Loki takes Tom Hiddleston’s shapeshifting god of mischief out of his usual friend (and frenemy) circle and transposes him into a strange new world at the Time Variance Authority, filled with equally strange new characters. So what happens if you’re one of the few arbiters of the MCU’s goings-on involved? If you’re Tom Hiddleston, you apparently become a lecturer.
“Before we started filming, Tom very generously and patiently kind of took me through the whole MCU mythology and Loki—we’re calling them “The Loki Lectures”—and let me kind of ask questions, and I think that was really important,” Owen Wilson, who plays Agent Mobius (ostensibly the Loki expert at the TVA) in Loki, said about his experience on-set during a press conference for the Disney+ show this week. “[It was] really helpful to our dynamic once we started filming the scenes, because some of our conversations just—when we were going over that stuff—would just kind of work its way in. So, that was really helpful to me, going to Loki school before we began.”
“It was such an interesting time, trying to compress the experience of my time in the MCU—six movies!—and Mobius is an expert on Loki,” Hiddleston added of his “lessons.” “He knows more about Loki than Loki does. So, Owen helped with some of my memories of my experience, and asked such insightful, intelligent questions that made me rethink various aspects of the character, and I think our conversations found their way into the scenes themselves. Which is really nice.”
Hiddleston’s passion for the character stems from not just his time in the MCU being so extensive at this point—from the original Thor to the character’s seeming “end” at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War—but with the myriad of creatives he worked with to grow the character over that time period. And it meant, not just as an actor but an executive producer on the show, he ultimately imparted his “Loki Lecture” knowledge not just to his co-stars, but departments across Loki’s production. “I remember [speaking to] every department—camera, stunts, costume design, production design—the series was going to touch on so many certain aspects of Loki’s history, and I think they were curious about so many different decisions that had been made by everybody that had been inspiration for what had come before,” Hiddleston said. “So, from Kenneth Branagh, Alex Burn, Charlie Wood, Taika Waititi, Joe and Anthony Russo—all these people who contributed to Loki’s story, things like why his costume changes, or adaptations to his choreography, or changes in the dramatic arc—and I hope when the show unfolds, the specificity or precision about these certain aspects of Loki become clearer.”
“I hope it was interesting,” the actor joked of his professorial role. “I do remember people wanted to know about the horns, I do remember that. There’s a question of when he wears them, and why he wears them—is it a ceremonial thing? Are they somehow an extension of some emotional intention where he’s particularly malevolent at those times? And it was interesting to be asked these questions from outside, I guess. All will become clear in time!”
Alas, not everyone on set had the benefit of the God of Mischief filling them in on all things Asgardian. Co-stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wunmi Mosaku, who play Judge Ravonna Renslayer and Hunter B-15 in Loki, were away from filming when Hiddleston’s lectures were happening on set. “I think I was in London when the Loki Lectures started, I missed it!” Mbatha-Raw joked. “But Tom helped me with some pronunciation of a few things and it’s great just to have Tom on hand, just as our leader and encyclopedia.”
“I missed the Loki Lectures [as well],” Mosaku added. “I got sort of a Marvel lecture from Kate [Herron, Loki director], from Iron Man to the season finale of Loki, and how we all fit in. But no, I watched the films, Tom filled me in on Loki, and… I got some gossip!”
You’ll be able to see how Hiddleston’s lectures paid off when Loki begins on Disney+ tomorrow, June 9.