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Natalie Holt has had a busy 12 months that included landing two Emmy nominations for Loki, working with idol John Williams on Obi-Wan Kenobi and meeting with Danny Elfman in preparation for her work on HBO Max’s now-canceled Batgirl film. But when Holt began her journey on Loki, all of those things seemed rather unimaginable.
Loki came to Holt in 2020 while she was stuck at home in the U.K. in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. During the day, the single parent would help her daughter with school work, while dreaming up music for the show that stars Tom Hiddleston as Marvel’s God of Mischief (and is now filming a second season).
Among the signature pieces of Loki music is the Main Title theme, which came to Holt as she was walking down the street. The composer sang it into her phone in a moment that changed how director Kate Herron and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige envisioned the show’s opening moments.
“Kate and Kevin weren’t going to have a title sequence, but the theme basically inspired them to try one, and it ended up sticking for a Main Title,” Holt tells The Hollywood Reporter.
The Main Title is now nominated for an Emmy, as is Holt’s work on the first episode, “Glorious Purpose.”
Among the big twists of Loki is the late-game reveal that He Who Remains, played by Marvel newcomer Jonathan Majors, was behind the machinations of the series. Majors is poised to be a major force in the MCU, with his character, Kang, due to be the villain of next year
s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Kang is even the namesake of a 2025 Avengers film (The Kang Dynasty).
Holt was working on episode one when Herron asked her to take a look at footage from episode six, which introduced Majors’ character. The dailies were a revelation for the composer, who realized that the theme for the Time Variance Authority, the bureaucratic entity at the heart of the show, should actually belong to He Who Remains.
“He’s in control of the TVA. He’s pulling the strings the whole time. So the TVA theme I established is actually his,” says Holt. “That becomes clear in the last moments of episode six, where he’s taken over from the Time Keepers. You hear a massive, choral version of the theme.”
Holt’s time on Loki ended up paying dividends. Batgirl filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah liked her Loki work and hired her for the HBO Max film, which included an appearance from Michael Keaton, who last played Batman 30 years ago in 1992’s Batman Returns. Holt knew she wanted to honor composer Elfman’s Batman work in Batgirl and sought out a meeting.
“I wanted to use his original  Batman theme for Michael, to keep that continuity going,” says Holt. “Danny Elfman had given me his blessing.”
Batgirl made worldwide headlines Aug. 2 when Warner Bros. announced the film had been unceremoniously dropped. Says Holt: “There has been quite a lot of support for the project. It’s just nice for us all who put so much time into it, to know that people care.”
Just days after learning Batgirl was shelved, Holt was back hard at work on Loki, where she is beginning season two and is preparing for the launch of a vinyl of season one’s score, to be released by the collectibles company Mondo. And while she never met her Loki collaborators in person until after the first season wrapped, Holt recently got to perform a sampling of songs with a quartet. In a full circle moment, Holt’s other recent show, Obi-Wan Kenobi, collided with her Loki world on that recent live performance.
Says Holt: “Some of the musicians playing with me are musicians who played on the Obi-Wan Kenobi score. I turned up at the session and I saw my friends.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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