The filmmakers behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe have spent more than a decade working out how best to introduce wild sci-fi concepts to mass audiences, but even still the upcoming Loki series can be seen as a horse of a different color. After all, the new Disney+ original is taking on the task of introducing the Time Variance Authority, and the existence of that particular organization effectively rearranges the notion of how reality functions. It’s a big idea to tackle, but one big asset to head writer Michael Waldron in taking on the challenge was his work on another mind-expanding genre series: Rick And Morty.
Waldron’s history with the hit Adult Swim series dates back to 2013, as he went from being a production assistant in the first season to become a writer and producer for Season 4, and that time was influential in the creation of Loki. I spoke with the filmmaker this week during the virtual press day for the Marvel show, and it was while discussing the establishment of the TVA in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity that he talked about the impact of his Rick and Morty experience:
Coming from Rick and Morty definitely helped with that. I start to say 'We had big sci-fi concepts that were complicated;' it's then easy for that to become the meme of like, 'Well, you have to be really smart to watch Rick and Morty.' But we would play with big sci-fi concepts on Rick and Morty that we had to explain in 30 seconds and then not think about so we could get on to telling jokes and telling the emotional story and everything. And so I was really happy about that.
Featuring complex science-fiction ideas in pop culture comes down to two things: time and clarity: a show can’t get bogged down in exposition and details without sacrificing entertainment value, but at the same time that entertainment value isn’t worth much if nobody can comprehend what you’re trying to get across. Creating a balance in all of that is something at which the writers on Rick and Morty are exceptional, so it should be exciting for any Marvel fan to learn that kind of energy is coming to the franchise.
Even better? Michael Waldron isn’t the only member of the Rick And Morty family who Marvel Studios hired for Loki, as Tom Kauffman was also on the writing staff for the new series. Having that familiar face also working on the Tom Hiddleston-led show was a nice added bonus, as Waldron explained:
Tom Kauffman, one of our writers and a producer on the show, he was on our staff. He had been on Rick and Morty since the beginning; he wrote the "Get Schwifty" episode. He's one of my good buddies, and so I was grateful to have him in there as another just great sci-fi brain on that.