Like his Marvel Studios character Loki, actor Tom Hiddleston is really good at guarding his secrets.
In a new interview with MTV Hiddleston, 38, says he found out that Loki would be getting his own spin-off TV series on Disney+ “about six weeks before the worldwide release of Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018, which means he managed to keep shtum for around 6 or 7 months.
He also found out that Loki would be killed in Infinity War “three years ago” when directors Joe and Anthony Russo pitched the opening scene of the third Avengers film to him after he met with producer Kevin Feige to talk about Thor: Ragnarok.
At that point, he says his character’s death was considered final, and Loki’s subsequent return in Avengers: Endgame and the forthcoming Disney+ series had not been mapped out.
“I don’t think [the Russos] had that figured out at that point,” Hiddleston explains to MTV’s Josh Horowitz while promoting his new Broadway play Betrayal.
Read more: Everything you need to know about Loki
However, he says Loki’s journey in the MCU definitively ends when Thanos kills him in Infinity War, and that everything that comes after that will be set in the past.
“I knew about the Endgame [cameo when I filmed Infinity War], but in terms of Loki’s journey, the arc was complete at the beginning of Infinity War, and it was very emotional.”
Avengers: Infinity War hit cinemas in April 2018, which means Hiddleston found out about his Disney+ series in February or March that same year. The first rumblings of Loki’s spin-off broke in September 2018, which means the actor hung on to his secret for months, despite doing a worldwide press tour for Infinity War, where he told reporters that his time as Loki was over.
He says shooting Loki’s final scenes for Infinity War in 2017 with Josh Brolin as Thanos were “emotional”.
“Josh Brolin was really sweet. He was like ‘I’m sorry, man’. And Joe and Anthony [Russo] were like ‘This is really momentous. This is how we’re opening this film, and this is the end of Loki.’ And when I shot it I thought that was absolutely the last time I would play the character.”
Disney+’s Loki will shoot in 2020 for launch in 2021, with HarmonQuest writer Michael Waldron acting as showrunner for the series. Hiddleston says there’s humour in the show and it tackles the character at an earlier point in his redemption arc, while he’s at peak mischievousness circa Avengers Assemble in 2012.
It’ll pick up Loki’s story after the events of Endgame’s 2012-set Time Heist sequence that saw the character stealing an Infinity Stone and scarpering into the ether.
Read more: MCU to expand into TV
"I know this character now," Hiddleston said. "I feel that the audience knows him. And playing him truthfully, but presenting him with new challenges, when then I'd have to change him in different ways, is the most exciting aspect of it.
"You've got his very specific gifts: his intelligence, treachery, his mischief, his magic, and then seeing him come up against more formidable opponents, the like of which he has never seen or known."
Disney+ is due to launch in America later this year. A U.K. launch date remains TBC.