February 25, 2024

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Why Jonathan Majors’ arrest didn’t affect Loki

Why Jonathan Majors’ arrest didn’t affect Loki

Of the eight live-action TV shows Marvel Studios has produced for Disney+ so far, only one has ended with the explicit promise of a second season: that will be “Loki,” the outrageously entertaining series centered around Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief and his character. Metaphysical feats in the form of time variation.

It turns out that these plans were already in motion before the second part of “Loki” aired. As executive producer Kevin Wright explains diverseHe and Hiddleston began talking about a second season of the show during production of the third episode of the first season.

“While we were filming the Lamentis episode, Tom and I started having a lot of conversations about how to build this world, and how we could delve deeper into it,” he says. “A big part of what we wanted to do was not try to repeat ourselves, not try to play hit songs.” At the same time, he adds, they also wanted to make sure they didn’t start off Season 2 by “fast-forwarding through the drama” of the Season 1 finale.

A lot happened in that ending. To recap: Loki and his alter-ego girlfriend Sylvie (Sofia Di Martino) arrive at the end of time, where they meet TVA creator He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) — a variant of the supervillain Kang who won a massive multiverse war. To prevent Kang from appearing in the future, He Who Remains used the TVA to maintain a single sacred timeline – shrinking potentially trillions of lives in the process. He gave Sylvie and Loki an impossible choice: replace him as head of the TVA, or kill him and bring in countless Kangs.

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Loki wants the first option; Sylvie wants the second. She wins, kills He Who Remains, and returns Loki to an alternate version of the TVA, where her former compatriots Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) have no recollection of ever meeting him.

diverse It previews the first four episodes (of six) of Loki, and without spoiling anything, Season 2 picks up right where Season 1 left off – before charting its own storytelling course. The entire cast is back, including Gugu Mbatha-Raw as former TVA judge Ravonna Renslayer and Eugene Cordero as TVA employee Casey. Majors returns as well as He Who Stays, as well as another Kang variant, a 19th-century inventor named Victor Timely. They’re joined by new actors, including Kate Dickie (“Game of Thrones”), Rafael Casale (“Blindspotting”) and recent Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan as TVA technician Ouroboros, also known as “OB.”

Behind the scenes, there were some changes from the first season. Both the series’ original director, Kit Herron, and head writer, Michael Waldron, have stepped back to focus on other projects. Moon Knight’s Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead replaced them as lead directors, and season one writer Eric Martin took over as head writer for season two.

Gareth Gatrell / Courtesy of Marvel Studios

To delve deeper into Season 2 of “Loki,” Wright spoke with him diverse On Quan’s casting ahead of his performance in the stunning multiverse thriller “Everything Everywhere at Once” that changed the actor’s life forever; What is the future of the “Loki” show and the character of Loki that might follow season 2; And how did Majors’ arrest in March on assault charges impact (or didn’t) impact their plans for Season 2?

What were the discussions like about how to approach Season 2?

I think we had to keep reminding ourselves that TVA is a great world, let’s live in the drama we create there. Which means not only fast-forwarding to the drama that they’ve just decided to stop trimming timelines, but also staying in the emotional turmoil that Loki and Sylvie are going into this season.

Also, there were certain things in the first season that seemed like a risk, and we didn’t know how the audience would react. Once we realized they embraced this idea, we felt very free to move forward.

What did you feel was a risk?

In a very early draft of the screenplay written by Michael Waldron, the first conversation in the Theater of Time between Mobius and Loki was probably a few pages long. And then a lot of other big Marvel-y events happened after that, and we were all like, “This is not the interesting stuff. This Theater of Time conversation is interesting. This is what the show could be.” If we’re really diving into character-driven philosophy and introspection, this is very different from the past 10 years of Marvel movies. Will the audience follow us?

Tom Hiddleston famously held seminars on the character of Loki for the first season. Did he do something like this for season 2?

No, because we tried to bring back as much of the crew from the first season as possible. It was pretty much the same team. Obviously we went from Atlanta to London [for production], but a lot of our department heads had migrated, so there was built-in institutional knowledge. And Tom is my producing partner in the truest sense. Before we had any writers or directors, Tom and I had been building this story for months. We had a 30-page document that was like, This is the offer: TVA, it’s the one that stays – even Victor Timely was in that first doc years ago. And it’s just being implemented.

So, even when Kate Heron hands over the reins at the end of Season 1, there’s an institutional knowledge that comes with us being the glue between the seasons.

You mentioned Who Remains and Victor at the right time. You’ve finished filming Season 2 in 2022, but did Jonathan Majors’ arrest on assault charges in March lead to any changes for the show?

