Loki: Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius Has Deep Marvel Roots

Marvel's Loki introduces Owen Wilson's Agent Mobius of the TVA to the MCU, and he's based on a beloved Marvel Comics writer.

Owen Wilson as Mobius in Marvel's Loki
Photo: Marvel Studios

After an extra month of waiting, we’re finally at the fireworks factory that is Marvel’s Loki. Tom Hiddleston returns, using his time-travel cameo in Avengers: Endgame to sidestep the fact that Loki died a heroic death in Avengers: Infinity War. Despite sneaking away with the Tesseract in a revised version of the first Avengers movie, things don’t work out so well for our easily-annoyed villain.

And now…he’s stuck running suicide missions with the Time Variance Authority. What a way for a god to spend his days.

The show seems to be making its way towards a buddy cop route with the addition of Owen Wilson. It’s the kind of casting that has you saying, “Wait, is this Owen Wilson’s first time in one of these? How has it taken so long for Owen Wilson to get a role in a Marvel movie?”

Personally, I wanted him playing Booster Gold years ago, but I’ll take whatever Owen Wilson time traveling live-action comic book character I can get.

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Owen Wilson plays the role of TVA agent Mr. Mobius M. Mobius, faithful to the source by keeping that telltale mustache. But Mobius is more than just a comic character.

The Time Variance Authority was introduced by Walt Simonson in Thor #372 in 1986, but wasn’t fully figured out as a concept until afterwards. Most notably, the group antagonized the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four #352-354. They’re meant to keep time travel under control and prevent paradoxes, but instead of being a rad setup of jacked, soldiers in colorful spandex begging for their own comic series, the TVA is essentially a bunch of boring, cosmic bureaucrats.

While the lowest level employees of the TVA are faceless goons, the middle-management folks are human-looking. In fact, they all look like the same human. More specifically, they’re made to look like Mark Gruenwald, a beloved Marvel writer/artist/editor known for his passion and endless knowledge of detailed Marvel history.

You want to make sense out of the multiverse and timeline malarky? Make a bunch of clones of the guy who can tell you what issue Luke Cage fought Mr. Fish without having to look it up. He was the guy writing The Official Marvel Handbook of the Universe and he was celebrated for being that guy.

Gruenwald was a major asset to Marvel back in the ’80s and ’90s. His lengthy run on Captain America gave us US Agent, Crossbones, Diamondback, and that amazing sequence where Magneto captured Red Skull and left him to die in a bunker. He also wrote Squadron Supreme, where he put together a deconstructing take on Marvel’s Justice League knockoff team, acting as Marvel’s contribution to the Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen vibes growing in ’80s comics.

He also did a 5-year run on Quasar, notably doing a weird issue where – taking place sometime after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths – a blonde speedster in tattered, red tights showed up in Marvel and could only remember that his name sounded something like “Buried Alien.”

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Dude was awesome, is what I’m saying.

Sadly, Gruenwald died in 1996 due to a heart attack. He remains beloved in the industry and lives on whenever the weirdos in the TVA show up to try and put a cage around the chaos. They usually fail, but the effort is there.

Mr. Mobius is just another one of his in-universe clones, but one that got promoted above his genetic equals. Not that he’s the man on top. No, that’s Mr. Alternity, who was based on editor Tom Brevoort.

Now, as it is right now, there’s only one Mobius. We’ve seen plenty of employees at the TVA and only one of them is Owen Wilson. At least for now.

The thing is, I wouldn’t expect the TVA to be all the same once the season is over. For an organization dedicated to making sure there are no alternate timelines, it’s suspiciously getting a spotlight before we get an animated series about alternate realities, a Spider-Man movie about alternate realities, and a Dr. Strange movie about alternate realities. Not to mention we recently had another Spider-Man movie with the fakeout based around alternate realities.

The TVA comes off as rather callous and may indeed deserve what’s coming to them. Mobius, on the other hand, currently comes off as a pretty good dude. He’s kind to children and he shows compassion to Loki. Maybe, in the end, the answer is to recreate the TVA so we get nothing but Mobius.

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Think of it. A full organization of Owen Wilsons. All of them saying, “Wow!” over each other. That’s a Loki trick I can get behind.

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Marvel’s Loki airs every Wednesday on Disney+.