How the women of ‘Loki’ steal the show

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When Kate Herron introduced herself as director of Marvel’s Disney + series Loki, the first slide said, “Sorry.” Self-mockery comes naturally to Britons, and the London-born filmmaker wanted to bring Marvel Studios bigwigs to Burbank in her vision for the Disney + series. But, admittedly, it is also a word she uses frequently in conversation. “I say ‘sorry’ all the time,” Herron told ELLE.com on a Zoom call from Atlanta, where she is finishing post-production on the show’s final episodes. “I’m just throwing it in sentences.”

With LokiHerron has no reason to apologize, especially when it comes to the female characters who don’t apologize and force Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief in a dramatic new direction. “I was so carried away by the story of Loki”, enthuses the director. “I just wanted to be a part of his next chapter, whatever it is.”

The limited-series Loki is not the same that perished at the start of Infinity war. Rather, it is the scallywag that appeared in End of Game during a “time hold” until 2012 and the events of the first Avengers movie. When the time and space traveling Tesseract (Space Stone) is knocked down, this Loki, who has just wreaked havoc in New York City, manages to escape his vengeful captors. It is an interesting way to enter the solo story of the Asgardian god; At this point, he hasn’t gone through the family trials and tribulations that turn him from villain to anti-hero before his demise. But for Herron, it made for a much more exciting story. When she read the initial scripts, written by chief writer Michael Waldron and his team of writers Elissa Karasik, Eric Martin and Bisha K. Ali (who is now chief writer on the Ms. Marvel series), she immediately became associated with them. “’I am Loki, God of the outcasts. They see themselves in me and I in them, ”Herron says, citing a line from the Daniel Kibblesmith comics for the character. “That’s why I connect so much with the character. I didn’t always feel out of place and loved this story of the underdog of seeing him have room for change and growth.

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The series opens with Loki trapped in the Time Variance Authority (TVA), a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space and oversees the “sacred timeline,” controlled by the sinister keepers of time. The demigod has a choice: to erase the face of existence, as his spontaneous trip to Tesseract has turned him into a “time variant”, or to help Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) and the Minutemen, military agents who hunt down the disruptors of the timeline, stop a threat that endangers the past, present and future of the universe. “It’s so chaotic and we got it in complete order,” Herron explains. “That alone will elicit some interesting reactions from him. Identity is at the heart of the show, and also this gray area between good and evil. Is anyone really good or really bad?

Loki is ultimately a sci-fi detective series, and Herron’s vision for TVA, a world never before seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), was inspired not only by his comic Marvel appearances and sci-fi blacks as Brazil and Blade runner, but his hometown. “I grew up in South East London and there is a lot of Brutalist architecture. A clockwork orange was filmed on the road to my house, ”she said. “I also worked in many offices. There were a lot of old computers that were really archaic, that didn’t work, and I thought it would be really fun if TVA didn’t have this futuristic technology. You can’t quite place it in time.

TVA is chaired by Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a former Hunter who rose through the ranks to assume her post as judge overseeing TVA operations. Mbatha-Raw was in the presentation of Herron’s pitch for the series, but this is not the first time that the British actress, known for her lead roles in Beautiful, Blinded by the light, and Quick color, applied for a position at Marvel. “I felt happy to face Renslayer because she is powerful in her own right,” says Mbatha-Raw. “It’s not a love, it’s not a damsel in distress, she rose through the ranks. I’ve grown in a different way in the industry, and I love that there is a complexity about her that maybe wasn’t present in some of the things that I was offered or auditioned in the past.

gugu mbatha raw as ravonna renslayer to loki

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer in Loki.

Marvel studios

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Wunmi Mosaku, who plays Hunter B-15, a high-ranking VAT officer, joined the franchise in a rather secretive way. “When I got the call I got the part, I didn’t realize I had auditioned for it because it was all top secret,” Mosaku recalls. “I was very excited. I watched all the movies that Loki was in.

In fact, Mosaku’s audition so impressed the cast team that they reshaped the character, who didn’t exist before the show, to play. “Wunmi was someone who blew us all out of the water,” Herron says. “This role was originally written as a male character. Some of my favorite women in science fiction, like Ripley in Extraterrestrial, were originally written as men, and it’s so exciting that she can fit into this group of badass women in sci-fi.

“I have to start from scratch, build and understand it,” Mosaku adds. “The VAT, what they were built for, is pretty straightforward: protecting the sacred timeline. Anytime I come into contact with someone outside of TVA it means they’ve disrupted the timeline, so my personality comes through in the way she deals with these disruptors. She does not fire any punches. She is completely, authentically herself.

Mbatha-Raw and Mosaku relished the opportunity to achieve physical performances. Their characters are seasoned fighters, and the two trained together during rehearsals to prove how useful they can be in a fight. “Stunt training is a joy because I come from the dance world; I love the physicality of the fight choreography, and it was nice to understand how Renslayer would move given that she is now in costume, ”said Mbatha-Raw. “She’s not a rambling fighter; she is a very precise, elegant and deadly fighter, but she does not waste her energy.

Director Kate Herron on the set of Loki with stars Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson

Director Kate Herron on the set of Loki with stars Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson.

Chuck zlotnick

For Mosaku, playing a strong, curvy action character was a form of representation she rarely saw on screen. “I love having my hair natural, I have my West African physique and I really play on the strength of my physical body,” she says. “Strong” looks one-sided most of the time, as if it were a certain type of body, and in fact “strong” refers to many different shapes and settings. If you are strong you are strong no matter what you look like.

Loki is the third Disney + series to launch in the past six months, following in the footsteps of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, including everything Explore the supporting characters who have had a lasting impact on the MCU over the past decade. This expansion of superhero stories across film and television, and the lure of big stars and independent filmmakers into its creative fold, has aroused the wrath of some moviegoers, critics and industry names like Martin. Scorsese and Jennifer Aniston, who see it as a bit of a choke on entertainment. Mosaku disagrees.

“It’s shameful. We all need to eat, and sometimes doing things that give you a platform means you can do more,” she says. “I love the theater, but it is. fun. My job is fun and there are times when it’s really hard depending on what you play and the world you live in. It’s exhausting and exhausting, but there’s also so much to say Black Panther. It is not superficial. As soon as I watched this movie, I wanted to be a part of the MCU as a serious actor.

How long Mosaku will be a part of this world remains to be determined, as viewers will have to wait every week to find out the fate of B-15, Ravonna Renslayer, and, of course, Loki. But as with all live-action movies and TV shows from the MCU, their stories are all interwoven, so it’s not impossible for their journeys to continue on the big screen. Mbatha-Raw suggested the series as an “origin story” for Renslayer while Waldron went to co-write the script for 2022. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But in the Time Variance Authority that is Marvel Studios, CEO Kevin Feige is the ultimate timekeeper, and it’s up to him to decide how sacred these characters are for his timeline. And he likes to keep things close to his chest.

“Our show is going to connect with other things that are going to happen in the MCU, so it’s obviously a big responsibility, and also very exciting,” Herron said. “But that’s probably all I can say!” “

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