loki influences

Michael Waldron has his hands in several big properties at Disney at the moment, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the mysterious Star Wars film being produced by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. But next week, viewers will have the chance to see his work as the head writer of Loki, the highly anticipated Marvel streaming series coming to Disney+.

In a new profile, Waldron revealed some surprising movies that influenced his new time-hopping crime series, including Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, and…Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise? Yep, it sounds like a romance may be in the cards.

Waldron is a veteran of the beloved animated sci-fi show Rick and Morty, but as he told Vanity Fair, he quickly realized Loki would be a whole different thing. “At first I was carrying in the Rick and Morty sensibility and I had to recalibrate,” he said. “I’m not writing a 22-minute cartoon. I was watching Quentin Tarantino movies — Inglourious Basterds. Movies that luxuriate in long scenes of dialogue and tension building.”

I’m still not entirely sure exactly how Before Sunrise will work itself into the mix (although that film does luxuriate in long scenes of dialogue), but Catch Me If You Can feels like a more natural touchstone for a story about a slippery character like Loki who seems to want to escape from the clutches of the Time Variance Authority, the organization that captures him after he stole the tesseract during the events of Avengers: Endgame. There’s even a bit of a platonic love story at play between Loki and Owen Wilson’s Mr. Mobius – one that mirrors the type of relationship between Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio’s characters in the Spielberg movie. Waldron also cited Blade Runner as another of his Loki influences, so I’m curious to see how that movie is folded into this series as well.

And while it may be all the rage for directors to compare their shows to “six hour movies,” Waldron is taking a more old-school approach with this series. “It was important that every episode stood alone,” he said. “The Leftovers or Watchmen, which I admired so much—every one of those episodes felt like a distinct short story. That’s the sign of a great episode of TV. ‘Oh, it’s that episode of Loki.'”

But fans of Rick and Morty shouldn’t be too disappointed: after all, this is a time travel show. And Waldron knows all too well the amount of attention this show is going to receive when it premieres – and thankfully it sounds like it will be able to stand up to the inevitable scrutiny that will come with the week-to-week release format.

“I was always very acutely aware of the fact that there’s a week between each of our episodes and these fans are going to do exactly what I would do, which is pick this apart,” he admitted. “We wanted to create a time-travel logic that was so airtight it could sustain over six hours. There’s some time-travel sci-fi concepts here that I’m eager for my Rick and Morty colleagues to see.”

Loki premieres on Disney+ on June 9, 2021.

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