Yes, Loki Series director Kate Herron knows your fan theory about the show, the analysis you posted on social media. No, she won’t tell you what she thinks or if you were right.
“I follow all conversations on Twitter,” Herron said shortly afterwards in an interview with Polygon LokiSeason 1 finale. “I don’t always complain about them because I did the show so they don’t want me to weigh myself ‘Indeed‘Folks …’ I think that’s the whole point of art – it should be up for debate and discussion. “
[Ed. note: Spoilers ahead for season 1 of Loki.]
Loki was a hit for the streaming service Disney Plus – Episode 6 of the show, the final part of that season, was reportedly observed by more households than any of the platform’s MCU finals to date. The series was a popular source for fan guesswork and argument, with one particularly big conversation centered on whether the burgeoning romantic relationship between trickster Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his alternate universe counterpart Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) is a form of incest.
Herron is ready to talk about it. “My interpretation is that they are both Lokis, but not the same person,” she says. “I don’t see them as brothers and sisters. They have very different backgrounds […] and I think that’s really important to her character. In a sense, they have the same role in relation to the universe and destiny, but they will not make the same decisions. “
Herron says thematically that Loki falling in love with Sylvie is an exploration of “self-love,” but only in the sense that Loki learns to understand his own motives and integrity. “[The show is] look at the self and ask: ‘What defines us?’ ”says Herron. “I mean, look at all of the Lokis on the whole show, they’re all completely different. I think there is something beautiful about his romantic relationship with Sylvie, but they are not interchangeable. “
Staging the final kiss between the two characters was a complicated process as it had to communicate something about each of them within seconds. Herron says the main goal was to create a safe, comfortable environment for Hiddleston and Di Martino, and after that she had to think about how to convey the conflicting goals of Loki and Sylvie at that moment.
“It’s interesting, isn’t it?” She says. “Emotionally, from Sylvie’s point of view, I think it’s a farewell. But it’s still an accumulation of all of these feelings. Both have grown mixed up in the last few episodes. It was important to me that it didn’t feel like a trick, like she was cheating on him. On the one hand, she obviously does, but I don’t feel like the kiss is any less real. I think she is doing badly, but her feelings are true. “
Herron says that Hiddleston’s directing in the scene was largely due to discussing the speech Loki Sylvie made before the kiss. “It was really important to show Loki this new place,” says Herron. “In the first episode he says, ‘I want the throne, I want to rule,’ and in episode 6 he no longer focuses on this selfish desire. He just wants her to be fine. “
Loki writer and producer Eric Martin recently tweeted that he wished the show could have focused more on two of its supporting characters, Owen Wilson’s agent for the Time Variance Authority, Mobius M. Mobius, and Gugu Mbatha-Raws Ravonna Renslayer. “I wanted to explore them deeper and really see their relationship,” he says, “but Covid was in the way and we just didn’t have time.”
When asked if Loki and Sylvie’s relationship suffered from similar necessary changes, Herron says it’s true that the show’s creators and audience still don’t know all that Sylvie went through to make them so from the original version from Loki of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “We saw her as a child, but she lived in apocalypses on the run for thousands and thousands of years,” she says. “I think there is so much more to discover with Sylvie […] You fill in the gaps. Do you see [her on the planet] Lamentis, and it’s awful. And you think, “Well, what kind of person would you be who grew up in apocalypses? What kind of personality would that give her? “
Herron says Sylvie’s backstory actually reminds her of the 1995 film Jumanjiwhere a young boy is drawn into a magical board game in 1969 and shows up as a full-grown man 26 years later, played by Robin Williams with typical manic energy. “It’s such an odd reference, but …” she says. “He’s a little boy when he’s caught in this game and when he comes out it was obviously a life experience. It’s similar with Sylvie. She was a kid when she had to flee so her life was very difficult. I would love to see more of this. As Eric said, she is a rich character, there is so much to discover. “
However, Herron says that during her time on the show, material about Sylvie was added rather than edited – specifically those scenes of her as a child being kidnapped by the TVA. “That was before my time, but I know that there were many ways in the writer’s room to find out about Sylvie on the run and what her life was like,” says Herron. “I don’t want to talk to them anymore because I wasn’t there when they were discussed. But there wasn’t something in there that was important to me – I had the feeling we should see her [history] in the TVA. Myself and the team talked about how useful it makes, because Episode 4 is about twisting the idea that the TVA could be turned upside down. And that came later when I got around to seeing her as a kid. I think we had to see this, not to fully understand her, but to get an idea of her motivations for why she is so angry with this place. “
In the broader sense of the series finale, Herron says the final episodes weren’t as heavily referential as the first episodes she intended as “love letters to science fiction”. While early images such as the TVA’s interrogation rooms had specific visual references from past science fiction, the locations of Episode 6 were more likely to be drawn from the collaboration with the crew.
“Our storyboard artists came up with the idea that the physical timeline would be circular,” says Herron. “I had in the scripts ‘We’ll move through space until the end of time’ and then me and [storyboard artist Darrin Denlinger] discussed how we can play with the idea of time while adding MCU nicks as well. He said, ‘What if the timeline is circular?’ I think this is as impressive a picture as the citadel is, at the end of time, the needle on a record player. I just thought it was such a cool picture, but it wasn’t necessarily taken over by anything. “
Episode 6 focuses heavily on the mysterious character He Who Remains and his Citadel, a space that, in her opinion, was largely conceived by production designer Kasra Farahani. “I remember he brought the art of the citadel with him, and I thought it was beautiful,” says Herron. “He said, ‘The citadel was carved out of a real meteorite,’ which I thought was such an inspired idea. And the office of the one who remains is the only finished part of it. “
She says there are few direct tributes in episode 6, including the space zoom shot directly referring to a similar sequence in Robert Zemeckis‘ 1997 film Contact.
“And then I have my Teletubbies reference for episode 5,” says Herron. “I wanted the void to feel like an overgrown garden, like a forgotten place. And I realized that I had called it a British country. I remember trying to explain to ILM who did the visual effects and saying, ‘Oh, you know, it’s like the Teletubbies. They are just rolling hills, but they last forever. ‘ That was actually a pretty helpful reference in the end, which is funny. “
When asked about her favorite set memory of filming the season, Herron says that what matters is that Tom Hiddleston starts an exertion mania before the shoot. “Sometimes he runs around to get himself into the right mindset before performing,” she says. “He does pushups. You know, you go into an action scene, you want to look like you just ran. And it got contagious with all of the performers. We have so much footage from – I think Jack [Veal] Made it who plays Kid Loki. I have [shots of] he and Sophia do pushups and squats just to get ready. It was so fun to watch this echo throughout the cast. I think they all did these exercises with him at some point. It was so funny.”
“This may be my favorite story on set, but honestly, not a cute one,” she adds. “I would say my favorite thing is his enthusiasm. He is a very nice, empathic person. We shot this in pretty difficult circumstances, a lot of people were far from home and isolated, and he brought that warmth and energy and joy to the set every day. And I think it made everyone feel very safe and very connected. I am forever grateful to him for that. ”