The DNA of Dune, Jurassic Park, and Felix the Cat all went into the timeless aesthetic of the Time Variance Authority, the celestial law enforcement organization in Loki, the latest Marvel Studios show to hit Disney Plus.
That’s according to Kate Herron, the show’s director. “I wanted the show to be like a big love letter to sci-fi,” she told Polygon via Zoom.
Many viewers immediately noticed the Brutalist architecture and dystopian vibes of Loki when it premiered on Disney Plus this week and linked it to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil — but to Herron, that was just the beginning. Rounding out the design of the Time Variance Authority involved a multitude of science fiction inspirations, all from different eras. “The font on the computers was inspired by Alien. The time doors you see are inspired by Dune,” Herren rattled off items. Miss Minutes? Loki’s own Mister DNA from Jurassic Park.
“I thought it’d be fun to have this of mix of Brutalist architecture and Midwest architecture,” she said. “With Midwest, you’ve got this really heroic, classy vibe to it because the TVA is very heroic, but the Brutalist architecture is — they’re working for the Time-keepers who are these kind of godlike overseers at the timeline. So it felt like a really nice marriage to me of styles.”
Her other goal was to give a time-traveling bureaucracy a timeless feel.
“I used to work in a lot of offices as a temp before I was a filmmaker, and I remember, the computers were just old, they were archaic. And I was like, ‘How is this still functioning in an office?’ but they’d be like, ‘Look, it ain’t broke. So we’re not replacing it.’ It sparked something in my head, and when I pitched to the studio, I was like, ‘I think it’d be cool to have — we’ve seen in sci-fi, in the golden age of comics — retro-futuristic tech.’ But I just thought it’d be fun; the idea that these people at the top of the tree, maybe their technology isn’t super futuristic-looking, maybe it is more in the world of Brazil, and it’s these older computers.”
“Kasra [Farahani] and our production design,” she continued, “[worked so that] you can’t place these places in time.”
After all, if the Time Variance Authority polices all of time, why would their offices be from any single era?