Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Loki Head Writer Michael Waldron Shares What It Was Really Like Making The Marvel Series - Exclusive Interview

"Loki" is the newest addition to the Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. Tom Hiddleston gets another chance to play fan favorite villain Loki, this time caught in the clutches of the Time Variance Authority (TVA) after the events of "Avengers: Endgame" due to deviating from the timeline. Instead of being pruned from existence altogether, Loki's saved when Mobius (Owen Wilson) lobbies to keep him around to help track down a new villain messing with the Sacred Timeline.

Michael Waldron serves as the show's head writer. Waldron is a protégé of Dan Harmon, working with him since 2014 and serving as a writer/producer for the fourth season of "Rick and Morty." He also co-wrote the screenplay for the upcoming MCU installment "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

Looper spoke with Waldron shortly before the show's debut on Disney+. He told us how his time on "Rick and Morty" primed him for "Loki," how "Toy Story" inspired an emotional scene in the first episode, and what Hiddleston and Wilson are like when the cameras aren't rolling.

How "Rick and Morty" helped with Loki

"Loki" is the second show you've worked on that involves a time-traveling old man going through portals and fixing the timeline as they please and so on and so forth. How did "Rick and Morty" help with "Loki?"

It was a huge help. Working on "Rick and Morty," you're exposed to dozens of incredible unique sci-fi concepts a day, in that writers' room. And so you just can't help but learn and become a wealth of knowledge about that stuff. And the thing that we did on "Rick and Morty" was, every episode we tend to introduce a somewhat heady sci-fi concept early on. And you've got to get it out there for the audience and make sure they understand what's happening, and then move it to the background, so they can just get swept up in the emotional story and everything. And that's exactly what we had to do with the time travel in "Loki." So in that sense, it was very good.

Yeah, because the TVA has kind of a Citadel of Ricks feel to it.

Yeah, Absolutely. All of that stuff, Citadel of Ricks. Obviously, that Citadel of Ricks, there's inspirations from the Council of Reeds and everything. All of those sci-fi bureaucracies, government type entities are all things we drew inspiration from.

Writing Loki, circa 2012

So what's it like writing a more base version of Loki? You can't use the "Ragnarok" Loki. You had to go back to 2012 for this. How do you rewind yourself for that?

I think that was a great opportunity for the show, because we wanted to tell a new story. We've seen that story and the one that ran through "Ragnarok" and culminated in "Infinity War." We wanted to tread new ground, so we're starting with perhaps a slightly more arch version of Loki who just got his ass handed to him by the Avengers, and he's desperate. And he's a little bit humiliated, and he's really primed to go on a new introspective character journey.

And one such scene was there was the scene where he sees everything that ever happened to him, everything that was supposed to happen to him. And that's a really emotional scene. How did you handle that?

That was a scene that we knew wanted to happen on day one of the writers' room. We cracked that, and we in fact referenced the scene in "Toy Story" where Buzz Lightyear really realizes he is a toy, and he falls, and his arm breaks. And suddenly everything that he thought he was, all the importance that he felt in his life, comes crumbling down. I was thrilled to get to write that scene. I always knew it would be really dramatic. And the way that Kate shot it and Tom performed it, I think it's really emotional to watch.

Hiddleston's involvement

And speaking of Tom, how involved is he in the direction of Loki? Because he's done this more than any of you, he knows what the character is. How involved is he?

Totally. He came, he sat with our writers' room for a day and just answered questions about the character and who he is and helped us understand Loki's motivations and everything that much more. And then Tom and I, we had several meals together where we just talked about philosophy. We talked about individual bits of dialogue and really just became good friends. And that helped me get in the head of the character that much more. Tom is Loki, so we're lucky as the creatives to have him as a resource on this thing.

"Tom is Loki" is kind of a scary thing to say about a person, though.

Yeah. I mean, yes, that is true, but I would say the parts of Loki that Tom is, are the cheekiness, but the vulnerability and the generosity, the things that make fans love this character, even in spite of all the terrible things he does. That's the Tom Hiddleston in there shining through.

The TVA and the chemistry between Tom and Owen

How did you land on the TVA as the big story mechanism?

That was just an inspired bit of producing for Marvel. That was the world that they wanted to set this show in from the beginning, so that was the idea that I was pitching on. They knew that they wanted to plop Loki into the TVA, which is, it's great. Loki is pure chaos, the TVA is pure order. So it really set us up for success.

What are Tom and Owen like together?

They're a blast. They both seem, I guess, different on the surface, because Owen's a Southern guy from America, Tom's British, very proper. But then when you sit with them, and you hear them talk, there's such a soulfulness about both of them. And they're both such thoughtful actors and creatives, really intrigued by philosophy and everything. They're both just genuine artists. And in that, I think they found true camaraderie and friendship that really shines through in the show.

Multiverses and closing thoughts

So you've got a movie up coming that's about a multiverse. Is "Loki" in any way priming us for what we're going to see during that movie?

These things with Marvel, our goal is always with each individual project, to just make it the best thing on its own that we possibly can. How they feed into the other stories tends to happen almost naturally or organically. Do you end up creating messes that you yourself have to clean up? Perhaps, but it was always our goal with "Loki" to have it really have wide-reaching implications across the MCU.

At this moment, "Loki" looks to be probably a short series. Do you have any ideas for a second season, or is it too early to ask about that yet?

Our goal with "Loki" was for this season to be a complete and fulfilling story. I think that's always the best version of any TV show — a season should stand alone on its own. That was our hope for this one. As for the future, time will tell.

What do you want people to take away from the show?

I think what I want people to take away from this show will be answered at the end of the show. You've got to watch it. Watch the show and you'll see what I wanted you to take away from it.

"Loki" is streaming on Disney+ now.