Loki director Kate Herron on the outcry over Loki and Sylvie’s kiss

Lokis
There was a lot of buzz around Loki being the first openly bisexual MCU character. In the comics, Loki is pansexual and gender-fluid. In the last episode of the Loki series, Loki kissed Sylvie, the female version of himself, which caused a huge uproar. Some people are saying that the kiss between the two Lokis was incestuous. Loki season one director, Kate Herron, is setting the record straight about the Loki on Loki action. Kate, who will not be returning to direct season two, states that the two Lokis are not brother and sister, therefore the kiss could not be incestuous. In fact, Kate believes that Loki falling in love with the female version of himself is more an exploration of self-love. Below are a few more highlights from Polygon:

Loki has been a hit for streaming service Disney Plus — episode 6 of the show, the final installment for this season, was reportedly watched by more households than any of the platform’s MCU finales to date. The series has been a popular source of fan conjecture and argument, with one particularly big rolling conversation focusing on whether the budding romantic relationship between trickster Asgardian Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his alternate-universe counterpart Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) is a form of incest.

Herron is willing to speak up about that one. “My interpretation of it is that they’re both Lokis, but they aren’t the same person,” she says. “I don’t see them as being like brother and sister. They have completely different backgrounds […] and I think that’s really important to her character. They sort of have the same role in terms of the universe and destiny, but they won’t make the same decisions.”

Herron says thematically, Loki falling for Sylvie is an exploration of “self-love,” but only in the sense that it’s Loki learning to understand his own motives and integrity. “[The show is] looking at the self and asking ‘What makes us us?’” Herron says. “I mean, look at all the Lokis across the show, they’re all completely different. I think there’s something beautiful about his romantic relationship with Sylvie, but they’re not interchangeable.”

Directing the final kiss between the two characters was a complicated process because it had to communicate something about each of them over the course of just a few seconds. Herron says the primary goal was creating a safe, comfortable environment for Hiddleston and Di Martino, and after that, she had to think about how to bring across Loki and Sylvie’s conflicting goals in that moment.

“It’s an interesting one, right?” she says. “Emotionally, from Sylvie’s perspective, I think it’s a goodbye. But it’s still a buildup of all these feelings. They’ve both grown through each other over the last few episodes. It was important to me that it didn’t feel like a trick, like she was deceiving him. She is obviously doing that, on one hand, but I don’t feel the kiss is any less genuine. I think she’s in a bad place, but her feelings are true.”

Herron says directing Hiddleston in the scene mostly came down to discussing the speech Loki gives Sylvie before the kiss. “That was really important, showing this new place for Loki,” Herron says. “In the first episode, he’s like, ‘I want the throne, I want to rule,’ and by episode 6, he isn’t focused on that selfish want. He just wants her to be okay.”

[From Polygon]

I viewed Loki and Sylvie as different versions of each other and saw it as Loki falling in love with different aspects of himself. I believe Loki got a glimpse of himself without the need for power and he loved that. It was narcissism and not incestuous. I also agree with Kate when she said that the kiss was different for Loki and Sylvie. For Loki, I believe the kiss was a metaphor of him accepting himself fully, and for Sylvie it was a goodbye to the parts of herself she doesn’t want to accept. Sylvie wanted to separate herself from the myth of the variant. Sylvie saying, “I am not you” was her way of making it clear that she was not defined by being a variant Loki. I am looking forward to season two and am also excited to see who will be tapped as the next director. In the meantime, I hope folks will stop being so alarmist and just enjoy what Marvel and Disney are providing.

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36 Responses to “Loki director Kate Herron on the outcry over Loki and Sylvie’s kiss”

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  1. Lightpurple says:

    Sylvie initiated it. She was in control in that moment. He was in her way and she had to let him go because she realized they weren’t the same. It was sad. And the Loki/Mobius shippers are really annoying about it.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I saw it that way too. IMHO she kissed Loki to say goodbye, and to also distract him so she could literally shove him out of her way (lol.) I never felt that it was an incestuous relationship, but rather that the whole thing was rushed. I know with a series that’s only 6 eps in total there’s no other choice, but yeah. I’ll be interested to see where it goes – if anywhere – in season two.

