One of the unexpected joys of Loki has been seeing the Time Variance Authority's animated mascot, Miss Minutes, popping in and out of the series with a heady dose of Southern charm. She lays out the purpose of the TVA in the premiere, but goes on to appear to Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in semi-sentient ways as the series moves forward.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t cast just anyone in the role, they went with a legend. If you throw a rock at IMDb, chances are you’ll hit something that Tara Strong has been in. She’s a DC veteran (Raven on Teen Titans, Harley Quinn in multiple projects, etc.), a Marvel veteran (the animated Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers Assemble, Marvel Rising, etc.), and has also appeared in Rick & Morty, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, The Powerpuff Girls, and Family Guy, to name just a few. Perhaps you caught her voicing Sunny in A Series of Unfortunate Events?
SYFY WIRE caught up with Strong before the Loki finale to discuss how her performance as Miss Minutes developed, how much Miss Minutes actually knows, and more.
At what point in the Loki process did you get involved?
The Loki series was completely finished filming by the time I came on board, which was great because I got to watch all the action unfold as I was doing it, as if I were really shooting with them. If I had to go first, it would be much more challenging. To play off Tom Hiddleston was so much fun.
Did they have any ideas on what direction they wanted you to take Miss Minutes, or was it more like, "She's Tara Strong, we're going to stay out of her way?"
When you have an audition for an animated character, they'll give you a drawing of the character, a character bio — something about their world. And the more information I get, the more I can feed that into developing a character. It is a very collaborative process generally by the callback stage. The director, the writer will put in some ideas, and then you come up with the perfect voice for this character. And that was not the case for Loki.
I didn't even know it was for Loki, I didn't know who Miss Minutes was. There wasn't a visual, it was kind of limited information. I just knew they wanted something like a Siri voice but more human. Then they said to play around with an accent, which I got to do. And then, when I started working with Kate [Herron], who has such incredible vision on every single part of this process, we collaborated and came up with this sort of Southern belle that can say horrible things with a smile on her face. And it's such an extraordinary, fun character. It's definitely unique. I've never seen or done anything quite like her.
In the premiere, she gives a whole spiel as to what's going on, or what we think is going on. We've now found out that most of that is not necessarily true. Is she aware of that and is faking it, or is she as clueless as everyone else?
I think that's a great question, and I think there's more to be revealed about how much she really knows, and obviously, you'll have to wait for the finale. But that's a great question because even in the audition, I was like, "Is she sentient? Is she this?" And along with the Marvel imagination of how it all works, a lot of that is still to be discovered. And looking at it, it's very easy to say, "Oh, maybe she's the ultimate being behind all this," or "Maybe she knows more about this," but it's really a play-as-you-go kind of thing. But she's certainly more knowledgeable than in the first episode, she seems to be a lot more sentient than in the first episode. In the first episode, you think it's just a video, and then of course she comes to life and hangs out on Tom's desk. So [there's] more to be revealed as she goes, for sure.
Because she's been such a hit with fans do you think there's a life for Miss Minutes outside of this series?
Of course, Miss Minutes definitely needs her own series! I am so excited to see all the fans cosplaying her at cons. There's already been some incredible art. I'm so grateful that the fans have fallen in love with her, and they did before the show even aired. There were a bunch of videos made with the trailer and people saying, "That's Tara Strong, that's Tara Strong." And you never know with an animated character that's part of such a huge franchise. Or even in something on camera, you don't know how the fans are going to respond. So I can't say how grateful I am that the fans love her and have warmed up to her. She's rapidly become one of my favorite characters I've ever done.
She would get along really well with Mr. D.N.A. from Jurassic Park.
Everybody talks about that online, and some artists, forgive me for not knowing [their names], did a really cute picture of the two of us together as a couple or something. People made that comparison pretty quickly.
If you had your choice for her to be involved in any of the many upcoming MCU projects, is there any particular one that you'd really love to be a part of?
That's a good question. I mean, anything in the MCU, it's such an honor to be a part of it. I've been in the animated world for so long, but to join this cinematic universe is just incredible. And I think she's the kind of character that could maybe now she's working for this person or that person, and she could change, and morph, and her whole character dynamic could go into a million different directions. I mean, sky's the limit for Miss Minutes, so it'd be fun to see her alongside other heroes, or villains, or whatever people perceive them to be.
In terms of your entire body of work, which is enormous at this point, you've already done several Marvel animated projects, and DC, you name it. This is probably an impossible question, but Miss Minutes aside, is there another character that stands out as being very special to you?
You know, there's so many. I always say that my favorite job I ever did was The Little Mermaid II, because I was such a big fan of the original and I used to run around impersonating her. So to get in the studio and sing with Jodi Benson, and then they drew my face and animated her onto this mermaid. So that was a very, very special time in my life. But I don't know what horseshoe I was born under, but to get to play Harley and Batgirl... Batgirl I worked alongside Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy. The Powerpuff Girls was so fun, The Fairly OddParents was so fun. And Raven, she's so important, she's just saved so many lives. When I meet kids at cons, they say, "Raven got me through my parents' divorce or depression," or, "I thought I was alone till I met her." I just feel very blessed to have been a conduit for these characters, to bring them to people. And I take that responsibility pretty seriously. I love meeting fans at cons and interacting with them on social. It's really beautiful.
Loki finishes up a season of mischief on Disney+ this Wednesday.