Exclusive: Loki’s head writer and director reveal an unexpected array of fantasy and sci-fi properties that inspired the Time Variance Authority.
Loki‘s head writer, Michael Waldron, and director, Kate Herron, have revealed a number of movies that influenced the TVA in the new Disney+ series. Loki, which premiered on the streaming platform on June 9th, follows Marvel’s eponymous God of Mischief as he’s called upon by the TVA (Time Variance Authority) to right the wrongdoings the Avengers’ meddling caused to the timeline of the MCU. Loki picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, in which Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were forced to rewrite a strand of the timeline to reverse ‘the Snap,’ a universe-ravaging event caused by Thanos, which eradicated half of all existing life in the galaxy.
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The heroes were successful in their plight – Captain America even returned to the time stream to replace the wayward Infinity Stones – but not everything returned to its pre-Snap status. Loki was killed by Thanos as he fought to atone for his evildoings in the preceding Avengers: Infinity War; a previous incarnation of the devious demigod was able to harness the power of the Tesseract, a.k.a the Space Stone, in an Endgame flashback scene. It not only put Loki back in play for future installments in the MCU, but reintroduced audiences to a more ruthless, and unpredictable version, of the former antagonist. Loki, the series, lifts the curtain on what happened to Odin’s other son following the events of The Infinity Saga.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant in promotion of the new series, Loki‘s head writer Michael Waldron and director Kate Herron shed some light on the unexpected influences on the Time Variance Authority. The mysterious, multiversal bureau operates between the seams of the MCU and introduces Marvel fans to the Time Keepers, an unlikely governing body dedicated to maintaining the fabric of time itself. Providing some behind-the-scenes content for the on-screen origins of these new temporal protectors, Loki’s creators revealed numerous unexpected inspirations:
Michael Waldron: A million different sources. Blade Runner, for sure, was one. Mad Men, Toy Story, Armageddon. So many things.
Kate Herron: A Clockwork Orange was filmed near where I grew up, and Children of Men. I wanted to kind of bring that idea into it, because you’ve got these godly timekeepers overseeing everything. And that felt really appropriate in that regard. But then, the TVA are very heroic, so this kind of Midwest Mad Men style felt very appropriate as well. And I think building on that, I drew from so many different sci-fi films. To name a few: Brazil, obviously; Metropolis. Our time doors were inspired by Dune. The font on the computers was inspired by Alien.
The majority of these influences will be keenly felt by genre fans. Given that Loki‘s existence once again rewrites the rules regarding time and the ‘multiverse’ in the MCU (both fictionally and on a metatextual level), it’s perhaps unsurprising that its lead creators cite such touchstones of fantasy and sci-fi in the origins of the TV version of the Time Variance Authority. What may surprise audiences is the influence of a more terrestrial property such as Mad Men – stylistic or otherwise. The by-the-book pencil-pushing bureaucracy of the TVA existing alongside the more outlandish elements of Loki is one of the series’ most enjoyable and uncanny aspects of the series so far; Waldon and Herron’s homages to an array of 1970s and ’80s sci-fi classics are signposted in just how antiquated some the Time Keepers’ technology seems to be.
Of course, these are just the influences cited by Waldron and Herron for what we’ve seen so far of the series. Perhaps even more so than the reality-warping WandaVision or the comparatively grounded The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, what remains to be seen of Loki is a true mystery. Phase 4 of the MCU is shaping up to rewrite the rulebook in increasingly unexpected ways – both within the fiction of the universe and how Marvel chooses to tell its stories. Loki allows its creators to meddle with the elements that make the interconnected MCU narrative successful, and completely pick it apart if they choose to. Reviews of the series have so far been profoundly positive; it’s clear that cherry-picking from a range of critically acclaimed properties from across the pop culture pantheon has done nothing but bolster the God of Mischief’s latest adventure in the MCU.
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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