July 25, 2021

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Loki Show’s Biggest Challenge Was Establishing MCU Time Travel Rules

Loki’s head writer, Michael Waldron, says it was quite challenging establishing the MCU’s time travel rules in the upcoming Disney+ series.

According to Loki’s head writer, the biggest challenge faced when developing the Disney+ series was establishing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s time travel rules. Avengers: Endgame saw its titular heroes utilize the Quantum Realm, traveling to different timelines in their mission to retrieve the Infinity Stones and undo Thanos’ snap. Before doing this, Professor Hulk explains, “If you travel back into your own past, that destination becomes your future, and your former present becomes the past, which can’t now be changed by your new future.” Suffice to say, this quote confused many viewers as to the effect the Avengers’ actions would have on the past, present, and future; not the least of which is Steve Rogers/Captain America’s decision to live an entire life with Peggy Carter in another timeline.

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Near the end of Endgame, Steve returns the Infinity Stones (and Mjölnir) to their rightful place in time; presumably mending all but one of the branched timelines. During the Avengers’ time-travel mission to the Battle of New York in 2012, the Tesseract falls into the hands of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and allows him to escape custody—a problem not remedied by Steve’s late-game time travel antics. With the sacred timeline’s Loki having died at the hand of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity WarLoki follows this alternate version of the trickster after he is arrested by the Time Variance Authority (TVA). Loki is then forced to work with the TVA work and fix the timeline (s). Loki should explore the multiverse, retcon Endgame’s inconsistencies, and further explain time travel in the MCU.

Related: Avengers: Endgame’s Time Travel Explained (Properly)

Michael Waldron is the head writer of Loki and recently spoke with Collider about the upcoming series. During the interview, Waldron discussed how his writer’s room was filled with white boards covered in timelines. He said their biggest challenge was crafting and establishing the MCU’s rules of time travel when plotting out the season’s six episodes. Read what Waldron said below:

That was the great challenge of our show – because the Time Variance Authority is an organization that literally manages and polices all of time, we had to define what time is to them and what time is in the MCU. How does it move? What is time travel? How does it operate? And so, we had to essentially create an institutional knowledge among the writer’s room. A foundation of what constitutes a broken time law and what doesn’t — which is about Loki breaking a time law — and then you have to move all that stuff as far to the background as humanly possible, because you don’t want the audience focusing on the rules of time travel during your show.

As was the case with WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, episodic entries give the audience time to dissect the plot and theorize. Even though some of the time travel in Avengers: Endgame may not make sense, its writers didn’t have to endure the scrutiny of fans in real time. The MCU has a proven track record for retconning plot holes/narrative inconsistencies like the “fake” Infinity Gauntlet in Odin’s Vault. To quote Waldron, “[the fans are] going to hold our feet to the fire. We’ve got to make this as airtight as we possibly can.” Waldron previously teased that Loki would provide a new understanding of time travel in the MCU. While he didn’t go into details, he did say that Endgame laid the foundation.

It’s become clear that the writers and directors behind Endgame disagree about what happened to Steve and how time travel works. It’ll be interesting to see how Loki adheres to and contradicts Endgame while not distracting from its story and characters. Thankfully, Waldron’s work on Rick and Morty as well as the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness inspires confidence in his team’s ability to shine within the parameters of a larger universe. Ever since WandaVision premiered, fans have been craving the MCU’s multiverse and, with its main character working for a bureaucracy governing just that, Loki looks to deliver.

More: Loki: Why The TVA’s Time-Keepers Never Arrested The Avengers

Source: Collider

  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022

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