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You are a toy! How ‘Loki’ found the God of Mischief's key story arc in Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear

By Josh Weiss
Loki Buzz Lightyear

To infinity and beyond! SYFY WIRE has a friend in Loki head writer/executive producer Michael Waldron, who recently sat down with us to discuss his time-traveling MCU series.

When our discussion turned to the subject of creative influences, Waldron says he drew from "all sorts of stuff" like Maniac, David Fincher (i.e., S7ven and Zodiac), and The Silence of the Lambs for the show's police procedural elements. That all tracks, especially for the bits where Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) attempt to track down a dangerous and elusive variant of the mischievous god (played by Sophia Di Martino). "Anything good, it felt like maybe there was something to rip off in it," the writer continues.

After paying reverence to some of the best crime and serial killer movies ever made, Waldron throws us a curveball when he lumps Pixar's Toy Story in with the incredibly dark nihilism of Fincher and Hannibal Lecter.

It sounds rather odd, but let him explain.

"That was a discovery on Day 1 of the writers’ room," he says. "Loki watching the way his life is supposed to play out and realizing that his 'glorious purpose' is, in fact, just to be strangled to death by Thanos. [In] our writers’ room, we always said that felt like Buzz Lightyear learning [he’s] just a toy. You are, in fact, a toy laying on the ground with [your] arm broken off."

Buzz Lightyear Toy Story

Loki receives yet another painful wallop to the existential gut when he attempts to recover the Tesseract, only to discover that the Infinity Stones mean absolutely nothing to the Time Variance Authority, whose employees uses the objects as paper weights (shoutout Casey).

"We always knew was a very formidable entity in the world of the MCU," Waldron says of the TVA. "And what greater way to showcase that — especially to a character like Loki, somebody who has coveted the Infinity Stones so much throughout his time in the MCU — that was just a really exciting way to say, ‘Hey, these guys mean business.’"

Realizing that his whole life has essentially been meaningless, Loki adopts a new purpose: to overthrow the omnipotent Time-Keepers and assume control of the TVA and all of the multiverse. We admire the ambition, but have a nagging suspicion that a pathological liar with a literal god complex probably wouldn't be the best person to run all of reality.

Tom Hiddleston on Loki's Gender Fluidity

Moreover, Hiddleston isn't the only MCU vet with a direct link to Buzz Lightyear. The same day Loki dropped its first teaser trailer last winter, Disney announced that Chris Evans would voice the character in a Pixar origin flick about the intrepid space ranger.

The first two episodes of Loki are now available to stream on Disney+. Episode 3 premieres on the platform next Wednesday, June 23. For SYFY WIRE's official recaps thus far, click here and here.