Writer Michael Waldron scored one of the most enviable jobs in Hollywood when he was named head writer for the upcoming Loki TV series. While, on the one hand, the gig would be a dream job for any writer, it also comes with a lot of expectations—which Waldron seems to have exceeded. How else could one explain why Marvel president Kevin Feige would bring Waldron in to take over the writing on the MCU’s Doctor Strange sequel, and then tapping the writer (whose resume isn’t very long) to work on a top-secret Star Wars project?
But if you were to ask Waldron, who cut his teeth working as a production assistant for Dan Harmon on Community and Rick and Morty, the secret to his success, he’d likely give most of the credit to his writing heroes.
Given that the Marvel series finds Tom Hiddleston’s Loki at his most impish, Waldron told Vanity Fair that he felt the freedom to be inspired by a wide range of movies, TV shows, and genres, all of which found their way into the series. While he originally approached the series the same way he would an episode of Rick and Morty, which he produced and served as showrunner on for season 5, Waldron says he quickly learned that Loki would be an entirely different beast.
“I was watching Quentin Tarantino movies—Inglourious Basterds,” Waldron said of the movies that inspired Loki’s style, structure, and storylines. “Movies that luxuriate in long scenes of dialogue and tension building.” Among the other list of seemingly-having-nothing-in-common titles that made their way into season 1 of Loki: Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, and Robert Zemeckis’s Back to the Future. At the same time, according to Waldron:
“I’d say it’s something totally new! It’s MCU. It was important that every episode stood alone. 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.’”
Eagle-eyed MCU fans have already mentioned noticing what seemed to be a reference to Mad Men in one of Loki’s trailers. Given that the Matthew Weiner series is Waldron’s very favorite TV show of all time, it hardly seems coincidental. Still, Waldron cites becoming the next Nora Ephron as his ultimate career goal, and believes that shines through in Loki.
“Mobius and Loki, that’s one of the love stories you might see in Loki for sure,” Waldron said. “Although if you print that, knowing our fans, they’re going to take it the wrong way.” Waldron suggests you think of it more like Tom Hanks’s FBI agent and Leonardo DiCaprio’s con man in Catch Me If You Can—Loki being the latter, with a little bit of Steve Jobs thrown in.
Loki will premiere on Disney+ on June 9th
(Via Vanity Fair)