infinity Stones seem small in comparison".[116]

Ben Child of The Guardian criticized Loki's return as part of a pattern of MCU characters making appearances after their onscreen deaths, citing characters' returns from the Blip, the return of Natasha Romanoff in the prequel Black Widow, and the appearance of versions of Vision in WandaVision, saying it "spoil[s] the gorgeous pathos of all those death scenes" and that "all bets are off with future resurrection methods".[117]

Documentary special

In February 2021, the documentary series Marvel Studios: Assembled was announced. The specials go behind the scenes of the making of the MCU films and television series with cast members and additional creatives.[118] Assembled: The Making of Loki will be released on Disney+ on July 21, 2021.[119]

Notes

  1. ^ As depicted in the film Avengers: Endgame (2019).
  2. ^ As depicted in the film Thor: The Dark World (2013).
  3. ^ As depicted in the film Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

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Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2021-06-20 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=59082044