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How They Really Filmed The Crumbling City At The End Of Loki Episode 3

Contains spoilers for "Loki" Episode 3

"Loki" on Disney+ won't hesitate to play with the very concept of time and reality, and shows even less regard to the audience's expectations. From the moment Loki (Tom Hiddleston) escapes the alternate-timeline ending of the Battle of New York during the events of "Avengers: Endgame," he is drawn into a strange, timeline-bending crime caper involving the bureaucratic Time Variance Authority, and a female Variant version of himself known as Sylvie (Sophia di Martino). 

The God of Mischief requires grand surroundings, and the sets and effects of "Loki" are indeed above and beyond anything you've seen in the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ shows. From the various exciting time-themed special effects to the magnificently drab and sepia-toned TVA headquarters, the show is full of amazing visuals. Of particular note is the one-shot scene near the end of "Loki" Episode 3, in which Loki and Sylvie dash through a crumbling, enemy-filled cityscape. The thrilling scene seems almost too good to be true, and since it features no less than two versions of the MCU's most prominent trickster, it's easy to assume that the show ran with the implication and CGI'd the whole thing. 

In some other show, that might have been the case. However, this is "Loki," and clearly, even greater sleight of hand was required. Here's how they really filmed the crumbling city at the end of Loki episode 3.

The crumbling city in Loki Episode 3 was a real set

Green might be Loki's signature color, but the show didn't much care for green screen for the city scene. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sophia Di Martino opened up on the secrets behind the shoot, and the unique challenges the collapsing town presented ... what with the fact that it was actually a physical set, instead of a CGI construction. 

"That particular set was an entire set build, and it was really a beautiful set," she said. "It was all built outside in the parking lot of the studio and painted in these incredible sort of glow in the dark paints. I don't know the correct term for them. In the daytime it looked like a sort of town made out of polystyrene and paint. Then at night when the lights were on it, it looked like you see it. Just this stunning other-worldly town." 

The town's shape, Di Martino revealed, was carefully constructed so she and Tom Hiddleston – and, even more importantly, the camera — could navigate it as the single-shot scene required. 

"It was sort of built in a horseshoe shape so we could run around and then run into a restaurant, run out again and run around a bit more," she said. "They really wanted it to be continuous so the camera could move around and follow us and then we could swap around. It was really clever and a lot of work went into the planning stages of that scene, I'm sure. [Director Kate Herron] had a really strong vision for it and I think it's great."

Find out what other amazing scenes "Loki" has in store, as new episodes drop on Disney+ every Wednesday.