‘Loki’ Head Writer on ‘Doctor Strange’ Ties and Why Loki’s Post-‘Avengers’ Fate Still Matters

Plus, Michael Waldron breaks down that great D.B. Cooper gag

Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

(This story contains SPOILERS for the first episode of Marvel Studios’ “Loki”)

We already knew of one connection between “Loki” and the upcoming “Doctor Strange” sequel, “Multiverse of Madness.” They both have the same man — Michael Waldron — writing the script.

The premiere episode of “Loki” introduces the Time Variance Authority and its role in guarding the “sacred timeline,” which was forged by three omnipresent Time Keepers as a way to control the chaos from too many battling multiverses. While “Ant-Man” and the first “Doctor Strange” introduced the concept of multiple dimensions (and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” used that concept as a red herring), “Loki” is so far the first MCU project that goes full bore into the Marvel multiverse.

We couldn’t help but ask Waldron if “Loki” has a role to play in setting up his “Doctor Strange” sequel, considering that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is helping the TVA to apprehend another version of himself, who no doubt appears to be wreaking some inter-dimensional havoc.

“With ‘Loki,’ we absolutely wanted to make a show that was going to have a huge impact on the MCU moving forward,” Waldron said. “The charge was to make the ‘Loki’ show the best it could possibly be and then how does that ripple out into movies to come? I guess everybody will just have to wait to find out.”

The version of Loki that shows up is not the same one who had the life choked out of him by Thanos (Josh Brolin) in “Avengers: Infinity War,” meaning he hasn’t gone through his redemption arc that happened after 2012’s “The Avengers,” the time period that serves as the series’ jumping off point. During the premiere, however, this version of Loki is able to see how his life and death actually happened via some swanky, very retro-looking TVA technology.

“I actually never wanted to forget it,” Waldron says of Loki’s post-“Avengers” story. “We knew early on that we wanted to have this Loki experience it and see it because even though he didn’t live it, our audience did. And the folks who love Loki know that that was part of his journey. We don’t want to say that that stuff didn’t matter.”

Having Loki witness his own fate also sets him apart from the still-very-a-much villain arc he was on when his bid to takeover the Earth failed. “It became our job to bring this guy up to speed, but then hopefully launch him on his new equally fulfilling, but hopefully very different, journey,” Waldron continued, adding that the show, much like the TVA itself, seeks to put Loki on trial.

“That’s what great TV is to me, in a lot of ways, is your is putting characters on trial and making them reckon with who they are, why they’ve made choices they’ve made and maybe seeing who they are at the end of that. And so I think that’s certainly one of the opportunities we are trying.”

In the first episode Mobius (Owen Wilson) get to the heart of what makes Loki tick, including how his schemes often don’t fully work. It also spotlighted a bit of Loki’s past that we didn’t previously know about, and in the process solved one of the biggest urban legends in American history: The identity of D.B. Cooper.

As it turns out, it was Loki all along.

A brief explainer on D.B. Cooper: That was the name used by the media to describe a man identified as Dan Cooper, who hijacked a Boeing 747 in 1971, secured a $200,000 ransom and several parachutes, then leapt out of the plane over southern Washington to an unknown fate. The FBI spent 45 years on the case without ever identifying who this stranger was; to this day it’s the only unsolved instance of commercial air piracy in American history.

Waldron explained he used it as a way to show the type of stuff the TVA will allow to happen, provided it keeps with the proper flow of time.

“I needed just an example of what is a time that you might think the TVA should have intervened in his life but didn’t. We wanted to have a few examples of historical events and everything but nothing too obvious,” Waldron said. “That just felt like that kind of sweet spot deep-cut to drop in.”


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