This story contains spoilers for the Season Two finale of Loki.
It's been—what's the word?—a hectic couple of months for Loki's executive producer and head writer, Eric Martin. Rolling out a six-episode television series from a billion-dollar-plus-grossing superhero universe is no easy feat, even during normal times. But doing it during an actors' strike, which pretty much shifts the promotion of said television series entirely onto your own shoulders? Phew.
So when I caught up with Martin not even 24 hours after Loki's uber-chaotic Season Two finale aired, I asked him, you know, how he was doing. "I'm good," he said. "Relieved more than anything. I'm not great at celebrating victories. But I definitely felt some pride and had a bunch of people over from the show last night to watch the finale. That was a lovely event."
Even by MCU-postgame standards, we had a lot to talk about. Of course, the Loki finale begged a multiverse's worth of questions: Is Tom Hiddleston's Loki the most powerful being in this entire story, quite literally holding time and space together? Will Owen Wilson's Mobius transition to a full-time, Heineken-sipping suburban dad? Is Season Three in the cards?
Also, how Martin handled the ongoing legal issues of star Jonathan Majors, which emerged after filming wrapped. Uneven responses from reviewers and fans, too. Add to that, Variety's explosive dispatch from earlier this month, which alleged significant turmoil at Marvel.
Here, Martin opened up about Loki's journey to true godliness, where Sophia Di Martino's Sylvie goes next, his thoughts on Loki's critics, and more. This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
ERIC MARTIN: That's an interesting question, because time isn't passing. I always approached it as if there is a [nutritive] requirement. Thermodynamics still apply and they need to create energy to move. But they don't get much time for it. Everything moves quickly at the TVA. You're always working and you get your nine-minute lunch break. There was a great gag we had in Season One. We ended up just having to cut it, but it was funny. We see a hunter in the cafeteria—they finish their meal, and then they just prune the tray. Instead of throwing anything away.
The big idea was taking Loki from a lowercase-g god, to a capital-G God, powering him up to that place where he gets his throne—but it's not a throne he wants anymore. This is a duty. He's doing this so everyone else can have their lives. He's giving up the thing that he wants most so that everyone else can have their free will… We wanted to power up his abilities, but also his wisdom and knowledge.
I leave that up to interpretation. That final image is meant to be ambiguous. So I'll let people make up their own minds there. If you look into mythology, someone like Atlas is an interesting person to look at with that.
Mobius was the one in turmoil through all of this, truly not knowing which way to go. As much as he was this rascal that kind of broke the rules a little bit, he was a company man. Now, finding out that company isn't a place [where] he wants to work scrambled everything going into Season Two. So it's like, Well, what is my role? He just takes on the mission, while trying to ignore the other possibilities that are now out there. So with him by the end of the season, it's like he's just now able to go explore and figure out the opportunities that are out there.
Sylvie is interesting, because of all the stuff with McDonald's and her living that quiet life. It feels very gap year-ish. I'm not quite ready to grow up and do the thing. And she was pulled out of that. Now the work begins. I'm not sure where she goes from here. But I don't think she's going to live just a quiet life. Maybe she would. I don't know. But she's going to make a very active decision about what she's going to do—whatever that is. She's making that choice. It isn't just like, Oh, I'm going to feel things out. She's going to go in a direction.
Oh, yeah. It was amazing. Everything was so period-specific. McDonald's has an in-house historian that advises on [projects like this]. It's one of those things I never considered like, Is that a thing? And then it's like, Of course it is. That's a gigantic company.
I'll let people muse about what that can mean. She's up in the air. There are things that can happen with her. If you look to the comics, there are some fun inferences that can be drawn from the pyramid. And you know, who knows? Does Alioth kill her? Or did they strike up a friendship? Maybe Alioth remembers her? I don't know.
You know, it's just: Try to keep it about the show. Let's do the best thing we can, here. There's so much, like—we just don't know about anything. So, OK, what can we do with our show? Let's just treat our show with respect, and you see what happens. It's a difficult situation all the way around.
You know, that's a larger studio conversation. For us, we were just focused on what we had and making that.
Yeah, no, we didn't do any reshoots for this season. There was no additional photography. So everything we shot, there in London, is what we see.
That is a decision that is made above my pay grade. They decide who's going to end up in what things.
I actually don't know what the overall story is going to be. Things are so siloed off. I hope that we've been good teammates and created fertile ground for other things. The goal is to make it so good that the rest of the MCU comes to you. Obviously, I'd love to see all of our characters live on—OB and Ke certainly deserve to continue on. I'd be shocked if they didn't use them.
Thanks for watching? [Laughs.] No, I mean, I don't want to be ridiculous about that. Seriously, thanks for watching, and I hope they stuck with it. I think we had a challenging season with a lot going on. And I'm sure people at points got a little frustrated, like, Well, is this gonna lead to anything? But it always was.
That's the tough thing about Rotten Tomatoes, and people reviewing and weighing in on things that are in progress. Nobody's going out and reviewing a movie at the midpoint. It doesn't make any sense. You need to see the whole [season]. But I hope they stuck around, and I hope it landed for them. Ultimately, I'm just glad they watched.
Yeah, for sure. I'm really happy. We had a weekly release. It's good for the industry; for the viewers; for the people making it. It makes what we do a little more precious, and it doesn't reduce it down to your weekend binge, and then you forget about it. It's good to live with these things, and to absorb them and fight about it. It makes it all more valuable.
The last time we saw Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), he and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) killed Kang (Jonathan Majors) (the latter plunging a dagger into Kang's heart) and started a multiversal war—one that is the McGuffin for MCU's Phase 4.
Except, that was waylaid by a worldwide pandemic. And Majors' domestic abuse scandal didn't help matters so we don't even know if Majors will be a major player (ugggggh) in Marvel's future. There has been a bit of rejigging in terms of the storyline so we're not sure if Kang will be the big bad. But with enough time and distance, people will forget about the hiccups in favour of a newer, better thing.
But even with the presence of Kang in the second season of Loki, this is still about Loki. This is after all the titular demi-god of trickery and excellent hair's rodeo. He's now an agent of TVA (Time Variance Authority) and he'll be working with Mobius M Mobius (Owen Wilson), Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and introducing OB or Ouroboros played by Oscar winner, Ke Huy Quan. And who is OB? According to a featurette, he acts like a Q-type who is in charge of the gadgets and sage wisdom.
Loki is also susceptible to timeslipping, where he phases in and out of his current and other timelines. Will this be detrimental to his well-being like the Spider variants from the Spider-Verse? Is this a side-effect of the multerverse? And what is the deal with Miss Minutes, TVA's animated anthropomorphic clock mascot (voiced by Tara Strong)? We won't know until the first episode drops 6 October.
Loki season 2 will drop on Disney+ this Friday.