No, this may – but not possibly – be the first Marvel series to feature no additional photography at all. The story on screen is the story we set out to make. We went in there with a very specific idea of ​​what we wanted this to be, and we found a way to articulate that in that production period. It’s pretty much what’s on screen on Disney+.

Majors is clearly playing an integral role this season, and I just mentioned that Marvel usually does additional photography for all of their titles. So was there any discussion about making changes to the show, given the uncertainty about what was happening with Majors?

No, and that came mainly from – I know as much as you do at the moment. I felt rushed to do anything without knowing how it all happened.

How early in writing Season 2 did you decide to cast Ke Huy Quan in the role of OB?

We were in London, so I at least had a copy of our scripts. The way the process goes, it’s always being rewritten, but OB was there, and his intro scene was exactly as originally written. I would say it was early spring, just a couple of months before we started shooting. We were doing the show, and Everything Everywhere, At Once was showing in Los Angeles and New York, but it hadn’t gotten nationwide yet. I think it was happening next week. We got a call from the casting director who said, “Hey, I’m about to put together a list for OB – just rough ideas. But before I do that, I really think you should meet Key, and I think it should be Key. I think you should meet Key.” You guys need to meet him quickly, because maybe by Monday, he’ll have a lot of offers for different things.

So, that Friday, Justin, Aaron, and I, two of our managers, participated in a Zoom with Ke. We offered him the show and this character. We shared the intro scene and perhaps the full script with him. Then we called in the large forces on Monday; Kevin Feige called him on the phone and said, “Key, I know you read the script. I know you talked to the guys. We really think you should do this. I really want you to join the Marvel family.” And he had already made up his mind over the weekend. It’s like: “I’m there. “I’ve been a big fan of this for a long time.”

Gareth Gatrell

In the first season, the series explored several time periods and locations outside of the TVA, but for the first four episodes of this season, it sticks only to 1880s Chicago, 1970s London, and 1980s Midwest. How did you come to this decision to focus more on TVA and building its history?

Because that seemed like where a lot of the fundamental conflict in our character would come from. There was a lot of crossover between our characters and what they think of TVA. Sylvie wants to burn it because, as she puts it, the apple is rotten. Loki sees it as potentially the only form of defense against whatever else comes in the war with Kang. Mobius and B15, they’ve dedicated their whole lives to it. They’re not quite ready to give it up. Renslayer feels like she’s keeping it together, and you can get a real understanding of why she thinks she has to be the one to get this back on track.

We want everyone to be in the gray area – they are neither good nor bad. They may make bad choices or heroic choices, but they are trying to figure out who they are. TVA felt like it was a place where we could maximize the storytelling and learn more about those characters through that. But also stay tuned, because we’re going to more places [in Episodes 5 and 6].

Do you think TVA could start appearing in other titles in the MCU?

I like that. Look, I’ve been apart of “Loki” for nearly five years now, and by the time that show ended, with every filmmaker who got their hands on the show, we all had the same conversations: It’s like TVA could really be a tool An exciting connection to all these stories. We only saw a small part of it. We’re specifically dealing with this smaller section with Mobius, the B-15 and the Renslayer, but you look at those vistas – this place is infinite. The exciting thing for us is that there are definitely more stories to tell there. We carved out our own little corner of the sandbox and built something amazing. We hope others will want to come and play with it.

One of the things I enjoyed most about Loki was the way it told its own story, but have you considered bringing more of the MCU into it?

Yes, in both seasons of the writers’ rooms. It was always a mistake to go too far out of the box for things that would directly contribute to Loki’s character in these two seasons. That’s why we arrived [Jaimie Alexander as] Saif is there [in Season 1], we’re playing with the variables in the void and different levels of Asgard’s storytelling. But even though we have nearly 12 hours of storytelling, we never seem to have enough time. Ultimately, just engaging with our group’s stories and not diminishing them was always the first priority.

Now, Season 1 and 2 were always created to be two chapters of the same book. Hopefully going forward, there are more books in which we can tell these stories. And I definitely think we can start doing that.

Will there be a third season for Loki? Is the future of supply limited or more open?

I think it’s open-ended. We certainly didn’t evolve this season into, “We’ve got to do Season 3” — the way we did with Season 1, where there was a very specific, “Hey, we’re coming back.” But I also think that wherever this show goes, there could certainly be many, many stories told with Loki in the “Loki” universe, and in other worlds connected to the character of Loki.

Do you think Loki will rejoin the larger MCU universe?

This is the hope. I don’t want to – yes. I think the sun shining on Loki and Thor again was always the priority of the story we were telling. But for this meeting to be truly satisfying, we have to get Loki to a certain place emotionally. I think that was the goal of these two seasons.

This interview has been edited and condensed.