Tom Hiddleston, star of Marvel Studios‘ Loki, explained that inspiration for the recently concluded second season of the series came from an unlikely source: “The Four Quartets,” a poem by T.S. Eliot.
In an interview with Screen Rant, Hiddleston said that “very early on,” he discussed the poem with the writers, directors, and producers of Loki. “Well, it’s just an extraordinary piece of writing in its own right, but it happens to be about time and reality and the past and confronting the past in order to live in the present and move into the future and his ideas of meaning and purpose.” Hiddleston went on to reference the opening lines of the poem, which almost seems to allude to Loki’s time-slipping at the beginning of Season 2, and then quoted a passage he found particularly relevant.
And what you thought you came for Is only a shell, a husk of meaning From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled If at all. Either you had no purpose Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured And is altered in fulfilment.
“…It seemed to be a jumping-off point or a diving board for a conversation that we all had,” said Hiddleston. “Eric Martin, the head writer, Kevin Wright, our executive producer, Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Dan DeLeeuw, and Kasra Farahani, our directors, we were all thinking, ‘Okay, purpose. What does that mean?’ Especially if your purpose is revealed to you in a shape you didn’t recognize. And I think every character is wrestling with their sense of purpose.”
Loki had to get lost in time before finding his purpose
The first season of Loki premiered in June 2021. Hiddleston reprises the titular role, the brother of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and a former Marvel Cinematic Universe antagonist. Loki finds himself lost between timelines and apprehended by a shadowy organization called the Time Variance Authority, controlled by Jonathan Majors‘ Kang.
In Season 1, the TVA initially appeared as an institution formed to protect the “Sacred Timeline” and keep the universe from collapsing, but its sinister goals were gradually revealed. Season 2 followed Loki as he teamed up with former members of the TVA who have learned that they were being used, including Owen Wilson‘s Mobius, Ke Huy Quan‘s Ouroboros, and Sophia Di Martino‘s Sylvie, herself a Loki variant.
Both seasons of Loki are streaming now on Disney+.