This story contains spoilers for the second episode of “Loki.”
The chase for Loki is on.
In the second episode of “Loki,” titled “The Variant,” the titular trickster god (played by Tom Hiddleston) has officially kicked off his stint helping the Time Variance Authority apprehend another version of himself.
Among his earliest words of wisdom to Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) in dealing with Loki variants? “Expect the expected,” which was the first clue that things were probably going to get a bit messy for the bureaucratic TVA. Especially with the original Loki's need to prove he is superior to the one the TVA is chasing.
That said, it was the ladies of “Loki” who were responsible for the biggest surprises of Episode 2. Here’s the story behind the show’s surprising scene-stealer, Miss Minutes, and that other Loki variant who seems to be up to no good.
What’s up with Miss Minutes?
Before being allowed to head into the field, Loki is tasked with studying Nexus events and other TVA protocols. Helping him get up to speed is Miss Minutes, the animated clock (voiced by Tara Strong) introduced in the TVA informational video shown to Loki in Episode 1.
But this time, Miss Minutes is not confined to a video playing on a screen.
“Are you a recording? Or are you alive?” asks Loki.
“Uh, sorta both,” Miss Minutes replies.
“Loki” director Kate Herron explained that older cartoon characters like Felix the Cat inspired Miss Minutes’ design. And that, like Roger Rabbit, she is an animated character who interacts with the live-action ones.
Filming these scenes involved using a “quite scary” real-life object as a stand-in so the actors could work around the space Miss Minutes inhabits.
“It was basically like a lamp that we stuck little cardboard eyes on,” said Herron. “She was this little lamp on suitcase wheels that we'd spin around … She’s a light because she lights the scene because the character is illuminated. Then you replace the terrifying lamp with a lovely cartoon.”
Herron also teased that Miss Minutes is in for an “interesting” character journey.
There’s a Lady Loki?
The biggest reveal of the episode, of course, is that the "better" Loki variant the TVA is after is a woman (played by Sophia Di Martino).
Loki is a shapeshifter and, as noted on his paperwork with the TVA, the character’s sex is fluid. This is an aspect that has been well established in Marvel comics — which takes inspiration from Loki’s Norse mythology — and the character has appeared and been referred to as Thor’s brother and sister in various stories.
A 2007 “Thor” storyline, which saw the titular god of thunder on a quest to reawaken Asgardians after they were killed during Ragnarok — yes, like the event Loki was researching during the episode — introduced Loki in the form of a woman. It’s revealed later that Loki took this form as part of a complicated villainous scheme. But this was not the only time the character fans have dubbed Lady Loki has appeared on the page. Among her more recent appearances was in the “Loki: Agent of Asgard” comic book series in 2014-15.
Lady Loki’s look in the Disney series resembles that of Loki in “Agent of Asgard” (particularly the state of the horned headband), but her being blonde may be a clue that there is still more to unravel about the character.
Has Loki taken other forms in the comics?
As the show mentions during the TVA’s discussion on the Loki variants, Loki has taken a number of different forms over the years.
Loki has died and been reborn a number of times in the comics, and sometimes that is the catalyst for a new look. In addition to Lady Loki, the comics have introduced versions such as the younger Kid Loki (who is still a trickster but is not as evil) and an older, future version of the character, known as King Loki. For now, fans will have to stay tuned to see whether any other Loki variants make an appearance on the show.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.