Marvel Studios utilized Summer 2021 to give one of the MCU's longest-standing stars, Tom Hiddleston, his own solo Loki Disney+ series that set the stage for Phase 4's Multiversal shenanigans. This series also introduced a new mysterious bureaucratic organization in the Time Variance Authority, featuring MCU newcomer and comedy legend Owen Wilson as one of its leading agents, Mobius M. Mobius.
Even considering Marvel's knack for getting the best names in the business for its projects, nobody knew what to expect with Wilson taking on a role in the MCU, especially in something as wild and unpredictable as Loki. Wilson wound up bringing a new dynamic to the series as his buddy-cop relationship with Hiddleston's God of Mischief evolved, and he's already set to bring another level of fun with the show's second season.
That bond between Loki and Mobius was something that took a while to really become as good as it was by the end of Episode 6, as Hiddleston's lead clearly didn't trust the "space lizards" that were teased to be running all of time and space. As it turns out, plot points like this allowed for some incredible riffing and improv between Loki's leads, including a scene that Hiddleston revisited in a recent interview.
Tom Hiddleston on Owen Wilson's Improv
Loki star Tom Hiddleston spoke with The Playlist about the improvisation that came through during filming for his solo Disney+ series. He started by praising the entire team for their preparedness and commitment to the material, allowing for so much freedom and so many great improvised moments that made it into the story.
"Yeah, I mean there were so many. There was such an atmosphere of acceptance and permission on set and that all comes from the top as well. Because everybody came ready, everybody was so prepared and so committed and it gives you freedom because you find people are so on top of the material that it creates an atmosphere of genuinely thrilling, invention."
Hiddleston looked back to a scene featuring himself and Owen Wilson's Mobius as the two engaged in some psychological warfare to get Loki "to be a bit more responsible" with his life in Episode 2. This included a simple moment where Wilson tightened the tie he was wearing with his suit as the two went back and forth with each other, with Hiddleston giving Wilson praise for being "so inventive:"
"And there was a day I remember it often happened with Owen Wilson where we would be doing a scene and he would do something unexpected. There was a scene where Mobius is very irritated by Loki who is kind of stalling the operation in episode two. And he’s playing a very interesting psychological game with Loki and trying to motivate him in some way to be a bit more responsible. And he referred to Loki as an ice runt or something. And I noticed that the collar on his shirt was undone and his tie was loose. And we felt very playful and it was a great little tennis match and I leaned forward and just straightened his tie. It’s adorable that I’m 10 and steps ahead of you, and then watching Owen’s face as I straightened his tie. It’s those little moments, which I remember and Owen was just so inventive."
Additionally, Hiddleston marveled at Wilson's preparation for the show after asking the Loki actor to take him through everything the character has been through in the MCU to date. Hiddleston then revealed how this led to an improvisational moment from Wilson that made it into the show:
"I remember in the preparation for the show and I don’t want to go on too long, but he was kind of asking me to take him through the journey of playing Loki and the movies and the story and everything. And one afternoon he said, 'I think I got it. I’m just so curious. I’ve seen the films and I understand the journey, but Tom, what do you love about playing Loki?' And I said, 'I suppose it’s the character’s got so much range.' And I said, 'It’s like a piano. He can play the light keys, but he can also play the heavy keys.' And then in a scene once, in the Time Theater, when Loki is trying to intimidate and threaten Mobius, Owen, just threw back, 'See I can play the heavy keys too.' And it was great. And it’s in the show, you know? It’s those moments where that feels really exciting."
Wilson's Improv Makes Loki Even Better
Getting an actor of Owen Wilson's caliber is nothing new for Marvel Studios, especially considering that Loki is a show that already boasts one of the franchise's best actors in Tom Hiddleston as its lead. Even with that caliber of professionals, seeing Hiddleston react so well to Wilson's work on set makes the entire experience something truly special as Phase 4 continues to expand.
The amazing thing about this moment is that it's not even really one that had a major impact on the story being told in Loki - it was simply two important players sizing one another up and trying to one-up each other in their own minds. But considering the effect that Wilson's improv had on that moment alone, it's easy to see how his chemistry with Hiddleston blossomed on-screen through every episode and every scene together.
Now, fans can only wait for more fun interactions between the two as they both prepare for another round of episodes in Season 2, which starts filming this summer. Rumors have also pointed to them playing a small role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but even if that doesn't happen, the duo will be back before too long.
All six episodes of Loki are available to stream on Disney+.