  2. Mia4s says:

    People who have time to get upset or outraged over silly comicbook characters doing fake things? These people need more real problems in their lives. Or they can borrow some of mine. 🙄

  3. Lady Luna says:

    People will complain about everything. I didn’t see it that way, in fact I hope Loki gets a happy ending. Pun intended.

  4. Sierra says:

    Sylvie is a small variant of Loki and not actually related to him.

  5. TigerMcQueen says:

    The people in my household were kind of weirded out about it all.

    My husband, who is a casual MCU fan (at best) and who watched Loki because I did, said ‘oh…uh, that’s weird, they’re the same person’ as soon as they started kissing. Our oldest teenager who’s somewhat into the MCU was all ‘they’re doing that to show he’s learning self love’ then said ‘but he’s done it so they can stop with it now.’

    I’m way more into the MCU than either of them, and like my son, I also got it…but there was also such emphasis on how they were the same that when they kissed, I was like ‘ok, let’s get this over with.’

    I just wasn’t into the storyline and thought it felt a bit forced. Blame the fact that I find both Tom H and Owen W (as Loki and Mobius) to be so dynamic individually and together that I wanted to see more of their good cop, bad maybe not so bad cop/god. And some people can want that and totally not be a shipper, because I want Mobius to be Loki’s BFF not boyfriend, lol. And as good an actress and Sophia DiM is, I found Sylvie to be the least interesting of all the variants, and thought there was no real chemistry between her and Tom H (though, bless his heart, he did his best to sell it). So there’s that.

    Also, I want the character of Loki to grow beyond narcissism, so ok, he’s learned to love himself, and that was absolutely needed. But let’s move on to someone not him.

    I’

    • Case says:

      I felt the exact same way. I usually like characters like Sylvie but I just never warmed to her or felt anything between her and Loki. MAYBE they could’ve gotten to like a sibling-y relationship, but I definitely didn’t sense anything romantic and they really rushed to making that happen.

    • BeeCee says:

      You hit the nail on the head with your view of the series. I completely agree!

    • GG says:

      “And as good an actress and Sophia DiM is, I found Sylvie to be the least interesting of all the variants, and thought there was no real chemistry between her and Tom H (though, bless his heart, he did his best to sell it). So there’s that.”

      Yup. Pretty much.

      Also, I agree about the Mobius/Loki friendship. I didn’t care much for Mobius, but him becoming Loki’s BFF would’ve been better than what actually happened.

  6. The Artist Formerly Known as Valiantly Varnished says:

    There was an outcry?! From who?! No one in the MCU nerd-verse (which I am very much a part of lol) was outraged by it. He wasn’t kissing a sibling! People are weird.

    • Ana170 says:

      I did get that he was into her (right around the time he started singing), but I thought it was a little more than just narcissism. She’s really sort of the opposite of him so it couldn’t have been just that. She’s someone who was trying to do some good even though it turned out wrong (maybe). I think he grew up a lot over the season probably more than the Loki we saw in the movies.

    • GG says:

      The MCU “nerd verse” is very LGBT-phobic, so I’m not surprised they prefer straight pseudo-incest over Loki having a male LI.

  7. Case says:

    I didn’t find it incestuous necessarily, but I didn’t really understand or like the Loki/Sylvie thing. It all felt a bit forced to me and I didn’t feel any chemistry there. They hung out for a day, mostly with her rolling her eyes at him, and suddenly he was a changed man and loved her and they were super bonded? I can get the “self love” angle, but again, I just don’t think it was done in a convincing manner. I felt like they took absolute leaps with Loki’s characterization without earning it and ended up making him a very subdued version of himself that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Like I found Thor Ragnarok to be all over the place tonally and even that movie handled Loki better than his own show did.

    I loved the Loki/Mobius episodes and the show took a nosedive for me when it switched to Loki/Sylvie. Which was shocking to me; I love Loki and expected this to be my favorite MCU show, but it ultimately did nothing for me.

    • Helen says:

      @Case, YES! THIS! I agree with your whole comment. I wanted to like the show, I really did, but it just hit such weird notes, and the “romance”/epiphany just felt rushed and unconvincing. Tom was acting his heart out, bless him (and acting well, I hasten to add!), but yeah, they made Loki such a wallflower in his own show. :/ You were so right about even the mess that was Ragnarok handling him better.

