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‘Loki’ Director Kate Herron On The Mysterious Kang And Why She’s Not Returning For Season 2

After the Loki season finale wrapped up, a second season was announced during the credits. Then, two days later, director Kate Herron said she wouldn’t be returning for the second season but would love to work with Marvel again. Which is all kind of unusual that it’s that definitive so quickly, especially since Loki was so well received. So, when we spoke to Herron shortly after her announcement, we had a lot of questions about why she wasn’t returning. And then after we ran out of those we had a lot of questions about Jonathan Majors’ character, who in the series is referred to as He Who Remains, who also seems to be Kang. But Herron says not so fast on those assumptions…

I just saw you’re not returning for the next season. I didn’t like reading that.

I’m sorry. I just, honestly … I’m so proud of the show and I loved working with Marvel and I’d love to work with them again. It’s a massive undertaking because we ran it like a six-hour film and I just gave it everything. And when I joined, we didn’t have a season two and I think it’s so incredible that we do. And it’s so exciting because there’s so much more road to travel, but I just felt like I was on for this bit and I wanted to just do this one and I gave it everything I had, basically, for the last two years, so … yeah.

So when you started you thought the show would only be one season?

Yeah. When I started it was just one season because that’s just what we had planned. And then obviously we were digging into the story more and everyone was getting more and more excited by it. It just felt like Marvel felt there’s more road to travel here. Which is amazing and credit to the whole team’s work, which I’m so happy with.

When did you find out there was going to be a season two?

I can’t remember now, to be honest. I think it was when we were in post. I think it was later in the process. I think so.

Okay.

I don’t want to give an exact date because I honestly can’t remember.

And it sounds like you were a little surprised there was a season two? But maybe I’m reading into that…

No, no. I knew about season two, but I came on for these six episodes and I just gave it my all. And I’m looking forward to season two as a fan but I just feel … Yeah, I’ve kind of done my bit now, I guess.

Was there any discussion with you about coming back for season two?

There was. We definitely spoke about it and like I said, I’d love to work with Marvel again but I just feel personally, for me, I just felt like this … I’ve done my part now.

Sure.

With the story and … yeah.

This is such a unique show, so I think people want the same uniqueness to come back so I think it’s a surprise to already learn that a big part of that is not coming back.

Yeah, I could see how people feel about that, but I would say we have an amazing team and so many of our team are returning. I do think that the next season will be amazing. The way I always think about it – and this is going to sound really arrogant, okay – but I love Alien. I love that movie. But I love Aliens as well and I think Aliens was amazing because the new person that came in completely re-defined and built upon what was already there.

“The new person,” James Cameron.

[Laughs] Exactly. I love James Cameron! Yeah, but I think that, for me, I don’t know, maybe that’s just where my head went with it. I feel like I’m so proud of the work that I and all the team have done but yeah, we need their James Cameron.

I’ve never heard him referred to as “the new person” before. That’s pretty great.

That’s pretty good. He’s one of my favorite directors. I’ll probably get an interesting email from his team.

Okay, let’s talk about Jonathan Majors’ character. On set, did you refer to him as Kang or was that verboten?

No, honestly, I think we always just thought of him as He Who Remains.

Okay.

I always just spoke about him in that way because obviously Kang is a variant of his character. So, I think for us, really, in terms of our story … well the thing I loved about our story was that it’s kind of like he’s almost like the purest and best version of his character.

Right.

Because when they talk about his variants, you really see the fear in his face. And I think, for me, as a fan, it made me very excited because I’m like, ohhh, what’s to come? But then I’m also like: for Loki and Sylvie, it’s that awful dilemma because you really believe him. And I think for us it was more about really crafting this version of that character, someone that was so isolated and weirdly, probably, quite a familiar thing for a lot of people, right?

We’ve all been in isolation so long now. And we even took it to his costume. Christine Wada, our costume designer, had that brilliant idea of playing on, obviously, some of the character’s looks from across the comics. But it was a variant, so we were pulling from a different time with some of the design of the clothes and also different places all over the world for the clothes. Beyond that, they had this pajama-like quality to them, because he’s home all the time and I think that was fun.

How I interpreted it, where he was basically saying if you kill me, then you’re going to have to deal with the version of me that is Kang? Is that a correct interpretation?

Yeah. Because he says, “There are other variants of me out there and if you kill me, that’s what’s going to happen, they’re going to wake up. The multiverse will wake up and with that you’re going to wake up all my variants.” I think that’s the thing that was so exciting about it to me. And I really enjoyed crafting this pure version of him because I don’t know where Jonathan will take the character, obviously, with all the different variants. But people can see in Loki: Look at Tom Hiddleston’s Loki compared to Sophia’s or to DeObia’s or the classic.

Or the alligator.

Or an alligator. Exactly. I think that’s the fun of it and the promise of, I hope, where the multiverse could go. But I can’t speak more to that. That’s really in the hands of Kevin Fiege and everyone else he’s working with.

If this had ended at season one, that’s kind of a great ending on its own. Like almost a Twilight Zone kind of ending…

I think that’s something that I and the writers were always thinking of because we only found out about it returning very late. And I think, for us, it was always important that, like you said, it stood on its own feet. I think it’s okay to leave questions. Like, where did Ravonna go? What was B-15’s past? What did she see? And also, where the hell is Loki? Yeah, I love Twilight Zone and I think that’s a really fun thing of it. I think we set out to dig into what makes the Loki a Loki and also take our Loki on a very different journey. And I think you can see that with him in the fight with Sylvie; that he’s someone who wanted the throne in episode one and now he absolutely does not want it. And I think for us it was always important to close that loop, I guess, on his story.

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