Marvel Studios' Assembled: The Making of Loki gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at production, pitch meetings, and scrapped concepts.
One of the more noteworthy elements to come out of the documentary was Loki's concept art. Early sketches from within both the Time Variance Authority and the Citadel gave fans glimpses into recognizable objects and characters that almost made their way into the show's various locations.
When Loki enters the TVA, the cue line is noticeably empty. Early art would've had the building bustling with time criminals, including a familiar furry face.
ROCKET RACCOON IN LOKI?
In an exclusive interview with The Direct, Loki director Kate Herron revealed the raccoon in the concept art "wasn't Rocket specifically."
"That scene, it wasn’t Rocket specifically. I think the illustrators drew him in as a fun idea because sometimes they’ll pitch stuff and then the studio will be like, 'Yay or nay.' I think it never got to the point, unfortunately, because of COVID."
Speaking further on that, Herron noted she originally had the TVA cue "full of characters" but ultimately left the room empty out of safety precautions.
"Originally that scene when Loki’s in, we call it the DMV cue, where he watches the Miss Minutes video. Originally, that was going to be full of characters and people. We didn’t know necessarily who those characters were going to be. We were circling on, ‘Maybe it could be fun if a character could be a reference to this film or maybe something from the comics.’ It’s just that when that was scheduled, COVID hit, and then obviously when we were across that four-month gap, and we were looking at it again, we just couldn’t do it safely. Like at least at that time, because it was so early in our schedule."
Loki did have a packed set just two episodes later in "Lamentis," but Herron says they were able to accomplish that safety "by putting it right at the end of the schedule" and holding it "outside."
"I mean, we only managed to do Sharoo, which is a big crowd one on Lamentis in the finale, by putting it right at the end of the schedule. But for that cue, I also should say that [Lamentis] was outside. That was also different. We had slightly different safety there."
While a packed cue didn't come to fruition, Herron says the empty alternative turned out "funnier and more ridiculous."
"But for the inside one with the cue, it just felt like it was sort of putting people at risk in a way that for the story, we were like it’s actually kind of funnier and more ridiculous if he goes in this intricate cue system, and actually there’s no one there. That’s kind of how that one came to pass. I mean, definitely, there’s always Easter Eggs and things that people are pitching and like, you know, for one reason or another I think it’s just usually about choice, right? You just pick the one that everyone’s most excited by and that’s what gets in the show."
The cue line was empty, but the TVA still had plenty of faces meandering in the background. From a Peggy Carter-looking figure to a tracksuit-wearing Skrull, the TVA had their hands full of familiar MCU faces. Speaking on the former, Herron says she elected to include a Skrull because she wanted to emphasize that the TVA patrols beyond Earth.
"Yeah, so I think for me it was a fun cameo in the sense of I wanted to show that the TVA weren’t just arresting humans from Earth, basically. It was across everywhere we know in the MCU. That was really key in that sense. That’s how our Skrull got in."
A PACKED TIME VARIANCE AUTHORITY
Similar to how the cut "glorious" scene would've been a neat inclusion, the scrapped packed TVA would have allowed for more fun Easter Eggs, but the empty cue ultimately served the story stronger.
The barren waiting line allowed for the TVA's introduction to be both funny and frightening, as Herron says. The authoritarian vibe mixed with a desolate working space made Loki's arrest all the more absurd, while also roping viewers in to wonder exactly what was going on.
Herron did note that the raccoon in the art wasn't Rocket, which leads fans to believe it is another being of the same species. Vin Diesel has teased Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will explore Groot's backstory, and considering the two are a package deal, it's fair to assume details about Rocket's origins will be fleshed out in the space opera's threequel. Having another sentient raccoon inside the TVA could've teased that potential storyline, but the concept never getting off the page indicates fans will have to wait until at least Christmas 2022 to find out more about Rocket's beginnings.
While the cue line was empty, there were a couple of background players that still made their way into the series. The tracksuit Skrull perfectly served the purpose Herron set out for him, in that he emphasizes that the TVA goes beyond Earth with their interferences.
All six episodes of Loki's first season are streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.