Owen Wilson is a newbie to not only the MCU but superhero stuff in general. Indeed, in a new interview with Variety, he describes himself as being “pretty much a blank slate” when it comes to comics fare. So when the actor and screenwriter was cast in Loki, the spin-off series that follows Tom Hiddleston’s oft-nefarious trickster god, he had some work to do. But it was worse than that: He also had to find a way to get through reams of complicated expository dialogue involving something called the Time Variance Authority — an agency new to the MCU.
The TVA, is it’s called for short, isn’t exactly easy. In fact, we’re just going to quote Variety’s own, fairly concise description of it as an “inter-dimensional bureaucracy tasked with the awesome — and formidable — responsibility of maintaining a single, sacred timeline and pruning away all “variants” that could lead to the multiverse.” Loki has toyed a bit with the multiverse going back to The Avengers, when he used the Tesseract to escape certain events. So he winds up catching their interest.
But one person who didn’t have that much trouble with it is Wilson — or at least it wasn’t such a pain that it stuck with him. “I don’t really have much of a memory of it,” Wilson tells Variety about remembering how he got a handle on the subject. “I don’t know if I blocked it out of my mind the way you would math class. Because it is complicated, and it’s hard sometimes if you feel you’re saddled with a lot of exposition.”
Whatever happened, he was able to get through it. “We must have found a nice flow for it, where it was able to naturally work its way in to the conversations with Tom,” Wilson says. “Because I don’t remember it being too, ‘Oh god, now we’ve got to lay this out.’”
Wilson also admits some of the more philosophical aspects of the show — such as the idea of fate in a world with multiple planes of existence — wasn’t “one of the things that I really latched on to.” Instead he worried more about “making things believable for myself. Sometimes there would be logic stuff that I didn’t quite follow, and [director] Kate [Herron] was always very good about letting us talk about it.”
However Wilson got through it, it seems to have worked: He’s receiving some of the best reviews of his life for his performance, which manages to make lots of tricky exposition flow beautifully, all while acting as a more laidback counterpoint to Hiddleston’s revved-up Loki. The show bows on Disney+ on Jan. 9.