Michael Waldron cites “Mad Men” as his all-time favorite television show, so it’s no surprise that “Loki” is borrowing from it thematically, particularly when it comes to getting to the heart of its protagonist. “‘Mad Men’ is about characters becoming aware of who they are,” Waldron told Vanity Fair. “Don Draper gained an awareness of how he was broken and why.” Draper (Jon Hamm), of course, managed to self-actualize without hijacking an airplane and throwing himself out of it, though speculation was rife that the final season’s endgame would see the ad man take on the identity of the infamous D.B. Cooper, which Loki appears to in the trailer for his series.
One way “Mad Men” would do this would be by throwing figures from Dick Whitman’s –– and the original Don Draper’s –– past at the man whose life was split between the two identities. But in “Loki’s” story, the incorporation of time travel means the past doesn’t have to come to Loki; he can go to it. “You can literally hold up a mirror to your characters,” Waldron said. “Perhaps they can encounter other versions of themselves at different points in their lives.” Waldron points to the example of “Back to the Future,” where Marty McFly gains a deeper understanding of himself and where he came from by meeting and interacting with his parents as teenagers.