Loki, one of MCU’s most beloved characters, went from being The God of Mischief to God of Stories. When season two of Loki bowed on Disney+ in Fall 2023, Tom Hiddleston’s titular character became one of the most powerful forces in the Universe. And, suddenly, the humblest. To be sure, it’s been quite a ride for Hiddleston. The actor first appeared as Loki in 2011’s Thor, chewing up the scenery as a witty villain. There were countless moments of heightened tension along the way until, of course, Avengers: Infinity War, which changed the trajectory of the MCU.
We’ve followed Loki for more than 10 years, movie after movie, until, finally, in Season 2 of Loki, which also stars Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, and Ke Huy Quan, the once-greedy Asgardian rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of his former mischievous self by making a powerful decision. He sacrifices himself to save every universe. Taking hold of the threads of space-time, he builds his own throne and weaves together a tree where he resides, bringing order to the Universe.
Executing the season was a monumental task, which Loki VFX Supervisor Kevin Yuille unpacks in this exclusive MovieWeb interview. But is this the last we’ll ever see of Loki?
Kevin Yuille on a Potential Third Season
“I would love to work on another season of Loki. Season 2 was one of the best experiences ever. It would be amazing to work again with the same crews, both internally and at Marvel.”
Alas, Season 3 isn’t in the cards. At the end of Season 2, Loki performed the ultimate selfish act, a pivotal endpoint and fascinating evolution of one of MCU’s most contentious yet revered characters. However, there’s been plenty of buzz about Avengers: The Kang Dynasty being a successor to the Loki series, although that project isn’t slated for release until 2026. In the meantime, the only MCU movie on the horizon is the highly anticipated Deadpool 3, which hits theaters in July this year. But that film is set to unite the X-Men Universe with the MCU, and Hugh Jackman’s return as Wolverine is garnering attention.
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Meanwhile, Yuille revealed that several elements of Loki may affect upcoming MCU projects. “Over two seasons, FuseFX has developed many looks for TVA technologies [in Loki], encompassing the Time Stick Deletion, Time Doors, and their variations, The Gizmo—an early iteration of the Time Door used for crushing things or people—and the Time Turner,” he explained. “It’s plausible that any of these elements could find their way into other MCU projects.”
Yuille on Mastering VFX in Loki Season 2
The Gizmo, in fact, was introduced in Season 2 as a device born from repurposed early Time Door technology designed to encapsulate and crush its contents. Yuille said that despite sharing nearly identical renders and AOVs from FX with the Time Door, it underwent distinct treatment in compositing for a unique appearance.
“Unlike the Time Door’s vertical glass slab, The Gizmo took the form of a versatile giant cube capable of adapting to various sizes. Initially expansive, it served as a trap for any object or person, acting like a potent trash compactor. Resistance against its walls proved futile, and as the walls contracted, the trapped entity was gradually compressed. The distinct look was achieved through a seamless handoff of FX renders and AOVs to the compositing phase, where they created refraction and reflection effects.
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Fans were jazzed by The Gizmo. Setting itself apart from the Time Doors, it featured internal reflections, enhancing the integration of people and objects with the internal walls. “Some reflections were extracted from on-set plates where actors were filmed against moving planes of plexiglass,” Yuille noted. “Others involved renders from FX or compositing techniques, such as flipping performers or using Nuke to project performances onto cards, capturing reflections through Nuke’s ray-tracing renderer. This sequence was a particularly enjoyable project and stood out as one of FuseFX’s significant accomplishments in this season of the show.”
Beyond creating a cohesive story arc that would satisfy fans by the end of the season, Yuille was candid about the most challenging aspects he faced with VFX for the Loki send-off.
“In visual effects, the most demanding shots typically involve extensive effects simulations, as seen in Loki. This season, we handled all the deletion effects shots—those depicting someone getting deleted from the timeline in a chromatic swirl of gases and sparks when struck with a Time Stick. What added to the complexity of these shots was the multi-step process involved, along with a heavy reliance on not just exceptional effects renders from Houdini but also how compositors utilized those renders, and their special render passes to achieve the desired effect. This setup required a complete rework from Season 1 to enhance the dimensionality of the effect and highlight the finer details.”
What’s on the Horizon for Yuille
- Release Date
- June 9, 2021
- Disney+, Marvel Studios
Yuille felt the pressure before going into Season 2, noting: “When it comes to Marvel, the goal is to exceed expectations. Not long before starting on Loki season 2, we had completed our work on Ms. Marvel, another Disney+ Marvel Studios series. It was a challenging project for various reasons, but we successfully navigated through it, and Marvel was pleased with our work. I wanted to ensure that we carried that positive momentum into the next project, Loki, and also applied the lessons learned from our experience with Ms. Marvel. I believe we achieved these goals. Despite being one of the most high-profile projects I’ve worked on, Loki was probably the most stress-free.”
When asked what he was excited about next, Yuille immediately mentioned the wild year actors and writers experienced in 2023.
“It’s been a challenging year for many in the industry due to the strikes and other factors. I’ve been extremely fortunate and owe a debt of gratitude to FuseFX. I’ve weathered the storm better than most. However, many people in VFX and others in the extended TV and film industries are still hurting. I am hopeful that things can return to somewhat normal for everyone in the near future as more and more shows come back online and new productions kick into high gear. As for myself, perhaps getting to work on a Marvel feature in the future would be exciting.”
Stream Loki on Disney+.
Stream on Disney+