Loki came out this week.
And, as a man who fully expected to hate that show, I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed the first episode.
Will I enjoy all six episodes? Who knows. Can I emphatically say that its theme song is one of the best OST themes I’ve heard in a long, long time? Yes. Natalie Holt is my new hero.
But this isn’t a post about Natalie Holt. It’s a post about what I think Loki and shows like it might bring to the fiction table.
And, again, to clarify, that’s a might; I am not Publishers Weekly, nor am I an agent keen on trends.
All I want to do here today, with you, is wonder . . . if Loki is the beginning of what I’m labeling “the megapremise.”
What Is the Megapremise?
The best way to explain is to start with Loki.
Loki is a TV show about the Norse god, Loki. A version of him who invaded modern-day Earth, was defeated by superheroes, and stole back a magical cube that teleported him backward in time. Because of this, he’s arrested by a bunch of time police who proceed to show him his life, (light spoilers) including his own death. (/light spoilers)
(not so light spoilers) As a result, he decides to join the time police to help capture . . . another, presumably evil version of himself. (/not so light spoilers)
With or without spoilers, that premise is just wild.
And so is the premise that (seriously, get this) a super-powered witch, whose husband—an android—died, is inexplicably living in a sitcom where her android husband is alive again.
These premises are ridiculous—in the best way. They are, in my opinion, when Marvel is at their best these days.
And they’re also what I think of as megapremises; story ideas that are so weirdly specific and bizarre that there is nothing else like them. Premises so strange and unique to certain characters that it isn’t even possible to duplicate them (i.e. Loki would not be the same show without Marvel’s Loki, and—even worse—WandaVision would not be the same show without MCU Wanda and Vision).
And these megapremises . . . might be the future?
Because They Aren’t An Inherently Marvel Thing
It seems like they are (especially with how I defined them).
It seems like you just couldn’t write a story like Loki without ten years of build-up.
But I don’t think that’s actually true.
Creating a megapremise is easy for Marvel because they have well established characters with that decade of continuity. Every new story builds on that, so something like Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t just a movie about a space-faring team of misfits—it’s a movie about a space-faring team of misfits that ties into the special rocks a big purple man is after so he can kill half of the universe.
But—and if I’m saying anything with this post, it’s this—you can just create a megapremise. With totally new characters you made up, put into as bizarre and specific of a situation as you can possibly imagine. Everything can be explained in-story, and none of it actually requires the excess foundation new Marvel movies have (i.e. if you write a story about literal aliens pretending to be human in a small town, learning comparatively intense human emotions while slowly getting enveloped in the town’s mania [because I’ve decided they unwittingly landed in a cult town and this is a horror story now], you don’t need it to take place in the same continuity with any of your other stories).
What I’m saying here is, seriously, we can just write crazy shit like Loki.
And, I mean . . . am I weird, or is that the most exciting fucking thing ever?
You don’t have to write a normal procedural cop drama with a twist—that your partner is a demon or whatever. You can write a story about—I dunno—a law enforcement group that’s just been newly established at the center of the Earth, which humanity has only just discovered.
You don’t have to write a fantasy adventure about a group of adventurers on a quest to save the king. You can write about a—whoa-a-a-a-a-a I’m not sharing the idea I just thought of. It’s too cool. I’m actually writing that one.
Fuck—now I have to make up another example.
You can write a story about a group of aliens questing through a dangerous planet full of weird, thin, green trees and giant insects. A planet that is obviously Earth, where they search for their dying king, who fled here—I dunno.
Essentially, you can make your stories all-the-way weird and unique.
To reel myself in a bit here, yes, I am totally aware that some writers already do this. You, who’s reading this, possibly already live and breathe premises that would blow the minds of us normies.
But if you don’t . . . maybe try to make a weird, totally-out-there story just to see if it’s a good fit?
Because even if this isn’t going to become a real trend . . .
. . . it’s still incredibly fun to try to make up the weirdest, least standard premise you possibly can.
And, besides . . . I think I want the future where a new movie is like, “Meet Gary, a sentient planet who’s looking for love!” or whatever.
And, real talk, I am definitely writing that story idea I got in the middle of this post. Seriously, if anything, know that I am amazingly pumped for that, and maybe you will be too if you settle on a beyond-strange idea you really like.
And I hope you do. Because we all deserve to have at least one really bizarre idea that we’re working on for nobody but ourselves.
Okay. I am calling it here because it’s 4AM and I am about to pass out.
If you enjoyed this post, I try to get posts out every Sunday. Today, this post came out late because my weekend was weirdly busy. I will admit that part of it was a long D&D session, but you can’t be mad, because I played a Warforged Fighter who was a mix between Robocop and a Terminator. His name was Silver and I accidentally min-maxed the shit out of him, so he was an absolute monster that didn’t get scratched once. Anyway, if you liked this post, please drop a Like or consider giving my blog a follow.
Last update here: I am at the end of my outline for Memory, my current WIP. I finished my Tally Run and I’m outlining the finale now. I just wanted to stay honest about that on here. Which I will continue to do next week.
Until then, take care, and always remember that ice tea that you brew yourself, with tea bags, is infinitely better than powder mix ice teas. Seriously, there’s no contest; brew those bags, put them in water with a little sugar, pour them over ice—so good.