Loki’s back… (Picture: Marvel Studios)
OK, listen up, because I’m only going to through this once.
The Loki who stars in Loki is not the Loki we saw murdered at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame.
Instead, Loki’s Loki is the Loki from 2011’s Avengers Assemble, who we saw during a time heist in Avengers: Endgame, running off with an infinity stone to create a separate timeline.
Now that Loki, who is unaware of what happens to future Loki, has to cut a deal with the Time Variance Authority (TVA), who are in charge of protecting the one true timeline as defined by the Time-Keepers, to catch a different time criminal who may or may not be Loki. And breathe…
If you’ve followed the MCU through 23 films and two TV series, then this is confusing but you should be fairly clued-up. Spare a thought, however, for Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who joins the MCU as Ravonna Renslayer, a judge with the TVA whose entire job is to understand this mumbo-jumbo.
How do you do it?
‘It’s Renslayer’s job to be an advocate for order and the sacred timeline,’ says Mbatha-Raw. ‘It’s a very high-concept show but, essentially, it’s about the idea of destiny versus free will and that’s what I hold on to as the concept behind it all.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as Judge Renslayer (Picture: Chuck Zlotnick)
‘I know it probably gets complicated and confusing but all you need to know is that the timeline and the Time-Keepers are what’s holding everything together.’
All that really matters, though, is that Tom Hiddleston is back, smirking and charming his way around another bunch of saps as Loki, the God of Mischief – but even he may have met his match in no-nonsense Renslayer.
‘I just loved the dynamic between the two, especially in that first courtroom scene,’ says Mbatha-Raw.
‘You’ve got Renslayer, who represents order, and Loki, who represents chaos, and they’re just a complete personality clash. There’s just an inherent fun in these two characters: Renslayer feels like she can’t trust him and doesn’t really have much time for Loki and he can’t believe he’s being talked to in this way.’
Loki also serves as somewhat of an old-school Rada reunion. Both Hiddleston and Mbatha-Raw attended the famous drama school at the same time (as did co-star Wunmi Mosaku), and that made for a relaxed atmosphere on set.
‘Knowing Tom and Wunmi as I do from drama school, I really loved the idea of us working together on something all these years later,’ Mbatha-Raw says.
‘We had so much fun on set and I was really trying not to laugh when Tom was attempting to get his magic powers to work. We did so many takes of that and he came up with all these different ways to play around with it and I had to keep a straight face the entire time – but it was hilarious.’
We also caught up with Marvel newbie Wumni Mosaku, who plays solider B-15, on training with Tom and Black Panther’s impact
Wumni as Hunter B-15 in Loki (Picture: Chuck Zlotnick)
Like Gugu, you too went to school with Tom Hiddleston…
I did. Tom was in the third year at Rada when I was a first year so I’ve watched him since I was 18 and I’ve always admired him as an actor.
It was a little bit nerve-racking because that’s what happens when you act against someone you look up to – but he puts you right at ease.
He would even run lines with me and, I mean, no one does that – but Tom Hiddleston does. He’s very sweet and supportive.
B-15 is the only person immune to Loki’s charm. How’s it feel?
Frustrating! Because no one seems to listen to B-15. But it’s fun to be able to just bite back at Loki.
Your character is unique in that there’s no comic book equivalent – she’s a total original.
Yeah, I didn’t mind not having anything. Because when you’re a fan, especially of something like a comic book, you have in your mind who that character should be and who should play them.
I don’t have to have anyone tell me that I’m not B-15 because I am.
An Avengers movie could be in your future. Who would you be running up to on set?
Oh, I wouldn’t actually do that! I would keep it cool. But it would have been Chadwick Boseman.
What did Black Panther mean to you?
Everything. The costumes, the music, seeing Africa in such glory, bright, beautiful and luminous.
I’m Nigerian-born, I was raised in England and now live in America, I have an African-American husband and I felt like Killmonger and T’Challa were saying things that I cared about.
Loki continues every Wed on Disney+