Tom Hiddleston on Loki's MCU journey: 'I love playing Loki, feel so fortunate that I'm still here'
Marvel star Tom Hiddleston says the "vulnerabilities" of his character Loki draws people towards the God of Mischief, who is finally stepping out of his brother Thor's shadow in the eponymous stand-alone Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series.
Loki, Marvel Studios' third series at Disney+, centres on Tom's witty master of magic, following the events of 2019's feature film Avengers: Endgame.
While the movies have mainly touched upon Loki's mischievous side, the series aims to give an insight into what hides beneath the wickedness of the fan-favourite villain.
"I think over time I'm made aware of the different things he represents. Some people enjoy his playfulness, his spontaneity and that inherent sense of mischief he has. Some people enjoy his quality as an antagonist.
"There are some people who are drawn to his vulnerabilities, under all these layers of charm and charisma. There is something really relatable about vulnerability," Tom said during a virtual global press conference ahead of the show's premiere on Wednesday.
The British star, who has played Loki in six MCU movies -- Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Endgame -- said he owes his success to all the writers who have contributed in creating the character.
"I owe it to the writers, everyone who has ever written this character. Starting from Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Payne, to Michael (series writer Waldron) and his amazing team," he said.
The Infinity War saw Loki's character dying at the hands of Thanos, but the series begins by showing the character being stuck at Time Variance Authority (TVA), a fictional organisation that monitors timeline in the Marvel comics.
Loki's range as a character, makes his job even more exciting, said Tom, adding that working on the series was a joyful experience as he got to team up with people who could resonate with his passion for the story.
The series is directed by Sex Education fame Kate Herron and executive produced by Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige.
It also marks the MCU debut of Tom's Midnight In Paris co-star Owen Wilson as well as The Morning Show star Gugu Mabtha-Raw.
The 40-year-old actor said Loki is a "character of huge range" and playing the role always feels like a new experience.
"I just love playing Loki. I feel so fortunate that I'm still here and there are just new aspects to the character every time that I learn about," he said.
"Particularly this time around I'm surrounded by these amazing people. All my conversations with Kevin, Kate, and Michael and interactions with Owen and Gugu. We just had a really good time," he added.
For Owen, best known for starring in comedy and dramas like Zoolander and Wedding Crashers, working on Loki was an interesting process.
"It's exciting to be a part of it. I never understood the secrecy around Marvel projects, but when I saw the fan-base is so passionate and committed, it surprised me and then I kind of got it," he said.
The actor, who plays TVA member Mobius M Mobius on the show, said coming on board didn't require a lot of "convincing".
"There was a very comprehensive phone call where Kate (Herron) walked me through the idea of the show and the dynamics between Mobius and Loki," he added.
Tom said he was offered the project some time between Infinity War and Endgame and he was surprised and delighted with the idea of a stand-alone show on Loki.
"I was so excited by the idea of the series and also had to scratch my head a bit because that scene in Infinity War (when Thanos kills Loki) felt so final and conclusive. It looked like the end of Loki's story."
It was after Endgame when they were finally able to figure out the future of Loki in MCU, added Kevin.
"We didn't know about the Loki series when we shot Infinity War, but I think we did know it when we shot Endgame," he said.
Over the years, the Thor franchise, which as yet comprises three movies led by Chris Hemsworth -- has built a huge fan-base courtesy its humorous take on Thor and Loki.
Kevin said humour in the franchise came organically as the actors started to build upon the characters.
"I think Thor and Loki had a certain amount of humour in the comics over the decades. But the answer comes down to the performers and the remarkable talent of Mr Hemsworth and Mr Hiddleston and the range to be hilarious.
"It was not a plan to make it funnier now, they have always been funny and we took the fun from behind-the-scenes and put it on camera," he said.
As for the series, director Kate said wit was always an integral part of Loki's character and with the show, they tried to enhance that trait.
"I and Michael (Waldron) both of us have a comedy background so we would bring that to the work we do . And also, Tom is so witty. He is like keys on the piano with different parts of Loki. So we were always going to bring that wit to the show."
Michael, famous for his work on the adult animated series Rick and Morty, said Loki gave him a space to go "dramatic".
"I was coming off Rick and Morty and was doing too much comedy. I had to shift it to more dramatic space and that was the great thing about this character," Waldron added.
Loki will stream in India on Disney+ Hotstar Premium.