The future of the MCU is mischief. Reaffirming that the streaming series are just as important to the ongoing Marvel saga as the movies, Loki‘s finale episode not only introduced the next cross-universe big bad in Jonathan Majors (previously announced to be playing Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) but the entire freaking multiverse. Season 1 ultimately ended as it began: With the God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston) transported to who knows where to cause who knows how much trouble. (The finale also confirmed Loki will be back for a season 2.)
All that chaos unfolded under the watchful eye of rockstar director and executive producer Kate Herron, who helmed each of the first six episodes and brought her especial sensibilities to every aspect of the series, including the continued evolution of Loki himself. Following the season 1 finale, ET spoke with Herron about crafting Loki’s arc across the season and introducing Majors into the MCU.
ET: I just saw that you said you’re not coming back for season 2, but I cannot imagine this show without you. How can we change your mind?
Kate Herron: For me, I always planned to come in and do these six episodes, because when I started on it, we didn’t know we were going to have a season 2 until much later. And that’s out of the amazing work that our team did, and everyone was so excited and it felt like there was much more road travel with the characters. But I think for me, I’m so proud of the work I’ve done in getting to set up the TVA and Loki’s journey, but it’s a massive undertaking because we don’t run these in the showrunner system. It is like directing a six-hour movie. So, I feel like I gave it everything I had. Like, all my heart, all my soul, and I’m so proud of it. But yeah, I feel like it needs fresh eyes. And I’m excited to see where they take the story next. I feel like we’ve left so many cool questions and things yet to be explored, with Loki and his character and Sylvie and, like, who’s B-15? I feel like there’s just so much cool stuff to dig into, so I’m excited to see where they take it.
If not you, who is finally going to get Mobius on that jet ski?
I think someone awesome. [Laughs]
Do you have a dream director or dream directors you’d want to see carry on what you started?
No. Honestly, I just think it’s someone that will love Loki, right? And be excited by what we did and wants to just push it even further. Our show is so weird and fun, and I think there’s so much that you could do with it. I’m just excited to see what someone does.
Let’s talk about this finale. It feels almost more low-key than most Marvel third acts, but you’ve got a lot going on here: There’s Loki and Sylvie’s relationship, you’re answering questions about the TVA, you’re making Miss Minutes spooky ooky. What were the things that were most important to you to accomplish with this final episode?
Well, I think the thing that was always important to us, first and foremost, was that our Loki, it’s his journey that he goes on, and that’s something that we definitely were looking at for a long time. We always knew that they were going to go to the Citadel and they were going to meet He Who Remains and that the multiverse will be released. We didn’t know necessarily how they were going to get to that point exactly, but I think something that it needed to be through Loki and Sylvie’s relationship, and it was really powerful in the power being given to them. That’s kind of what unravels it all. For a character that in episode 1 wants the throne and now in episode 6 doesn’t want that at all and he just wants this other version of him to be OK, I think that felt like a really powerful place to show his journey.
It was really important to me that that moment when he lands in the Time Theater and obviously, his heart has been shattered, but I always thought of that line, “Lokis always survive.” It was really important to show that he’s completely deflated, but he still has fight in him, because we do that push-in shot and Tom does that beautiful performance, where it’s like he kind of collects himself and he’s like, “I’m not going to be broken by this, because I am a stronger Loki now.” And then he realizes he’s in a different reality, so it’s going to be quite a challenge for him. But I think that that was really important to show that: That he’s survived. He loved and lost, but it didn’t end him. And then for Sylvie, she’s obviously in a very different place. I always think of her being where Tom’s Loki was in Thor, because she’s so driven by rage and revenge in that moment.
You also get to be the one to introduce Kang, or at least his Variant, in He Who Remains. Talk to me about what was actually on the page and then what Jonathan brought to it and getting to be on set and working with him to create this character.
So, something that was always on the page which I liked was he was always introduced in the elevator, and it was very laid-back. He’s like, “Oh, hey guys.” That was already in the writing and that was so funny to me. Episode 6, at one point, we had a big action sequence, and we realized as I was cutting episode 1, like, “Oh no, there’s so much more tension in just letting it be a conversation like the first episode.” For me, it was so exciting, because then it’s just a big tension-builder. Like, boom, they meet Miss Minutes and she’s going to tempt them, and it doesn’t go well, but it’s still building tension right up to this huge reveal. And then it’s almost like a rug pull, because it’s just this guy being like, “Hey. Hi. How are you?” And I think that was so fun.
With Jonathan’s performance, he just elevated it. He’s an incredible actor. We spoke a lot about he’s this character surrounded by all this chaos of the universe, but he’s very isolated and very alone and what would a character like that be like? I think all my team were inspired by that. Kasra [Farahani], my production designer, was like, “I love the idea that maybe his office is the only finished part of the Citadel.” And the rest of the Citadel, I always spoke about Sunset Boulevard and these old mansions covered in cobwebs and stuff. I think they even say, like, “Is he still alive?” when they get there. And in the costume with Christine Wada, it was playing around with the idea of the Variant characters of him — obviously with the piece on the chest — but also you can’t quite place his outfit in time. It’s got influences from across time, but it’s also got a pajama-like quality to it, because he’s just hanging out in his office, I suppose like we all were last year, just at home in our loungewear or whatever. So, I think there was a lot of fun to be done with that, but really, with Jonathan, he’s such an amazing actor. He’s one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with, and I think with someone like that, it’s just giving them room to play and having that back, really. It was so much fun to work with him.
Coming in knowing he is going to play Kang the Conqueror proper eventually, do you and Jonathan already have to begin to figure out how he’ll play Kang, so that he knows the two will be different in the end?
I would say for me, we were just focused on He Who Remains, because he’s the Variant I was dealing with. So in some ways, it alleviated the pressure of that. I suppose the closest you get of a promise of that character is when he talks about his other Variants. When he says, “If you think I’m evil, well, just wait.” And you see that fear in his eyes. I think for me as a fan, I’d be like, “Oooh great. This is going to be great.” [Laughs] Honestly, we were just focused on He Who Remains, and then the rest of that is in Jonathan’s hands and Peyton [Reed] and the other directors that will work with him. So, no, we were just focused on our Variant, basically, in our story.
Before I let you go, I want to ask about something that happened all the way back in episode 1, which was fans thought they might’ve seen a Peggy Carter cameo at the TVA. Can you explain what was happening there?
I would say– [Laughs] No, I think the conversation should continue!
Season 1 of Loki is now streaming on Disney+.
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