Everything Everywhere All At Once Directors Passed On Directing Loki

An unsuspecting protagonist finds themselves suddenly thrust into a fractured multiverse full of otherworldly and unpredictable events, filled with impossibly huge stakes but rooted in a story about personal connection. Alright, you got me, you've probably figured out by now that this was my very tenuous attempt at drawing obvious parallels between Marvel's "Loki" series and the upcoming movie "Everything Everywhere All At Once," from directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively referred to as the Daniels). At least on the surface, the similarities between the two projects didn't escape the notice of the Daniels and, in fact, their previous work on the film "Swiss Army Man" sure stood out to Marvel, as well.

As the superhero movie studio is known to do with outside-the-box talent who've shown plenty of promise with standout movies or shows in the past, Marvel came calling at the Daniels' door. By pure happenstance, they happened to approach the filmmaking duo to see if they would be interested in helming episodes of "Loki" for them, which obviously shares some general plot details with their latest film that's set to release later this month. The Daniels' response? A polite, "No thank you," apparently. 

It's not everyday that filmmakers used to working with low budgets manage to land on the radar of franchise behemoths, to the point of setting a meeting with the studio that seemingly everyone wants to work with these days. As the directors told IndieWire (with their usual deadpan humor) during the SXSW Film Festival premiere of their latest movie, they don't exactly regret the tough choice they made when looking back. Just look at the absolutely glowing responses to "Everything Everywhere All At Once," with /Film's Jacob Hall going so far to describe it in his review as:

"...a deceptively thoughtful movie, one that mixes the lowest of low humor with startling wit, raw and stylish action with heady science fiction ideas, surreal running gags about the Pixar movie "Ratatouille" with a harrowing examination of embracing oblivion because there's seemingly nothing else left. It still feels brisk at 132 minutes, and there's a lot of movie in this movie — a spiraling, sweeping, stunning descent into madness followed by a stirring call for healing, and for kindness.

It's impossible to describe. It's unlike anything you've ever seen. It's the best American movie in years, and certainly the best movie to hit theaters since the pandemic began."

'I respect people who are able to play in someone else's sandbox, but...'

With Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert riding high on festival hype for "Everything Everywhere All At Once," I'd go so far to say that they clearly made the right call in turning Marvel down. All that money and job security and attention absolutely would've been nice ... but if the choice was between the directing pair making "Loki" slightly more zany than it was versus gifting audiences with the glorious, madcap energy of "Everything Everywhere All At Once" (which we here at /Film unanimously awarded the best trailer of last year), I know what I'd pick each and every time. As Scheinert explained to IndieWire about why they ultimately had to say no:

"We were trying to make our own multiverse movie. No, the meeting was set, and we went, but by the time we went we said we probably weren't going to do it. We were trying to shoot our own movie at the same time."

It wasn't merely a matter of scheduling, however. The eerie similarities between the script they'd been working on at the time (which would ultimately become "Everything Everywhere All At Once") and Marvel's "Loki" series actually motivated them to keep working at their original idea. As Kwan put it:

"[Marvel] were trying to do sci-fi Douglas Adams style. It was kind of scary getting those offers and being like, 'Dammit, this is what we're working on!'"

That unhappy coincidence goes even further than Marvel, however. Their latest movie — which they came up with while doing the press tour for 2016's "Swiss Army Man" — also loosely borrows some concepts pioneered by the Wachowski sisters on "The Matrix." Ironically, Lana Wachowski went ahead and released another sequel to her hit original movie in the time that it took the Daniels' to get "Everything Everywhere All At Once" in motion. Once again keeping in mind their dry sense of humor, Kwan explained:

"This movie is 100 percent a response to 'The Matrix,' obviously. We wanted to make our version of it. It was wild to be like oh, 'We took so long that the Wachowskis to beat us to it.'"

Anyone who's followed their careers knows just what the Daniels are capable of when left to their own devices. "Everything Everywhere All At Once" comes to theaters on March 25, 2022.