Loki’s Gugu Mbatha Raw Was Inspired By A Particular James Bond Relationship Working With Owen Wilson

Renslayer and Mobius in Renslayer's office in Loki Gugu Mbatha Raw and Owen Wilson

Across its first two episodes, Loki has thrown a lot of interesting stuff at audiences, establishing an expanse that exists outside of time and space in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – but it hasn’t just been wild sci-fi concepts drawing people in. One of the most curious relationships to be established in the new Disney+ series is between Gugu Mbatha Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer and Owen Wilson’s Mobius – a workplace friendship with a great deal of history in a place where history broadly encompasses past, present, and future.

There’s an exciting dynamic there, and if you’re a big fan of James Bond, you may have picked up on one of the key points of reference for Raw’s performance.

Speaking with the actor earlier this month during the Loki virtual press day, I asked about the fun back-and-forth that Renslayer and Mobius clearly demonstrate in the show’s first two episodes – and while she couldn’t speak for Owen Wilson’s perspective on the matter, Gugu Mbatha Raw noted that she feels that the Time Variance Authority investigator is the 007 to her character’s M. Said Raw,

Personally I always looked at it as a sort of version of the M/Bond dynamic, with me being M and Mobius being Bond, this sort of rascally agent that just is a bit maverick. And my character sort of appreciates him for the fact that he takes off on these maverick challenges, but also kind of has to have him toe the line as well.

For those of you not well versed in the James Bond franchise, M is the code name for the person who operates as the head of the Secret Intelligence Service in the United Kingdom. It’s a rotating position, but their primary service in the story is as a voice of authority – albeit a friendly one. They give Bond his orders, and while they have to sometimes bring the hammer down on the heroic agent when he acts a little too brashly, they are also willing to let a few things slide in recognition of his ability to consistently get the job done.

From what we’ve seen from Loki thus far, the comparison is apt. As Mobius hunts the killer variant, he doesn’t want to fully comply with all protocols (by which I mean he wants to enlist the help of Tom Hiddleston’s titular God of Mischief ), and he leans on his personal relationship with Ravonna Renslayer to get the permissions that he needs. Meanwhile, Renslayer clearly has faith that Mobius knows what he is doing, which is why she provides a bit of leniency to his big ideas.

Of course, the relationships aren’t exactly perfect facsimiles of one another, and there definitely is something special about the bond (sorry) between Ravonna Renslayer and Mobius that is different from M and cinema’s most famous martini drinker. Teasing a bit of what’s to come from the characters in upcoming episodes of Loki, Gugu Mbatha Raw said,

I sort of looked at it a little bit like that, but then I think there's a slightly different chemistry going on. I think they have a longstanding friendship, and there's layers to their history.

Will we get to start seeing more of those layers uncovered in Loki’s third episode? We have absolutely no idea at present – but we don’t have much more time to wait before answers are delivered. The next chapter of the series will be arriving on Disney+ at midnight PST/3am EST this Wednesday. And to see what else is ahead from the MCU on the small screen, be sure to check out our Upcoming Marvel TV guide.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.