Loki team feared following up hit first season: ‘Even if we recapture that magic, it won’t be as fulfilling’

Kevin Wright and Dan DeLeeuw spoke about the series and its second episode

Watch: Kevin Wright discusses the pressure of making Loki season 2:

When Loki was renewed for a second season it brought a challenge for the creatives behind it, how do they follow up a show of that magnitude? The key was to not repeat what had come before.

The Disney+ show's producer Kevin Wright tells Yahoo UK that the creative were concerned that it wouldn't "be as fulfilling" if they just tried to repeat what they did in season 1, instead they had to hone in on what made the first season great while also delivering something a little different.

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Saying they approached the second season "with a lot of care", Wright says: "Tom [Hiddleston] and I had a lot of conversations, even as we were finishing season one, about how we could keep the momentum going into this.

"I think there was a lot of conversations early on with our department heads. The world that Michael [Waldron, the show's creator] and Kate [Herron, season 1's showrunner] helped build in season 1 was beloved, and we wanted to honour that and dive deeper into that world and see more of it, but also the idea of we can't just go back and play the hits.

Loki season 2 invites viewers back into the TVA. (Disney)
Loki producer Kevin Wright has reflected on the pressure of making season 2. (Disney)

"Even if we recapture that magic, it probably wouldn't be as fulfilling. And so the mantra was always stick with the characters, stick with the world and just dive deeper into those themes that were introduced in season 1.

"If season 1 was about identity, well you don't just wake up and go 'I know who I am', like that continues and it's just high stakes now. They're dealing with the ramifications of their choices.

"Season 2 wanted to be about a constant, almost infinite series of difficult decisions that have to be made, and so maybe we question 'are they taking the right path?' Seeing character choices in action we felt would be a revealing way to see what what truly makes them."

Dan DeLeeuw, who directed episode 2, felt the same as he adds: "Kate was brilliant in terms of what she had created and helped create for the for the first season and her passion for it and you really. What I was trying to do is honour what she had started."

Bringing Sylvie's world to life

Loki season 2 (Disney)
Loki director Dan DeLeeuw said highlighting Sylvie's journey was important in episode 2 (Disney)

Episode 2, fans will learn today, sees the show shift focus back on Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) and finds her in an unlikely place: a retro McDonalds.

DeLeeuw spoke about the thought that went into the episode, saying: "It's finding a way to carry her past that emotional point where she was, she was kidnapped as a child, kept as a prisoner within the TVA, went rogue and escaped, and then was on her mission of revenge.

Read more: Loki season 2 review: The God of Mischief tries to avoid a time war in high-stakes follow-up

"I think bringing her back in was getting that realisation that maybe she just needs to experience the real world, and that was the setup of showing up at McDonald's and and seeing what life was like. I think she probably didn't know exactly what she wanted to do."

The director says they were keen for the second episode had a retro feel to it, and he credits the show's production designer for going above and beyond to bring Sylvie's world to life by getting the original designs for the wallpaper, tables, and even getting a mould for the classic version of the Hamburglar made especially for the series.

Loki season 2 (Disney)
Wright said that he, Tom Hiddleston and other creatives for Loki felt they couldn't "just go back and play the hits" when it came to season 2 (Disney)

"We needed something to ground her when she came back," DeLeeuw says. "And the idea of a fast food restaurant came up... there's always some childhood memory of McDonald's so there's something very nostalgic about that. And it seemed like it could work with what we were doing with Sylvie."

The other aspect of the narrative that remained a focus was the relationship between Loki and Sylvie, the two are variant of each other but built a natural connection in season one that developed into a romantic one before betrayal tore them apart.

Season 2 will continue to examine this, Wright says: "We talked a lot about this, it was something Kate would aay a lot in season 1 and I just was like it just rung so true: They looked like teenagers.

"Like they just have never been emotionally open with anyone, and I think [Sylvie is] the first connection that Loki's had in any romantic sense.

"And so I think with what happens at the end of that first season, we just wanted to keep living in that tension of they clearly have a connection, but they're going different directions.

"Sylvie has never lived a life, Loki has lived a very long life and has made a lot of choices and is really getting to know himself. Sylvie hasn't even been able to start that journey yet... it's always going to be complicated, but that makes for really rich interactions."

Easter eggs for Ke Huy Quan's career

Ke Huy Quan as O.B. in Marvel Studios' LOKI, Season 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.
Ke Huy Quan as O.B. in Loki, Wright and DeLeeuw revealed that they added in plenty of Easter eggs for fans of the actor and his past work (Marvel).

One new addition to the cast this season is Ke Huy Quan, of Indiana Jones and Everything, Everywhere All At Once fame, who takes on the role of O.B., the TVA's tech guru.

The actor, Wright says, was a delight to work with and because of his passion for his past work the creative team decided to add in a number of Easter eggs that fans will recognise throughout the series.

"He talks so fondly about his past movies, then it just makes you go 'Oh, we've got to get Easter eggs in there,'" Wright explained.

"I think if you look in in episodes two and three while he's working in the temporal core, he's got a really cool tool belt that fans of the Goonies will probably see, [there are] some cool things throughout his workshop. There's a number of of references to his past that are there."

DeLeeuw spoke equally highly of the actor, adding: "There's an honesty and there's a kindness, and then there's energy to his performance and his acting that was infectious.

"I think on set that you know if there was a day he wasn't in a scene, you'd want to try to find a way to bring him to the scene."

Loki airs Fridays on Disney+.