Loki series director Kate Herron weighs in on fandom’s big incest question

Yes, Loki series director Kate Herron understands about your fan theory about the program, the analysis you published to social networks. No, she won’t inform you what she thinks of it, or whether you were right.

“I follow all the conversations on Twitter,” Herron informed Polygon in an interview quickly after Loki’s season 1 ending. “I don’t always weigh in on them, because I made the show, so they don’t want me weighing in like, ‘Actually, guys…’ I think that’s the whole point of art — it should be up for debate and discussion.”

[Ed. note: Spoilers ahead for season 1 of Loki.]

Loki has actually been a hit for streaming service Disney Plus — episode 6 of the program, the last installation for this season, was supposedly viewed by more families than any of the platform’s MCU endings to date. The series has actually been a popular source of fan opinion and argument, with one especially huge rolling discussion concentrating on whether the budding romantic relationship in between trickster Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his alternate-universe equivalent Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) is a type of incest.

Herron wants to speak out about that a person. “My interpretation of it is that they’re both Lokis, but they aren’t the same person,” she states. “I don’t see them as being like brother and sister. They have completely different backgrounds […] and I think that’s really important to her character. They sort of have the same role in terms of the universe and destiny, but they won’t make the same decisions.”

Kate Herron discusses a scene with Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson on the set of Loki

Director Kate Herron on the Loki set
Picture: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Herron states thematically, Loki succumbing to Sylvie is an expedition of “self-love,” however just in the sense that it’s Loki finding out to comprehend his own intentions and stability. “[The show is] looking at the self and asking ‘What makes us us?’” Herron states. “I mean, look at all the Lokis across the show, they’re all completely different. I think there’s something beautiful about his romantic relationship with Sylvie, but they’re not interchangeable.”

Directing the last kiss in between the 2 characters was a complex procedure due to the fact that it needed to interact something about each of them throughout simply a couple of seconds. Herron states the main objective was producing a safe, comfy environment for Hiddleston and Di Martino, and after that, she needed to think of how to bring across Loki and Sylvie’s clashing objectives because minute.

“It’s an interesting one, right?” she states. “Emotionally, from Sylvie’s perspective, I think it’s a goodbye. But it’s still a buildup of all these feelings. They’ve both grown through each other over the last few episodes. It was important to me that it didn’t feel like a trick, like she was deceiving him. She is obviously doing that, on one hand, but I don’t feel the kiss is any less genuine. I think she’s in a bad place, but her feelings are true.”

Herron states directing Hiddleston in the scene primarily boiled down to talking about the speech Loki offers Sylvie prior to the kiss. “That was really important, showing this new place for Loki,” Herron states. “In the first episode, he’s like, ‘I want the throne, I want to rule,’ and by episode 6, he isn’t focused on that selfish want. He just wants her to be okay.”

Loki author and manufacturer Eric Martin just recently tweeted that he wanted the program had actually had the ability to focus more time on 2 of its secondary characters, Owen Wilson’s Time Variation Authority representative Mobius M. Mobius, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer. “I wanted to explore her more deeply and really see their relationship,” he states, “But covid got in the way and we just didn’t have time.”

Asked if Loki and Sylvie’s relationship struggled with comparable needed edits, Herron states it’s true that the program’s developers and audience still don’t understand whatever Sylvie went through to make her so various from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s initial variation of Loki. “We’ve seen her as a child, but she’s lived for thousands and thousands of years, in apocalypses on the run,” she states. “I think there’s so much more to delve into with Sylvie […] You’re filling in the blanks. You see [her on the planet] Lamentis, and it’s horrific. And you’re like, “Well, what kind of person would she be, growing up in apocalypses? What kind of personality would that give her?”

