‘Loki’: The Truth About Judge Renslayer and Miss Minutes
"Peace out. Bye. Free will!"
All along, something has been a little off with both Judge Renslayer and Miss Minutes, two women (well okay, one woman and one not-recording, not-real clock) at the top of the Time Variance Authority food chain. But just what exactly was off? Renslayer seemed to know more than she was letting on, and Miss Minutes appeared to be game to go along with everything. However, it turns out this scenario is actually reversed — Miss Minutes is the one with all the information and Renslayer has just been blindly following the TVA and its mission this whole time.
As the first season of Marvel Studios’ Loki comes to a close, the truth finally comes out about both of them along with what they do and don’t know, and who they do and don’t know.
“It was fun to start off with everything being sort of very orderly and black and white for Renslayer,” Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who plays the TVA judge, tells Marvel.com. “And then as her reality begins to crumble, we were discovering that alongside [her]… It's a lot for her to take on, and she gets sort of more desperate, and the stakes just get higher and higher for her.”
Renslayer started as a hunter for the bureaucratic organization, and worked her way up to becoming a judge. Even though she’s in a position of power, even she was unaware the Time Keepers were nothing more than robotic puppets for someone else. Considering she’s spent her whole life at the TVA blindly working towards keeping the Sacred Timeline secure, these reveals are a lot for her to swallow.
But, through all of this, she still believes she’s on the right side of the TVA’s history.
“She has the making of a very complex villain that has her own set of principles and beliefs that drive her,” head writer Michael Waldron explains. “She doesn't believe that what she's doing is evil. She believes that the mission is for greater good, and Renslayer probably wishes that she never learned that the Time Keepers were fake, that they had just been able to keep doing this forever.”
Everything bubbles to the surface, not just for Renslayer, but for everyone at the TVA, when a plan is hatched to go see Renslayer on the Sacred Timeline, as the non-variant. This revelation — led by Hunter B-15 — will certainly raise a lot more questions than there are answers for. Realizing what’s at stake, Renslayer decides to flee.
“She's the good soldier of the TVA, just a disciple to the bureaucracy,” Waldron continues. “Then it's revealed to be a lie to her. Instead of that galvanizing her and making her question her life's purpose, the way it did with Mobius, Renslayer wants to stay in power. She reacts more in anger.”
“The idea that pretty much everyone in the TVA is a variant, and that there are other variants of Renslayer in different times, that was kind of mind blowing to me,” Mbatha-Raw continues. “We just dipped our toe into [this] at the end of the show. But you realize that the Multiverse just is so epic. The possibilities are endless. There's so much potential for what's on the other side of that Time Door. And ultimately, she wants revenge with whoever put this whole facade together.”
As for her parting thoughts as she disappears to parts unknown, “She's [thinking], ‘Peace out. Bye. Free will!’” Mbatha-Raw says with a laugh.
“She wants to [find] who pulled the wool over her eyes. That's what she's going to go out in search of,” Waldron adds. But in regards to her destination? Waldron isn’t saying. “She is a scary customer to be out there in the Multiverse. So we'll see what happens."
Someone who doesn’t desert her post so quickly is Miss Minutes. By the time we reach Episode 6, it’s clear that she’s been in on the TVA charade this whole time. Not only is she feeding selected information to Renslayer, but she’s in cahoots with the man behind the curtain himself, He Who Remains.
At the beginning of the series, Miss Minutes appears as a fun, bubbly character who simply delivers a huge dump of exposition. But what’s a not-recording, not-real clock supposed to do after that? While the character is certainly a fan-favorite, she was also beloved by the Loki creative team, and there was a desire to keep her around through the whole season. So, why not pair her up with the man in charge of it all?
“Early on in the scripts, we all were definitely united on, ‘We've got to keep Miss Minutes in the story somehow,’” director Kate Herron tells Marvel.com.
“She was a really fun way to deliver some pretty heady exposition,” head writer Michael Waldron adds. “There's something sing-songy and sort of non-threatening about [the way she talks]. But yet, when it turns, and when she becomes evil, suddenly it's really scary.
Eventually, it was decided that Miss Minutes should be “that devil on the shoulder and trying to tempt both Loki and Sylvie,” Herron adds. “It was fun that you got a sense of there's something a bit more sinister going on here with her. We always had a version where [Loki and Sylvie] kept meeting her at the Citadel. At one point, we had a fight scene with Miss Minutes in the Citadel; we had all kinds of stuff [for her].”
But still, it’s not actually Miss Minutes calling the shots. It’s He Who Remains, someone Miss Minutes has been in contact with this whole time, unbeknownst to everyone else. This big, omnipresent character showing up at the end was always in the script, but his deeper relationship with Miss Minutes actually came out of the break when the series was shut down for the pandemic.
“I liked the idea [that he’s] someone who's living [alone],” Herron continues. “In a weird way, it almost connected with me a bit during the lockdown because I was living on my own for four months like a lighthouse keeper. I was editing the show and probably going a bit strange, and I was just talking to my dog all the time. And maybe that's what it's like with Miss Minutes. Maybe [He Who Remains] just talks to Miss Minutes, and that's it.”
Stepping in to voice everyone’s favorite little orange timekeeper is Tara Strong, who had an unusual way of recording lines. Instead of things being done in pre-production or even slotted in later, Strong actually watched the episodes via video chat and record lines as she watched and reacted in real time to things, often times giving a dozen of different line readings for each line of dialogue. That also helped everyone figure out just how “bad” Miss Minutes could get.
“It was so fun, because I didn't know we were going to go there,” Strong explains. “So initially, [the character is] exposition. It's explaining what happens to you with a little bit of attitude and this little cutesy stuff, even though there's very dire things happening. And then you see that she actually does have a horse in this race, you see that she actually may be sentient, may care about what's happening. She becomes angry, feels real human emotion, and then you start to wonder, ‘Oh my god, who is she? And how does she have access? How is she there at the end? How does she relate to the Time Keepers?’”
Strong had a blast voicing Miss Minutes, slowly going from cheerful and happy to absolutely furious that Loki and Sylvie have shown up at the Citadel at the End of Time. Describing Miss Minutes’ relationship to He Who Remains as “protective,” Strong understands “how important her role is and how important it is to the universe. Any wrong move, and life itself ceases to exist.”
“As the onion of this time clock is peeled away, it becomes more intriguing who she really is,” Strong continues. “It was so much fun to play her angry after starting at this place of very cute and cautious of how much you know about her, to finally let her emotions really come out and be furious that Loki’s messed up the timeline so much, and she's so angry about it. It's just fun to unleash and play her to this next level in this maximum capacity.”
All six episodes from the first season of Marvel Studios’ Loki are now streaming exclusively on Disney+. Loki will return in Season 2.
This is just the beginning of the Phase 4 news. Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more details and sign up for Disney+ and start streaming now! And be sure to follow Disney+ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more.
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