How do you hide the identity of a dangerous, mysterious variant during the first episode of a new hit Marvel TV show? Loki director Kate Herron knows the answer.
At the end of Loki‘s first episode, we see a hooded silhouette standing in the middle of an oil field holding a fire-lit lantern, minutemen preparing to confront her with reset sticks, but the person drops her light, starting a fire burning up the grass along with the agents standing in the vicinity. And that person stands in the same spot watching the murder of these screaming minutemen in the episode’s end scene. Intimidating? Yes, of course, but how do you keep the gender of this character hidden until the ultimate reveal in Episode 2? While it may seem easy to hide this fact since no distinct features are revealed in a silhouette, Kate Herron reveals that another big detail is needed to ensure that Sylvie’s gender is completely unknown.
During a conversation with Collider, the director talked about how she hid Sylvie’s identity until Episode 2 “The Variant”‘s big disclosure. The interviewer specifically asked her if there was a piece of humor, Easter egg, or scene that should receive more “attention,” and got this response from Herron:
“Just thinking… It’s less than an Easter egg, it’s more just a cool thing we did. So if people go back and watch when the variant Sylvie is in the shadows. I wanted it to be hard to tell what version of Loki it could be, and so we had a female and male stunt double that we interchanged across those scenes. So that could be kind of fun.”
“Yeah, so when Sylvie’s in her hood, that interchanges quite a bit, particularly in the oil field, I think we changed that around quite a bit. I wanted to keep people guessing basically, so they wouldn’t necessarily know it was a female Loki.”
Sylvie had kept her hood on during Episode 1 and most of Episode 2 for the purpose of hiding her identity and true appearance. Episode 2 featured more of the variant’s more “female-looking” scenes: a skinnier overall build indicated the unknown gender of the cloak’s wearer while not explicitly telling us it was Sophia Di Martino all along, but Episode 1’s oil field sequence made it look like it could have been a male variant also as the silhouette didn’t exactly resemble a male or female body. To keep the fans hanging in suspense regarding the mystery variant’s gender, Kate Herron made sure that stunt doubles of both genders would cosplay as Sylvie with her hood on – a great way to keep such an enigmatic character’s true identity unknown, especially since the comics featured both male and female Loki variants – whoever thought of something like that?
Marvel knows how to keep secrets – and Sylvie’s no exception.
Directed by Kate Herron and written by Michael Waldron, Loki stars Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Judge Ravonna Renslayer, Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15, Owen Wilson as Agent Mobius M. Mobius, Sasha Lane as Hunter C-20, and Tara Strong as Miss Minutes. Episodes 1-5 are streaming now on Disney+, with new episodes released every Wednesday!