In a recent interview with Geek Vibes Podcast, head writer Michael Waldron broke down his full thoughts on Loki and teased a bit about the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Before beginning at Marvel, Waldron had previously written for Rick & Morty and, since starting Loki in 2019, his career has only skyrocketed. Waldron’s upcoming slate includes Doctor Strange 2, the STARZ wrestling series Heels, a Star Wars movie produced by Kevin Feige, and likely even more.
Yet when asked by Geek Vibes if he would return for Loki season two, Michael Waldron only replied “time will tell.” It’s a meaty interview which fans should watch for themselves, but we’ve included some key points in our abridged transcript below.
Michael Waldron Spills MCU Secrets
To develop the time-travelling multiverse show Loki, Waldron described that the first priority was always Loki’s character journey:
“It was a process of figuring out the emotional arc and laying out the road map for the season emotionally… Then we had to do the really miserable work, which was figuring out the time travel, and that took several weeks.”
As far as Marvel stipulations go, Michael Waldron said:
“We could do whatever. There’s no cap on your imagination at Marvel. The charge is only ‘You’re doing the Loki show. Make the Loki show as cool as it can possibly be.’ and trust that it will fit organically with everything else.”
Waldron was drawn to Loki for being “such a lovable rascal”, praising actor Tom Hiddleston, who has played the part since Thor (2011).
“Tom [Hiddleston] makes the character so likeable. He’s a character you’re constantly rooting for [even though you know] he’s going to follow that up with a backstab. I think there’s such a vulnerability to Loki, maybe more so than many other characters in the MCU. I’ve always connected with him. It’s a testament to Tom’s performance. [Writing Loki] felt like the coolest opportunity in the world.”
Speaking to the chemistry between Loki and fan-favorite Mobius (an office worker played by Owen Wilson), Michael Waldron said:
“That was there from the beginning in the script. It was important to me that before Loki could fall romantically for someone in Sylvie, that he had to first make a friend. In a lot of ways, [the friendship with Mobius] might be even more intimate. … Then of course we cast Owen who has such a great performance, such amazing chemistry with Tom, which took all that stuff to the next level.”
In the show, Mobius talks lovingly about jet-skis, and a lot of fans were rooting to see him ride a jet-ski in the finale. Although that didn’t happen, Waldron leaves the possibility open for the future seasons:
“You gotta keep a carrot out there dangling for the audience. You’ve got to give them some reason to tune in.”
Waldron also explained the inspiration for the “variancest” of Loki with his multiverse doppelganger Sylvie (a female Loki):
“We just thought it was cool. It was different, and it’s the sort of thing that you can only do in a story about the multiverse. There’s two variants of each other and it’s like ‘Oh my god, you incredible seismic narcissist!’ But going even beyond that part, it was the right emotional story for Loki, as he softens in seeing Sylvie and getting to know her better.
It’s a way for him to fall in love with himself literally and figuratively, because at the start of the show I think he hates himself, the way he assesses himself as a villain to Mobius. Sylvie is a literal mirror that helps him see who he is in a different light. In seeing what she’s overcome, he can also think about what he’s overcome and for many reasons it just felt like the right way to go.”
When asked about the finale, Michael Waldron admitted that some details were always in flux:
“These endings are always evolving, but from the beginning [producer] Stephen Broussard [had the idea] that in the end He Who Remains would weaponize free will against Loki and Sylvie. The very thing that they’ve been striving for, he would use it against them to break them apart.”
For the surprise appearance of Jonathan Majors as Kang multiverse variant He Who Remains, Waldron talked about the search for the right actor once most of the scripts were in place:
“We’d definitely written down the road on the drafts as we were casting him, so we had a good idea of the characterization. What we knew is that it was going to take an absolutely phenomenal actor to sell this thing because so much of the finale really was going to hang on the shoulders of a performance of this guy that the audience hadn’t met before, delivering a lot of exposition. Which, as I say it out loud, seems insane. But when when we cast Jonathan it was suddenly like ‘Wow.’ We knew that he was not just going to sell it, he was going to make it even better than we ever thought it could be.
“It was always He Who Remains, from very early on. Certainly when I first sat down to write episode six, I knew that was a version, a variant, of Kang the Conqueror. Then what the TVA [a multiverse management organization] was trying to do, was prevent an infestation of Kangs and the Multiverse.”
Regarding the episodic nature of the show, where each episode felt unique and individual:
“That was that was absolutely a deliberate choice. It was important to me that every episode stood alone. I think in great TV, each episode feels like a short story, that when put together is a rich fulfilling overall narrative. Of course there’s stuff like Stranger Things where maybe that’s not the case but that [still] works great. In our case, I wanted each episode to really stand alone.”
Speaking to his experience working on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with director Sam Raimi (the Spider-Man trilogy), Waldron said:
“That was a blast. That was an experience of a lifetime and we had a great time developing and writing that movie last year and then shooting it over in London at the end of last year and the top of this year. It was great. Sam [Raimi]’s an incredible director. The cast is unreal on that movie. It’s a hell of a ride.”
Comparing In the Multiverse of Madness to the 2016 Doctor Strange movie written by C. Robert Cargill and directed by Scott Derrickson:
“I think that that Stephen Strange has been through so much between that first movie and now. That first movie was an incredible origin story of how he became a sorcerer, but now he’s been through that. He’s fought Thanos and he’s on the other end of it. He’s at the height of his powers, so it’s an interesting place to to catch up with him.
When asked about how Benedict Cumberpatch’s Doctor Strange will react to Wanda and Loki disrupting time, reality, and the multiverse in WandaVision and Loki, Waldron teased:
“I think Benedict’s great at selling that Harrison Ford “Oh God, here we go again” thing, so yeah hopefully we’ll get a little bit of that energy.”
On writing Loki then Doctor Strange, Michael Waldron described the experience:
“It was good, except for all the times in writing Loki that we were like “Well that’ll be Doctor Strange 2‘s problem” and then suddenly it’s [my] problem! No, it’s great to continue to expand the MCU and get to lay another brick in that amazing ongoing story. It’s a privilege.”
It’s great having Michael Waldron’s witty and unpredictable writing skills at Marvel Studios, and we’re excited to see what he works on next! The first season of Loki is streaming on Disney+ now and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will release in theaters in just 8 months on March 25, 2022. Did you love Loki? Are you hyped for Doctor Strange 2? Let us know on social media!
Source: Geek Vibes Nation (Youtube)