Both Loki and Rick and Morty are high-concept sci-fi comedies written by the same writer/showrunner.
We are over halfway finished with Loki season one, which thus far, has been nothing shy of a wild ride. But for any fans of science fiction comedies driven by narcissistic megalomaniacs, it should come as no surprise, that Disney Plus’s Loki takes a lot of cues from the popular Adult Swim cartoon Rick and Morty.
Much of this is due to Loki showrunner Michael Waldron, who has not only written for Rick and Morty but was also groomed to take over as the series showrunner for a time. After following both series this season, I noticed a lot of similarities between both series, and speak with confidence not just as someone who has extensively studied Dan Harmon’s writing style as shown here at The Workprint, but also, as someone who has written his own Rick and Morty spec script and posted it online for free for anybody to read.
Full Copy: Battlefield Rick
I say without a doubt that Loki is in so many ways, Marvel’s live-action Rick and Morty. Let’s go over seven of the biggest reasons why below. Fair warning: spoilers ahead for both series and everything up to Loki season 1 episode 4.
The Time Police
Early in the first episode of Loki, we meet Hunter B-15 in a funny opening scene set at 1/16th speed, that involves a face-fat rippling slowbash onto Loki’s face. A very confident and badass TVA agent, B-15 is the officer first on the scene who is set to reset the timeline and prune any uncooperative variants (such as Loki) with her baton.
In Rick and Morty’s episode A Rickle In Time we meet the Shleemypants. A testicle-looking alien played by Keegan Michael Key, who is dispatched in order to restore the fragmented timeline. And just like the TVA, the time cops can use time crystals, which also feature the ability to manipulate time however they please.
The Disney+ Loki series begins when the Loki variant witnessed in Endgame, finds himself using the Tesseract in order to escape before being captured, and later recruited, by the TVA. All in order to hunt for a rogue Loki.
To Rick and Morty fans this should sound familiar. Because this is the same plot as the penultimate episode of the first season ‘Close Rick-counters Of The Rick Kind‘. Where a rogue Rick is found to be exterminating other Ricks, leading the original Rick and Morty on an adventure to find him.
The Narcissistic Protagonist
On one end we have Loki. The god of mischief and frequent headache amongst the Asgardians. Backstabber, conqueror, and overall selfish anti-hero that’s sometimes reluctantly good, Loki is chaotic, to say the least, and one who often thinks he is the smartest person in the room. Obsessing over petty being right about things as seen via Moebius. Though he does care deeply about his family in the end.
On the other end, we have Rick Sanchez. A man who is basically a God in the sense that he’s the smartest person in the universe. A frequent headache amongst all the alien races, Rick is a narcissist and a well-known backstabber, all in the name of science (and greed). He also loves being right about things, and even more so, loves rubbing it in the face of his family. Whom he also cares deeply about as seen throughout the series.
Here’s one that surprisingly no one has called out. In Loki, we see a lot of portals being used. Doorways that open to different pocket dimensions and different areas of time and space. We’ve seen it used to transport into different apocalypses throughout history, and even seen it create realities of infinite nut-busting time loops.
In Rick and Morty, Rick’s portal gun does works in the absolute same way but better (I’m sure there’s an infinite nut-busting reality Rick knows about somewhere). It can also bring literally anything through it, often in weirdly funny ways. However, it has been on record that the showrunners have chosen not to mess much with time travel and portals much. Mostly, because of the headache involved. Though the technology is there if they wanted it.
The TVA Office/The Citadel
In Loki, the TVA head office is a place beyond time and space where even the infinity stones are powerless. It was created in response to a war between the other universes that almost ended all of existence, leading to the need for an organizational entity such as the Time Variance Authority to maintain the peace (or so we are led to believe). Led by the all-knowing Time-Keepers, the TVA’s goal is in many ways, ultimate bureaucratic authority, all in order to preserve the one sacred timeline.
In Rick and Morty, the Citadel of Ricks serves almost a similar function in that it’s the penultimate bureaucratic authority in the universe run by the multiverse’s smartest men (Ricks). The Citadel, just like Rick, is capable of just about anything. However, the Citadel was created by Ricks to preserve the most sacred thing in the universe: himself, along with the existence of all other Ricks across the multiverse – whose crimes committed across the universe have left Ricks wanted across the galaxy.
The Secret Ruler Of The Time Keepers/The Council Of Ricks
There is an innate hierarchy in both series. The Time-Keepers in Loki are meant to be otherworldly beings lauded as the leaders meant to preserve the sacred timeline. They are mysterious leaders who stand above other ‘variants’ and agents of the TVA. At least, until it’s revealed that they’re robots. Though who is pulling the strings we’ve yet to find out.
Similarly, the Council Of Ricks are the ones at the top of the Citadel’s lauded hierarchy. Yet, the ones who lead the Citadel are also more or less a puppet government as well, as learned from the acclaimed episode, Tales From The Citadel. The organization is run by a shadow council… which is now, in turn, run by Evil Morty.
The Multiple Loki’s/Rick’s/Mortys
This is probably the biggest callback of all. In Rick and Morty there is a lot of fun to be had with the idea of multiple Ricks and Mortys throughout the known universes. There is even a Pokemon-themed mobile game known as Pocket Mortys and different altering backstories for all the numerous iterations of Rick and Morty.
In Loki, we finally see a hint of this featured in this week’s stinger. Where Loki, wakes to find himself amongst a series of other Lokis. In what’s promising to be a fun multiverse story. All beckoning the question: Why?
And that’s the big seven. Notice any more similarities between Loki and Rick and Morty? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts as well.