Kate Herron on the Loki set with Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson

Picture: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Herron states Sylvie’s backstory really advises her of the 1995 motion picture Jumanji, where a young kid is drawn into a wonderful parlor game in 1969, and emerges 26 years later on as a mature male, played by with normal manic energy by Robin Williams. “It’s such a weird reference, but…” she states. “He’s a little boy when he ends up captive in that game, and when he comes out, it’s obviously been a life experience. With Sylvie, it’s similar. She was a child when she had to go on the run, so she’s had a very difficult life. I would love to see more of it. As Eric said, she’s a rich character, there’s so much to be explored.”

Herron states, however, that throughout her time on the program, product about Sylvie was included instead of cut — particularly, those scenes of her as a kid, being abducted by the TVA. “This was before my time, but I know in the writers’ room, there were lots of avenues exploring Sylvie on the run and what her life was like,” Herron states. “I wouldn’t want to speak more to those, because I wasn’t there when they were being discussed. But something wasn’t in there that was important to me — I felt we should see her [history] in the TVA. Me and the team were talking about how it made complete sense, because episode 4 is all about twisting the idea that the TVA might be good on its head. And so that’s something that came in later, once I joined, was seeing her as a child. I think we needed to see that, not to understand her completely, but to get an idea of her motivations, why she’s so angry at this place.”

Talking more broadly about the series ending, Herron states the last couple of episodes weren’t as greatly referential as the very first episodes, which she meant as “a love letter to sci-fi.” While early images like the TVA’s interrogation spaces had particular visual recommendations from previous sci-fi, episode 6’s areas were drawn more from partnerships with the team.

“The idea of the physical timeline being circular, our storyboard artists came up with that,” Herron states. “I had in the scripts, ‘We move through space to the end of time,” and then me and [storyboard artist Darrin Denlinger] discussed how we could play with the idea of time, while also adding MCU nods. He was like, ‘What if the timeline is circular?’ I believe that’s such a striking image, like the Castle at the End of Time is the needle on a record gamer. I simply believed that was such a cool image, however it wasn’t always drawn from anything.”

Episode 6 focuses greatly on the mystical figure He Who Stays and his castle, an area she states was mostly developed by production designer Kasra Farahani. “I remember he brought in the art of the Citadel, and I thought it was beautiful,” Herron states. “He said, ‘The Citadel has been carved from an actual meteorite,’ which I thought was such an inspired idea. And He Who Remains’ office is the only finished portion of it.”

Loki and Sylvie at the Citadel

Picture: Marvel Studios

She states there are just a few direct tributes in episode 6, consisting of the zoom shot through area, which straight referenced a comparable series in Robert Zemeckis1997 movie Contact.

“And then I have my Teletubbies reference for episode 5,” Herron states. “I wanted the Void to feel like an overgrown garden, like a kind of forgotten place. And I realized I’d pitched it as the British countryside. I remember trying to explain it to ILM, who did the visual effects, and saying, ‘Oh, you know, it’s like the Teletubbies. It’s just rolling hills, but they go on forever.’ That actually was quite a helpful reference in the end, which is funny.”

Requested for her preferred set memory from shooting the season, Herron states it boils down to Tom Hiddleston beginning a mania for physical effort prior to takes. “Sometimes he runs around set to get himself in the right mindset before he performs,” she states. “He does pushups. You know, you’re going into an action scene, you want to look like you’ve just been running. And it became infectious across all the cast. We’ve got so much footage of — I think Jack [Veal] ended up doing it, who plays Kid Loki. I’ve got [shots of] him and Sophia doing pushups and squats, just to get ready. It was so funny watching that echo across all the cast. I think all of them ended up doing those exercises with him at some point. It was so funny.”

“That might be my favorite set story, but it’s honestly, not a sweet one,” she includes. “I would say my favorite thing is his enthusiasm. He’s a very kind empathetic person. We were filming this in quite tough circumstances, a lot of people were far from home and isolating, and he brought this warmth and energy and joy to the set every day. And I think that made everyone feel very safe and very bonded. I’m forever grateful to him for doing that.”

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.