      I would have loved more interaction between “our” Loki and the variants in the Void, particularly Classic Loki. Or a time-hopping buddy adventure/bromance with Loki and Mobius. (hell, even a Mobius and Loki romance if it came to that – they have better chemistry than Sylvie and Loki, imo).

      • Case says:

        I’m glad someone agrees with me because I felt 100 percent alone with this opinion lol! The first couple episodes definitely set us up for a time-hopping adventure story with Loki and Mobius. I guess that introduction to the story and my expectations totally killed my interest in what we ended up getting, which just wasn’t very exciting to me. I feel like Loki is the type of character to get held back by a romantic plot; he just has so much more going on that he doesn’t need that.

        I’ve loved the character of Loki in every MCU movie and even in Norse mythology retellings, so I’m extremely disappointed that I didn’t like how they handled his character in his own show. But he felt so…watered down? I’m all about some Emo Loki but this just felt like a totally different character at times.

    • Oliphant says:

      LOL he was a bit emo loki :)

      Looking forward to the 2nd season but only for more mobius, Renslayer and B-15. Did not really care for Sylvie but I think that’s the actress- found myself thinking about Gugu mbatha-raw as Sylvie and got excited! Ah well, roll on season 2 and hopefully no forced romances.

    • Macheath says:

      @Case,

      You perfectly articulated everything I felt about this show. I had to force myself to watch the last 2 episodes, I just stopped caring. Loki was absolutely one of my favourites, but this diluted version of himself was truly off putting – as was the forced romance with Sylvie. I find myself missing evil scheming Loki. Sylvie was hard to get into and therefore hard to like or care about. I feel the series gave a big misdirect with the trailers. Genuinely disappointed.

      I don’t care, the kiss was icky to me, even the self love argument feels forced. Could have got that with a sibling like route with her, or even better, a good time-cop buddy show with Mobius.

    • GG says:

      LOVE THIS COMMENT! AGREE 100%

      “they took absolute leaps with Loki’s characterization without earning it and ended up making him a very subdued version of himself that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Like I found Thor Ragnarok to be all over the place tonally and even that movie handled Loki better than his own show did.”

      THIS! Loki was not the little sh*t we love. He behaved like a silly schoolboy with a crush after meeting a woman for five seconds. Meh.

      “I loved the Loki/Mobius episodes and the show took a nosedive for me when it switched to Loki/Sylvie. Which was shocking to me; I love Loki and expected this to be my favorite MCU show, but it ultimately did nothing for me.”

      Loki/Mobius does nothing for me, but I did like their episodes. The show definitely took a nosedive for me, too, when it randomly switched to Loki/Sylvie. In part because to me they have zero romantic chemistry (I thought they were cute siblings) and because I’m not invested in Sylvie’s character at all.

      I was also expecting this show to be my favourite, but so far I’m disappointed by the three Disney+ shows. Hopefully What If will be different.

  8. Caitlin Bruce says:

    I saw this really cool thing on tumblr. None of the variants share the same DNA hence why you can have an alligator Loki and a Black Loki. The machine that checked to see if he was a computer in the first episode was checking for an AURA, all variants have the same AURA hence being loki variants, basically he met his soul mate in Slyvie.
    I think Tom and Sophia had tons of chemistry, as well as Tom and Owen had great chemistry. So happy to see Sophia go from 3,000 followers to now over 700k. She’s doing something right. Can’t wait to see more from her and hopefully that includes season 2.
    Can’t wait to see Tom in The Essex Serpent playing a hot vicar.

  9. cynic says:

    Look, those people who got upset over Sylvie and Loki kissing are pretty deranged teenagers who have no lives. I am just happy I got some good entertainment. I also love the Slyvia/Loki relationship so bring it on!

    • H says:

      I’m a Thor/Loki shipper, so none of this stuff bothers me. I didn’t find much chemistry between this Loki and Sylvie. I just can’t stand Owen Wilson so I can’t get into that pairing. But give me Richard E. Grant all day long!

  10. bella says:

    my teens hated it, my husband didn’t care.

