Loki head writer Michael Waldron opens up about developing the Marvel Studios original series as a standalone but vital chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with connections to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Spinning out of Avengers: Endgame, where Loki (Tom Hiddleston) escapes the year 2012 using a stolen Tesseract, the series begins with this “Variant” Loki’s arrest by the Time Variance Authority for crimes against the Sacred Timeline created by the all-knowing Time-Keepers. Stepping off this path created a Nexus event, explains TVA mascot Miss Minutes (Tara Strong), which if left unchecked could “branch off into madness” — or a Multiverse of Madness.

“I think everybody will have a better idea of that when on the other end of it,” Waldron told ComicBook.com when asked if Loki leads directly into Doctor Strange 2, also written by Waldron. “I’ll just say that our charge and the goal from the beginning was telling a complete, thrilling story that can stand alone, and by the end of it, we’ll see what we blew the lid on.”

No limitations meant Loki could reveal a desk drawer full of confiscated Infinity Stones rendered useless inside the TVA, a bureaucratic organization existing outside of time and space that the God of Mischief recognizes as “the greatest power in the universe.”

“From day one, we were like, ‘Look, this thing should be as vital as a movie.’ There was no cap on our imagination, or on what we could do or what we couldn’t do because it was on Disney+,” Waldron said of the six-episode streaming series. “As far as we were concerned, we were telling the next, most important chapter in the MCU. And so, that meant, ‘Yeah, let’s get Infinity Stones in there.'”

Waldron previously revealed the series would have “wide-reaching ramifications across the MCU moving forward,” and Miss Minutes’ warning about unchecked timelines branching off “into madness” is no coincidence. After WandaVision ended with the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) positioned for a return in Multiverse of Madness, Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige said Loki is “tremendously important” to Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“It perhaps will have more impact on the MCU than any of the shows thus far,” Feige told Empire Magazine about Loki. “What everybody thought about WandaVision, and was sort of true, and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, which was sort of true, is even more sort of true for Loki.”

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Starring Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Sophia Di Martino, and Richard E. Grant, new episodes of Marvel’s Loki premiere Wednesdays on Disney+. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters on March 25, 2022.

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