April 6-7, 2024
He may have first been introduced to audiences as a duplicitous villain of Shakespearean proportions, but Tom Hiddleston’s iconic God of Mischief has evolved over the past 12 years to become one of the most beloved and interesting characters in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Possessed with a quick wit, an irrepressible charm, and a penchant for getting into the kinds of trouble that only a seasoned trickster god can, Hiddleston’s Loki proudly ranks alongside Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man as one of the most popular and well-devised casting decisions in the history of the entire MCU.
Long-term MCU visual effects supervisor turned Loki season 2 episode director Dan DeLeeuw is certainly one to agree. “I think it’s Tom,” he says when asked what it is about Loki’s enduring appeal after more than a decade since his cinematic debut in 2011’s Thor. “It’s one of those perfect castings. If it wasn’t Tom Hiddleston as Loki, I mean, you’d like the character for sure, [he’d still] be a great character, but it wouldn’t be embodied the way that Tom embodies Loki.”
And DeLeeuw is certainly no stranger to the ever-growing roster of faces that have quickly become the backbone of the world’s largest and most influential cinematic franchise. First joining Marvel Studios as a 2nd unit visual effects supervisor on Iron Man 3, over the years the seasoned MCU veteran was able to steadily progress toward landing his own directorial debut in one of the most anticipated and celebrated shows on streaming television.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” DeLeeuw says of his transition into directing, and he lays much of the credit at the feet of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo. “Working with the Russo brothers, and their encouragement and their ability to be really collaborative and open to ideas… [I] was able to design a lot of the sequences in the [last two Avengers] films.
“And so, they gave me the opportunity to start shooting additional photography on Endgame. I just kept pushing the idea of story and when I worked for [producer] Kevin Wright on Loki season 1, he took notice of that.”
As for Hiddleston’s Loki, his own return to the Time Variance Authority in season 2 is beginning to mark a newfound sense of purpose and belonging for the wayward Asgardian prince.
“I think season one was about tearing [Loki’s] character down,” DeLeeuw explains. “Taking his powers away and then making him face the choices that he made. And then him realising that those weren’t always the best choices.”
But just because Loki may slowly be coming to regret his past actions, season 2 also sees him finally coming to terms with his dual nature and darker desires. “He also knows that the dark side of him is a part of him,” DeLeeuw continues. “He has to accept that is who he is, otherwise, he’s not going to be a complete entity or person or god.
“But he’s [also] finding friendship with Mobius. He’s finding the capacity to empathise… But at the same time, he knows that it’s okay to be evil so long as he doesn’t go too far down.”
Deleeuw’s episode, dubbed Breaking Brad, sees Loki and Mobius attempting to track down the missing TVA hunter X-5 in a bid to see him reunite with Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie. While it is particularly satisfying to see Loki return to his majestic and confident self after having been so thoroughly dejected by his encounter with He Who Remains in the season 1 finale, it also offered DeLeeuw a unique opportunity to give a sneaky nod to another rumored Hiddleston role.
Currently considered among a long list of potential front runners for the coveted role of James Bond, season 2, episode 2 sees Loki uncharacteristically switch into action hero mode as he chases down the rogue TVA agent dressed in a 1970s-era tuxedo. Making the connection even more apparent, Loki dons the kind of iconic ruffled shirts once worn by George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
“We’re all aware of it for sure,” DeLeeuw admits about Hiddleston’s frequent flirtation with the famous MI-6 agent and the parallels with his episode. “It was funny too, because when we modeled The Zaniac! premiere [featured in the scene], we looked at a lot of the [1970s] premieres in London and the big marquee out front was always like the James Bond films… we probably based it off of the Moonraker marquee.”
Of course, Hiddleston is not the only one bringing his unique magic to Marvel’s returning series, and Loki season 2 also features the introduction of a new TVA character in the form of Ke Huy Quan’s Ouroboros (or O.B. for short).
“He has this amazing energy,” DeLeeuw enthusiastically explains the contribution of the recent Academy Award winner. “He is able to make a lot of the tech, the science of the TVA like you can understand it and you get excited for him.
“He’s like the science teacher in school who is super excited about science and is able to get you get you through the lessons. His performance is amazing… he’s just an amazing actor and he’s always great to have on set.”
As for what the events of Loki season 2 will mean for the future of the MCU, DeLeeuw remains characteristically tight-lipped when pressed about Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
“Because the TVA’s outside of the multiverse, you know, we’re not really dealing with what’s inside the multiverse too much,” he cautiously offers. “’I’m not exactly sure what they’re planning, but I think having Kang as a character is going to be really great because I love Kang in the comics.”
With two episodes of Loki season 2 already available to stream on Disney+, Hiddleston’s majestic God of Mischief is set to return to screens again this Friday October 20 and continuing weekly thereafter.