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‘Loki’: The Marvel Movies Michael Waldron Studied When Creating Season 1 Are a Great Guide to the Disney+ Series

'Loki' was inspired by a lot of pop culture classics. But Michael Waldron watched 2 Marvel movies on repeatedly while prepping the show. And they're a great guide for what to watch before watching 'Loki' Season 1.

Loki had the difficult task of strengthening Marvel’s time travel logic. To do that, creator Michael Waldron and his team of writers worked for hours and hours to develop their “airtight” logic. But that wasn’t the Disney+ show’s only big task. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is one of the most beloved characters in the MCU. Creating his solo series would require a deep knowledge of Loki’s past. To that end, Waldron studied a handful of Marvel movies while creating Loki Season 1. And he revealed which ones had the biggest influence on the series. And if you haven’t watched the series yet, his comments will serve as the perfect instructions on what to watch before Loki.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Loki Season 1.]

Tom Hiddleston in grey and gold armor with a green cape while standing in a desert as Loki in 'Loki' on Disney+. The series takes place after the events of 'Avengers: Endgame.' And creator Michael Waldron studied 2 specific Marvel movies to help make the show. And the movies are a great guide for what to watch before watching 'Loki' Season 1.
Tom Hiddleston in ‘Loki’ on Disney+ | Marvel Studios

‘Loki’ was inspired by pop culture classics

Waldron was a smart person to trust to make a show about time travel and alternate realities: He won an Emmy for writing Rick and Morty’s time travel episode, “The Vat of Acid Episode.” But it wasn’t just his time on the cartoon that helped him create the Hiddleston-led series with director Kate Herron. Waldron, Herron, and Marvel President Kevin Feige told Entertainment Weekly they looked to a lot of classics when creating the Disney+ show.

Jurassic Park, Mad Men, and Blade Runner, were narrative and aesthetic inspirations for Loki. And Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and Teletubbies (yes, you read that correctly) were also visual inspirations. Herron told For All Nerds TV that The Void in Loki Episode 5 is what was specifically inspired by Teletubbies. Herron said she asked visual effects studio Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) to create a landscape for The Void similar to the “rolling hills of dystopia” the children’s series depicts.

2 Marvel movies were key in the creation of ‘Loki’

Of course, the Marvel movies played the biggest role when it comes to narrative inspiration for Loki. In an interview with Polygon, Waldron revealed which Marvel movies he watched the most in preparation. And while he watched everything Hiddleston has done in the MCU, two movies were the biggest help: Avengers: Endgame and Thor: The Dark World.

Yup, the movie many think is the worst of the MCU was one of Waldron’s biggest inspirations. (Honestly, guys, Thor: The Dark World really isn’t that bad.) And given the emotional journey Loki takes in that film, this answer shouldn’t that surprising. Waldron said:

“I mean I watched them many times, contrary to what Twitter might think because I did some bits on there saying that I’ve never seen Avengers and I upset some people [laughs]. I have seen it many times. ‘Confirmed: Loki writer has seen Avengers and saw it before writing Loki show.’

In fact, I was watching all these movies on a loop in the writers’ room. I gleaned so much because you watch the evolution of the character. Avengers was particularly informative because our story picks up Loki right after that, but I also I found a lot of inspiration in Thor: The Dark World, a maybe sometimes maligned movie that I actually really enjoy. I just think there’s great stuff with Loki being tangentially responsible for the death of his mother, how he reacts to that. That is the start of his journey of that version of Loki’s redemption, so I was inspired by that.”

'Loki' star Tom Hiddleston sits next to Chris Hemsworth, who is holding Thor's hammer
Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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What to watch before ‘Loki’

Indeed, in Loki Episode 1, Hiddleston’s character only lets down his guard and shows real emotion when the Time Variance Authority reveals he was responsible for his mother, Frigga’s, death. She dies in Thor: The Dark World, which takes place after The Avengers but before Endgame. And Loki died in Avengers: Infinity War. The God of Mischief seen in the Disney+ series is the one the Avengers run into when they travel back in time to Loki’s attack on New York City.

So, if you haven’t watched Loki yet and are wondering what to watch before you do, follow Waldron’s lead by watching Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Endgame at the very least. If you can commit more time to this viewing journey, start with Thor, then follow this order:

  • The Avengers
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame

Or, you know, you could also watch Teletubbies.