‘Loki’ Editors on Bringing the TVA to Life | The Rough Cut

by Ankit Verma | Jul 20, 2021

The God of Mischief has got himself into a bit of pickle after unknowingly causing the sacred timeline to branch out into a multiversal frenzy. The Rough Cut host, Matt Feury interviews a trio of Loki editors, Paul Zucker, ACE, Emma McCleave, and Callum Ross on their experience working on the hit Marvel show, which just wrapped up its Season 1 finale.

Read More: ‘Black Widow’ Editors on Marvel’s First Feature-Length Film in Two Years

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Key conversations

Editing a pilot that isn’t a pilot

ZUCKER: This wasn’t a pilot in the classic sense that we’re starting cold. Almost any Marvel project to a degree, we’re all stepping into a continuum. It’s already in progress in a way. In some ways that’s like a sequel, right? I had something to reference. So, in terms of Tom’s performance, it is very important to know this was a 2012 version of Loki, not Ragnarok Loki. So knowing that, familiarizing myself with what that performance felt like in Avengers informed the performance choices I made in episode one. And then as far as having material available to me from other MCU films. Yeah, we all have that.

Kate Herron’s workload

ZUCKER: I mean, it was inhuman what she [Kate Herron] had to carry. Six hours of material, all in various stages. I mean, at times, she’s writing the scripts in pre-production, production and post-production all at the same time, which is not that uncommon in television. But to have the scope of this show, the budget of this show, the visual effects shot count of this show, in one director’s hands is pretty uncommon. So her time is so highly scheduled, and was sliced into half hour increments.

Feature Length V Episodic

FEURY: What’s your take on Loki being more of a six part feature than an episodic series?

MCCLEAVE: I definitely agree with that. I definitely feel that it’s very much a six-part feature. Iit didn’t feel that different, to be honest, to the features. The visual effects are the same, the expectations were the same, the quality of what we were receiving in the cutting room is the same whether that be cinematography, costumes, makeup, lighting, production design—all of it was the same.

Miss Minute’s Animated TVA Intro

ZUCKER: That was an interesting one, because it was scripted. Obviously, that script changed up until the last minute, it was written and rewritten as we figured out what the exposition needed to be and how we wanted to say it. A lot of pressure on that one, because we were laying out some rules for the multiverse that are going to be, you know, relevant for the next how many films and TV shows?

Kate knew she wanted to do a cartoon there. But beyond that, there wasn’t a lot of direction. There was no art for that, as I recall. Beyond the cartoon and some tonal notes about keeping it in the mid 50s/60s vibe of the TVA, we’re kind of on our own. So together with my assistants, we created that out of stock footage. We created that out of Disney live action short films from the mid 50s. Ames office films from the early 60s, UPA cartoons, cobbled together for a couple other sources that we found. And it was temped with things like Bernard Herman scores that feature the theremin from The Day the Earth Stood Still. And sound effects and scratch tracks recorded by assistants. Ultimately, that became the blueprint, though, for what you see in the episode, which was hand-drawn animation.

*Portions of the key conversations have been edited for length and clarity. 

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