Exclusive: Loki head writer, Michael Waldron, explains why the other Lokis in episode 5 are more successful than Tom Hiddleston’s central variant.
Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Loki Episode 5
Loki head writer, Michael Waldron, explains why the other Lokis are more successful than Tom Hiddleston’s central variant. In Loki, Hiddleston plays the 2012 version of the God of Mischief who escaped with the Tesseract during Avengers: Endgame’s time heist and is then arrested by the Time Variance Authority (TVA). In episode 4 of the series, Loki is pruned right after he and Lady Loki, a.k.a. Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) discover that the TVA’s figureheads, the Time-Keepers, are mindless androids.
Episode 5, “Journey Into Mystery,” picks up where the fourth episode left off: with Loki waking up in “The Void,” the TVA’s wasteland at the end of time, surrounded by pruned variants of himself; including Classic Loki, Kid Loki, Boastful Loki, and, of course, Alligator Loki. A handful of other green variants like President Loki (also played by Hiddleston) appear throughout the episode and share the trickster’s penchant for treachery, half-baked schemes, and fulfilling their “glorious purpose.” When the Loki variants end up in a room together, they inevitably and hilariously betray one another. Despite Loki’s protagonist (now) being one of the more reasonable Lokis, he wasn’t as successful, or at least didn’t avoid the TVA for as long as the others did on the timeline.
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In Screen Rant’s interview with Loki‘s head writer, Michael Waldron, he discusses this idea and Loki’s role on the Scared Timeline. Hearkening back to Mobius’ conversation with Loki in the pilot episode, Waldron talked about how Loki’s job is to lose so that others, like the Avengers, can win. Read what he had to say below:
He’s the Loki that was supposed to stay on the timeline. All those Lokis who had all those successes were Lokis who got pruned by the TVA. As Mobius says, ‘It’s your job to lose so others can become the best versions of themselves.’ That’s the part Loki is meant to play on the Sacred Timeline. The question is: can you change?
In episode 5, Classic Loki says “we lie and we cheat, we cut the throat of every person who trusts us, and for what? Power. Glorious power. Glorious purpose!” to which Kid Loki replies, “we’re broken, every version of us. Forever. And whenever one of us dares try to fix themselves, they’re sent here to die.” Kid Loki’s Nexus Event was killing Thor and Classic Loki’s was surviving the events of Avengers: Infinity War. However, the TVA never took notice because Classic Loki went to a remote planet and spent (presumably) hundreds of years in solitude, so it wasn’t until he emerged that he was arrested. While Classic Loki’s lack of effect on the timeline explains his success, it’s still unclear how variants like President Loki were able to accomplish so much without being pruned at the first Nexus Event (did their pruning come after the founding of the TVA?).
Loki’s anti-hero wasn’t supposed to go on and die at the hands of Thanos in Infinity War. Instead, he survived; escaping with the Tesseract circa 2012. In episode 5, he says “nothing can change until the TVA is stopped” because the bureaucratic organization is determinism realized. Loki deals with the meta in that the God of Mischief is a character, draped in green to symbolize traits like greed, envy, and cowardice. Except Hiddleston’s Loki stopped wearing green episodes ago and he stopped being a coward when he met Sylvie— whose Nexus Event might have simply been being good (young Sylvie is seen playing out a heroic scenario with her toys in episode 4). Classic Loki shows them that they’re “more powerful than they realize” and together, hopefully, they’re becoming the best version of themselves as they confront the creator of the TVA in episode 6.
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