Two episodes into Loki has us wondering if Marvel’s newest show might be about the process of making a Marvel show. Think about it; the God of Mischief is the wild, anarchic artistic type who now operates from a cubicle, working as but a tiny cog in a vast corporate machine. And we learn more about how the TVA (Time Variance Authority) operates -- namely that their job is to keep the branches of the timeline within the red line, as illustrated in this helpful Atari-level graphic.

Disney

 

Which feels like a good metaphor for the narrative constraints of the MCU; despite the Loki-esque urge one might have to do something bold and unexpected with a Marvel story, filmmakers can never diverge too far from the larger narrative course of the franchise. Not unlike what Tim Burton did with The Nightmare Before Christmas, Loki seems like a Disney project that also serves as an allegory for the creative frustrations that come with working for Disney. 

There are some other indications that the TVA may secretly be a metaphorical stand-in for the Mouse House, too -- most blatantly, the fictional company has a literal old-timey cartoon character mascot.

Disney

And several of the time periods the characters visit could be references to Disney history too; a Renaissance Fair in 1985? Well, Disney released the medieval fantasy bomb The Black Cauldron in 1985. Old-timey Oklahoma? Disney now owns the film version of the 1955 musical Oklahoma! Then there’s Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius and his mustache. Some have speculated that the stache is a deep-cut tribute to late Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald. But it also, coincidentally or not, makes Mobius, our authority at the TVA, look like a real Walt Disney type -- but with his head both intact and room temperature. 

Disney/YouTube

Of course, Mobius also works for a group of shadowy lizard people, but we’re guessing there’s a YouTube video somewhere making similar claims about Walt. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Top Image: Marvel Studios

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