It’s an unprecedented time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe this week as Loki Season 2 makes its debut. The first of Marvel’s Disney+ shows to receive more than one season, Loki is rising to the challenge, ramping up the stakes and bringing in characters, both old and new, to help save the multiverse.
Ahead of the release of Season 2, Lifehacker Australia spoke with executive producer Kevin Wright, who hinted at Loki and Sylvie’s relationship, the evolution of Miss Minutes and the introduction of Victor Timely.
What makes Loki Season 2 different from the first?
To start with, Wright clarified that Season 2 is a direct continuation of the story in Loki Season 1, with added pressure.
“There is an immediacy to the fallout of the events that were created in Season 1,” he said. “So much of Season 1 thematically is about identity, and our place in the world, or the universe, or multiverse. Season 2 is continuing that exploration, except now under dire circumstances.”
That theme of identity is something that touches all of the characters in Loki Season 2, which includes returning favourites like Mobius (Owen Wilson), Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) and the God of Mischief himself (played by Tom Hiddleston).
“Loki is still trying to figure out who he is and has he made the right choices? The TVA is going through very similar growing pains with their place now; and Sylvie, now that she’s kind of presented free will to everybody, is similarly going through this, like ‘What do I do? How do I kind of carve out a light for myself?’ So in a lot of ways, it’s furthering those stories.”
Will the real Loki please stand up
For Loki, the Disney+ series served as a place to significantly dig into the complexities of his character, who has typically served as either a strict villain or a complicated antihero in the Thor and Avengers movies. In Season 1, Loki made significant strides towards being a good person, but perhaps not enough to call him a “hero”. The God of Mishief’s hero material is something that is tested further in Season 2, according to Wright.
“The exciting thing with Loki and his growth this season is we’re all, as an audience, rooting for him to do the right thing and to be the good guy. But it is tough. Because when you see him starting to be a little mischievous, it’s fun. And you’re going ‘Oh, yeah, I miss that,’” he explained.
“Something that Tom [Hiddleston] said to me very early on in the development of this season, is it’s really hard to become your best self without embracing all aspects of you and your past. You can’t move forward until you’ve embraced your past and Loki has a lot in his past that could be hard to embrace.”
Loki has typically been a fairly solitary character; his mischievous nature has sabotaged many of his relationships. But in the Disney+ series, he found a kindred spirit in a variant of himself, Sylvie. Season 1 culminated with the two admitting their feelings for each other, a moment that was quickly shattered when Loki tried and failed to prevent Sylvie from killing He Who Remains.
It was an action that had huge ramifications for the multiverse, but also for the relationship between the two. Wright admitted that their romance is very much in a rough place in Season 2, for a few reasons:
“On the Loki front, I think he truly truly cares about this person, like that’s inarguable with what they went through in Season 1. But also, it’s hard to slow down and think about your romance when potential worlds are falling apart. On the Sylvie front, I think, again, she also deeply cares about this person, but she does have issues trusting…” Wright said. “There’s a real recognition of those flaws, in one another that makes that difficult… Where the rest of that goes through the season I think is exciting, but we wanted that tension.”
“[It’s] like they’re kind of teenagers in the realm of romance and, you know, [are] finding themselves in that regard.”
Time(ly) Variance Authority
One of the new additions to Loki Season 2 is Victor Timely (Jonathan Majors), a character who was first teased at the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Many Marvel fans have been highly anticipating Timely’s inclusion, as one of the more significant of He Who Remains’ variants. During development, Wright said they took some “creative licence” from Timely’s portrayal in the comics. The producer also revealed they initially wanted to introduce the character in Season 1.
“We tried to get him into Season 1, in some regards, but that never really went far enough because we just realised [Loki] is too new, it’s a new story, and we had to wait on that,” he said.
In between seasons, audiences were introduced to another variant of He Who Remains, Kang the Conquerer. But Timely offers a very different iteration of the character, which Wright said was intriguing.
“You would assume that this character would come from the future, and there was just something very playful and fun about him coming from the past, and him not being what you expected,” Wright said.
“Like [he’s] this eccentric inventor, which in the comics is what he is. But he’s also like Kang, and he’s kind of got a scheme going on. We wanted to play him more as an innocent here, but it was very much inspired by those comics and the oddness of a version of this person being from the past, instead of the future.”
It’s worth noting here that Wright has spoken to the fact that Majors’ arrest did not impact production for Loki Season 2, as filming had wrapped beforehand.
Accompanying the arrival of Timely is the return of Miss Minutes, the artificial intelligence system designed by He Who Remains to preserve order in the TVA. Despite being a computer program, Miss Minutes has some character developments of her own following He Who Remains’ demise, some of which can’t help but feel timely given society’s focus on AI right now.
Speaking on Miss Minutes’ development, Wright said it wasn’t a conscious choice, but it was a relevant one, for Miss Minutes to play on real-world fears of artificial intelligence:
“There is something in the self-writing AI that probably has an agenda of its own, but is it really of its own? Or is that programmed?” Wright explained. “Again, it just played into our bigger picture of all of these characters playing with trying to find their identity and their place. And I think this computer program is having the same issue of like, ‘I want to do this, but is that me? Is that my own thought process? Or is even that (sic) a program?’”
The future of Loki
Loki Season 2 will once again feature six action-packed episodes, each with its own unique drawcards that make them worth watching. Wright wouldn’t pick a favourite, but did say he was particularly excited for episodes 5 and 6 to release, hinting that they are “profoundly beautiful in where they go.”
The Season 1 finale of Loki left a ripple effect on the MCU that opened the door for all kinds of multiversal madness. The question is now, will Season 2 do the same?
“I don’t want to spoil anything,” Wright said “But what I will say is that it’s the same process that we took in Season 1. We never were told, ‘Hey, by the end of this, you’ve got to do this and this so we can make these things. We kind of did it. And then people went, ‘Oh, that’s exciting’. And obviously, as we were working on Season 1, Kevin Feige was identifying and planting those seeds in other projects.” “Similarly, in Season 2, we were like, we’re going to tell our story, we’re going to be true to our characters. But if you see our story through to its natural end, it’s going to have big implications. The hope would be it branches off and allows multiple stories for us within the Loki world and other things as well.”
The first episode of Loki Season 2 drops on October 6, with episodes releasing weekly on Fridays on Disney+.
Lead Image Credit: Disney+/Marvel Studios