Since its series debut in June, Loki has taken the world by storm. Marvel’s third Disney+ series of 2021, the show follows the franchise’s beloved trickster as he takes on the Time Variance Authority — an organization that may not have the best of intentions for Loki (Tom Hiddleston) or the Sacred Timeline. The show, directed by Kate Herron, stands as one of the most popular series out right now. That could have to do with its fun take on alternate timelines, which has clearly seen some pretty thorough planning.
Kate Herron wanted to be the ‘most passionate’ director to pitch Marvel
Herron is one of many creatives responsible for Loki‘s success, and her passion for the story shines through in every episode. Evidently, it also showed during her initial meeting with Marvel Studios. Although Herron has worked on projects like Sex Education and Five by Five, she knew other well-known directors would be vying for the role. That’s why she set out to show she was the most invested in the series.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Herron recalled that she showed up to her first meeting with Marvel with a 60-page pitch for the Disney+ series. It included storylines and her ideas for music, references, and character concepts.
“I was just so overexcited,” Herron recalled. “[My agents] were like, ‘Look, it’s just a casual conversation, they just want to get a sense of you,’ and basically I was like, ‘OK, I’m just going to pitch them.’ Because I thought, they might not meet me again. So I got as much information as I could, and they sent me a little bit about the show. And I just prepared a massive pitch for it. I canceled everything for two weeks. I made a 60-page document full of references, story ideas, music. I knew I’d be up against some really big directors, and I knew I wouldn’t be the most experienced in the room, so I [said], ‘OK. I’ll just be the most passionate.'”
Herron’s approach must have impressed Marvel Studios since they gave her the reins on Loki’s story. They also let her keep a large portion of the ideas in her original pitch — although some of them, sadly, needed to go.
Around 80 percent of Kate Herron’s ideas made it into ‘Loki’
With a 60-page pitch document, Herron went to Marvel with a lot of ideas for Loki. It’s only natural that a few would be cut before the final product was complete, but Herron told Collider that around 80 percent of what was in her original pitch made it into the show.
One element Loki removed involved cyborgs, something that would have pushed Loki even further into Doctor Who territory. The show is already heavily steeped in science-fiction, but robots might have been a stretch with only six episodes.
“There were definitely some aspects… For example, I think we weren’t sure about the Minutemen — were these cyborgs?” Herron explained. “Obviously, as people see in Episode 4, me and the writers got to, ‘Let’s give them a past to make them human and people.’ But I remember my pitch had video of all of these really intense robotic images. So that’s probably one of the bits that didn’t get in, which I think is definitely better for the story.”
As for what did make the cut, Herron recalled including everything from the show’s design and music to casting in her pitch. In fact, that’s where the idea to have Gugu Mbataha Raw portray Judge Renslayer came from.
“But now, I would say in terms of design, the lighting, the look… Casting ideas, like Gugu [Mbatha-Raw], was in my pitch, music ideas,” Herron shared. “I made a playlist and [theremin legend] Clara Rockmore was in my playlist. I think definitely the DNA of what I was going to bring, in terms of me, definitely was all in that pitch.”
The director saw ‘Loki’ as a ‘dream opportunity’
Clearly, Herron put a ton of work into landing her Loki role. That excitement about what she could bring to the series stemmed from her love of genre stories, as well as from being a Marvel fan. She viewed the chance to work on the show as a “dream opportunity,” so she put everything she had into it.
“I love genre [content], and I love Loki, and I love Marvel. So it just felt like that opportunity that people talk about — the dream opportunity. So I was like, I’ve just got to throw everything at it. The pitch to me felt like a big download of my brain, but also just a promise that I can handle this and I can lead this.”
With only one episode left in the show’s first outing, it’s probably safe to say Herron was right about that last part. She’s seen the show through to the end, and according to Deadline, broken a few viewership records in the process. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time she gets to work on a Marvel series. Passion like hers is needed to keep the franchise fresh and moving forward.