    I said it wasn’t incestuous but rather almost a form of…er…self gratification.

  11. Likeyoucare says:

    I hate loki character before this series.
    Now i am weirded out because i found loki is actually sexy.

  12. bettyrose says:

    Wait, there are people who don’t think it was super hot? Okay, then.

  13. Theothermia says:

    It was hot

  14. FF says:

    There’s an outcry because they basically came on with this almost ace character that didn’t do romance, then said he was queer, only to then shove him into this bizarro nohomo romance all while having the cheek to claim it’s “self-love”, or some other confused bs, when all it is is them placating the potential Chinese audience Disney wants to woo.

    Nothing quite like doing the most predictable thing while claiming you’re not.

    Maybe they should have skipped the “pat us on the back for confirming Loki’s queer – aren’t we great” bit if all they were going to do was shoehorn him into this conventional romance with a woman that nobody really asked for (except maybe Tom Hiddleston, who allegedly wanted it to be Amora/Enchantress but we got cheap knockoff, Sylvie instead. On the plus side that clearly means they’re saving Enchantress for a better plotline, so there’s that).

    Oh, and they have about as much screen chemistry as Padme and Anakin, or Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow.

    • bettyrose says:

      Co-sign on all of that . . . but friggin’ Disney. HBO could do so much with Loki’s character. Honestly, any scraps of sexuality on Disney+ are precious, and this may be an unpopular opinion but I wasn’t into a Loki/Mobius thing. Mobius is so asexual and to me unappealing. I was craving a sarcastic/flirty show down between two identical Loki variants but we only saw an identical variant once for like 1/2 second, and Sophie is an interesting enough character to create some sizzle there (not much though, as you’ve said).

      • FF says:

        I liked Loki/Mobius as friends but can understand people shipping them (a lot of people wanted an m/m ship). I honestly thought Mobius had more chemistry with Ravonna (but then so did Sylvie) at various points.

        As for Sylvie, she showed zero romantic interest in Loki that wasn’t about distracting him in a fight, and it had this weird Oedipal vibe because he got very attached to her right after he learned about the death of Frigga – whom Sylvie has some similarities to.

        All I’m saying generally is that the constant two-step of “queer!” paired with “but suddenly we need to shove this character into a heteronormative relationship” is tiresome and straight up deceitful when Marvel Studios know full well their parent company will shut any queer ship down with the quickness.

        Maybe they should just be honest.

        (As for HBO, that really depends on the show and who’s writing it. I’ve got Euphoria at one end and Lovecraft Country at the other.)

    • GG says:

      YAS! Agree with you on everything except two points:

      1) Loki was not ace and has never been ace in the comics. Also, first ace character is a villain? Not a good look. And come to think of it, neither is the fact that their first bi and trans character is a villain.

      Loki is canonically bisexual and trans in the comics, and the show just implied he’s bisexual with an easily cut line and then denied his transness in an episode. We bisexual people and trans people have the right to be mad.

      2) China has nothing to do with it. Homophobia and transphobia are calling from inside the house. Disney+ isn’t available in China, and China censure of LGBT content is more complicated than that.

      “Nothing quite like doing the most predictable thing while claiming you’re not.”

      THIS! Love your comment!

  15. The Recluse says:

    Anyone who thought the whole Loki/Sylvie thing was incestuous doesn’t understand the meaning of the term. They are versions of the same person, so, yeah, I see the whole self understanding/self love angle.
    And Loki is the definition of fluid, sexually and otherwise. I suspect his character would follow his libido or his emotions to whomever, although he’d do well to stay clear of Alligator Loki, that dude doesn’t play.

  16. And Another Thing says:

    According to canon Sylvie is the daughter of Laufey (her last name is listed as Laufeydottir), meaning that she and Loki share at least one parent in common.

    So yeah. They aren’t just two different people who were both called Loki. They descend from the same father. Stop telling me they’re not at all related.

    Also, F- for the gaybaiting and transbaiting.

  17. Bread and Circuses says:

    I really liked them as siblings — as found family — especially since they had both lost their families in different ways.

    But alas, I didn’t find the writing in this series to be very good (the cast and the production were fantastic), and them smooching was, to me, just another bit of bad writing.