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Tom Hiddleston Gave Loki Cast & Crew “Loki Lectures” On the Character’s History

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok.

Loki star Tom Hiddleston apparently went to great lengths to ensure his Marvel character was understood in the new Loki-centric Disney+ production. Hiddleston gave his co-star Owen Wilson insight into the character’s history that Wilson said was “like the Loki lectures,” while series director Kate Herron described a presentation Hiddleston gave crew department heads thusly: “He prepared for it as though he were giving a lecture at Cambridge.”

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To be clear, none of these reports have made Hiddleston’s “Loki lectures” sound overbearing or cause for complaint. Rather, they are depicted as charming and useful, indicative of the actor’s decade-long commitment to the character and the heights of his preparatory work. And, well, Hiddleston did go to Cambridge, where he earned a degree in Classics before he went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. As he’s proven whenever he has the opportunity to discuss something nerdy, that academic instinct dies hard.

It’s not difficult to imagine Hiddleston compiling a detailed PowerPoint presentation on the character that made him a star. Loki’s trajectory in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a twisty one—antagonist to villain to antihero to hero and then back to Avengers villain-era Loki. So it was no doubt helpful to have Hiddleston’s recap and perspective on where Loki was emotionally throughout the six movies he has appeared in (Thor, Avengers, The Dark World, Ragnarok, Infinity War, and Endgame).

The Direct quotes Owen Wilson explaining how Hiddleston caught him up to speed on Loki’s past with in-depth conversations that spanned several days.

“Actually, Tom Hiddleston — who of course plays Loki — he kind of — or we kind of — you know, they were almost like the Loki lectures.”

Wilson described these lectures as taking place over the course of a couple of days, with Hiddleston apparently pacing back and forth as he explained Loki’s lore and history.

“And so he, for a couple days, walked me through everything and the whole lore and showing me clips from the other movies and how it all fed into this story. So, it was really kind of Tom telling me about it and telling me about his character.”

Hiddleston’s insights ended up informing Wilson’s performance, as Wilson’s character Mobius M. Mobius is meant to know pretty much everything there is to know about Loki:

“And even in the way sometimes that he would describe his character, it was useful for me, because my character Mobius in Loki is kind of interviewing him at some point. So, it kind of worked doing it that way.”

Wilson was not the only one who received a lesson in Loki from Hiddleston. In a new feature for Emmy Magazine scanned by the Twitter account @thelokinews, Mara Reinstein writes:

Before a single Loki frame was filmed, Hiddleston gave a formal presentation to the crew’s department heads that [director Kate] Herron describes as “The Loki Lecture.” Going through the films one by one — he played supplemental video clips as well — he spoke of Loki’s biography and his own experience in shaping the character. “He prepared for it as if he were giving a lecture at Cambridge,” Herron says.

Above all else, “Tom wanted to make sure that everyone had an idea of where Loki comes from and that everyone was on the same page, including the audience,” she continues. “He knows this character is beloved and his arc is one of the best in the MCU. He wanted to show how we could build on that and pay respect and still give people something they’re not anticipating. He challenged everyone to rise to that level, and they did.”

I’m rather enamored of the idea that Tom Hiddleston walks around with what amounts to a binder full of Loki clips, details regarding the character’s lore, and his own explication of the Loki process. My reaction to this news was of course he does. Disney+ has a missed opportunity here to have Hiddleston deliver a Masterclass-style Loki lecture for all of us to watch. I know I’m not the only Loki fan who would be curious to know Hiddleston’s personal experience with shaping the character and all the ways in which he views Loki.

Reinstein’s feature does give us some insight into this via a comment from Hiddleston. His observations reveal how deeply he has thought about the character, and how much he cares about who Loki really is. “What I love about Loki is that he’s playful and charming and witty and dangerous and mercurial,” Hiddleston said. “He’s also fragmented and broken and solitary and isolated. As one character says in the show, no one good is ever truly good and no one is truly bad. That’s a fascinating anchor.”

It is indeed. Loki can’t arrive soon enough—and luckily, we don’t have long to wait. The series premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday, June 9th. See you next week, Loki folks!

(images: Marvel Studios/Disney+)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.

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