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Marvel Knights Animation

Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers Episode 3 Postgame

The creators look back at the third episode of Marvel Knights Animation's 'Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers'

By Marc Strom

While Marvel Knights Animation's "Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers" continues to heat up the charts with its third episode on iTunes, Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network, we wanted to look back once again at the latest installment with series producer Ruwan Jayatilleke and Mike Halsey, the co-owner of Magnetic Dreams Studio which brought the animated epic to life.

Download the third episode of "Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers" for iTunes, Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network now, and read the creators' thoughts on the series right here!

"Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers"

Marvel.com: In this episode, we again see some of Loki’s mythological roots as he sees his future. With its more mythological, rather than super heroic, bent, how do you think this series views Loki in a different light?

Ruwan Jayatilleke: The series really portrays Loki as a fallible character. He’s flawed. He has a humanity to him. He’s not just a villain. I am not necessarily sure that ties much to either the Marvel Comics take on him or the Norse mythology view of him.

What the mythological roots do through Magnetic’s amazing animation is show the many different Lokis and many different Thors…all headed to the same conflict and resolution.

Marvel.com: Why do you feel Loki is first so desperate to see his future, then so quick to deny it?

Ruwan Jayatilleke: [I think it] add[s] another layer to his character. Showing his flaws. And really demonstrating he possesses as many “godly” facets as he does “human” ones. His morbid curiosity gets the best of him. Who wouldn’t want to know their destiny or ultimate fate. But when Loki gets news he doesn’t want to hear…he denies, denies, denies…much like any of us would in the same situation. Acceptance is a bitter pill for him to swallow.

Marvel.com: Given that much of the drama in this series revolves around extended conversations such as the one Loki has with Odin in this episode, what were some of the ways you found to keep the story visually interesting during these more quiet moments?

Screenshot of Thor from "Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers"

Mike Halsey: The biggest challenge that this created is that we knew from the beginning that we had to get true performances out of these characters. That type of scene only works with two great actors. Much of the weight of this rested on the voice performances James Snyder was able to get out of the cast, but it was another reason we brought in outside co-director Mark Cowart, who has a history of directing this type of subtle and personal performance. In animation the animators are really actors, key-framing a performance at a snail’s-pace of a few seconds a day. The unknown factor was whether Mark could apply his talents in this format and get natural performances out of a very tedious and unnatural process. Mark ended up shooting and editing many of these sequences with actors to communicate the mood and subtleties he envisioned. The animators were able to broadly mimic these performances and then we were able to go in and very deliberately alter and tweak them for further improvement.
Marvel.com: Speaking of Loki’s conversation with Odin, how would you characterize the relationship between the two and Odin’s view of his adopted son?

Ruwan Jayatilleke: Not a good one. Odin is not winning father of the year. And Loki definitely has many daddy issues.

Screenshot of Loki from "Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers"

In episode one, we see a younger Loki who has discovered that Odin in fact has slayed Loki’s real father and that Odin took him as his own. While Odin saw it as the right thing to do, Loki does not feel the same way--with just cause.

In episode three, we see the beaten warrior in Odin as he sits there and takes Loki’s verbal jabs and barbs as calmly as possible. However Odin, himself, realizes he has failed to raise a son, but instead has raised an enemy within his household.

However through the interaction between Odin and Loki, we see that Loki has some legitimate gripes with Odin and that Odin’s intentions may not have been as innocent as we’d typically believe. For Loki, it really goes full circle back to his assertion that he was brought to Asgard to play a foil to Thor and to make Thor seem greater and more noble than he really is….at least to Loki that is how it seems. It’s one of those open-ended mysteries that I hope Robert and Esad answer in a follow-up comic series by digging into Odin and his intentions.

Marvel.com: The fight between Thor and Loki in the snow that has framed each episode originally appeared only in the third issue of this series—what led you to choose that scene and expand it to the framing device we see in the animated series?

Mike Halsey: This stemmed from some early conversations Ruwan and I had where we intended to work the magnificent covers that Esad Ribic painted into the production in some manner. Our original idea had been to animate each cover as the opening credit sequence for that episode, but we ran into difficulties because using two of the covers in this way undermined the effectiveness of similar moments when they actually occurred in the story. The other two covers were shots of Thor and Loki battling in a snowy environment, so we decided to connect those covers to the battle sequence in episode three. I think it creates a nice surprise when the opening credits suddenly link into the narrative three episodes in.

Marvel.com: What ramifications will this episode’s cliffhanger have for the series’ conclusion?

Ruwan Jayatilleke: Well, Loki’s meeting his mother for the first time. So that just adds another layer of drama to Loki’s story. Can’t say much beyond that. The final chapter to this story still packs quite a wallop and a number of surprises.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for even more on "Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers," and download episodes one and two now on iTunes, XBox LIVE and PlayStation Network!

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