After the exciting finale to a superb season of Loki, the first thought in my head did not revolve around Season 2, which was confirmed in a post-credits scene. (Light spoilers from here on out.) All I could think about was Michael Waldron and how he needs to be the driving force behind the MCU for the next decade.
Waldron is the creator and showrunner of Loki, the best Marvel television show up to this point. In the series, an alternate version of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is brought before the Time Variance Authority (TVA), an organization that monitors the universe’s timeline, making sure there are no anomalies or disruptors. When Loki picked up the Tesseract in Endgame, he became a “variant,” or someone that disrupts the timeline. Loki is given the decision to work for the TVA to erase other variants and fix the timeline or be pruned (banished) from existence.
If you’re not a Marvel fan, that might sound confusing. I’ve seen 95% of the films and television shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the TVA still left me with more questions than answers.
Out of the three Marvel shows on Disney+, Loki had the hardest task because of all the legwork needed to explain the concept of time and how a character that died in Infinity War ended up surviving. Loki needed to expound on the TVA, explain the logistics of time travel and timelines, and introduce the idea of a multiverse all within six episodes.
If this was a test, Loki passed with flying colors. The series perfectly balanced the creation of a self-contained television show that can stand on its own with furthering the overall plot in the MCU. Most of the Marvel films and shows serve as stepping stones for a bigger storyline like the Infinity Saga. Properties like Loki and Black Panther can almost stand on their own, which is a compliment to the world their creators built.
It sounds so simple, but Waldron perfectly understands that Loki is a television show, not an “X-hour movie.” Movies were not meant to be six hours. Television shows that treat their story as a movie usually have inferior episodes that are heavy on explanations and rely on explosive cliffhangers to move the plot. Waldron and Loki follow the rules of television with a beginning, middle, and end with a scene in the final moments to advance the plot and provide the next episode a starting point to work off of. In an age that’s bogged down with shows acting like 10-hour movies, it’s refreshing to see Waldron follow a TV formula that’s worked since the beginning of television.
In six episodes, Waldron and director Kate Herron created multiple shows in one. The first two episodes played like a buddy-cop dramedy thanks to the amazing chemistry between Hiddleston and Owen Wilson’s Mobius. Then, the next two episodes weaved in a romantic dramedy with Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie. Episode 5 felt like a backdoor pilot thanks to the multiple iterations of the titular character in the Void. Finally, Episode 6 introduced a new villain into the MCU but also treated the finale like a show that was coming back for a second season. Ending on a cliffhanger and leaving the audience with more questions than answers is an efficient way to transition into Season 2.
Kevin Feige’s strength is long-term planning. Feige always sees the endgame (couldn’t help myself), and understands how to move from point A to point B over a long period of time. Feige needs help with putting the pieces of the puzzle together with character development, and that’s where Waldron succeeds. Who would’ve thought that one of the most emotional moments in Loki would be a hug between Hiddleston and Wilson in episode 5? Because of the groundwork and attention to detail from Waldron in establishing this relationship in the early episodes, a hug celebrating the friendship between two characters was a tremendous payout that the audience earned.
This ability to develop interesting and noteworthy characters is why Waldron is set to become one of the most important voices of Dinsey going forward. His innate talent is why Feige chose Waldron to write Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and his top-secret Star Wars film. In a Vanity Fair piece, Waldron described the Doctor Strange sequel as his version of “Indiana Jones.” Sign me up right now.
Waldron has a clear vision of how to develop characters in the MCU. Because of Loki‘s success, it’s time to give him the keys to the future of the MCU. Instead of Steve Rogers, Waldron should now be the one to say, “Avengers, assemble.”
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