Ke Huy Quan Talks Drawing from Personal Experience to Play “Loki” Season 2 Standout Ouroboros

Ke Huy Quan was driving when he got a call from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige two years ago. Having just seen Quan’s (eventually Oscar-winning) turn in the record-breaking A24 epic Everything Everywhere All At Once, Feige — with whom Quan had crossed paths on 2000’s X-Men, working as assistant action choreographer in his first job out of college — offered him the role of the quirky, diligent Ouroboros on Loki Season 2.

“He spent a long time talking about how great that movie is, said some really flattering things about my performance, which got me really emotional … My eyes were watering, and I couldn’t see where I was going,” Quan recounted in an interview with The Credits.

The Academy Award winner, who made his feature film debut as a child actor in 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, burst back onto the scene in 2022, sweeping awards season with his supporting role in the Michelle Yeoh action-dramedy vehicle. Having been a longtime fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its inaugural Iron Man, Quan said that joining the franchise occupied the highest spot on his wish list since his return to acting.

Ke Huy Quan as O.B. in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, Season 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

“Every time [Feige and I] talked about X-Men or any Marvel characters, he would always have this big smile on his face, and he was really energetic and very enthusiastic, talking about this universe. So, little did I know that I would have to wait only 22 years to work with him,” Quan said, chuckling.

A month or so later, Quan was flown out to London, where he would join Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson on set at Pinewood Studios. “I remember that meeting vividly,” he said. “Even though I was meeting them for the first time, [I’d] seen the show and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki on the screens for so many years, so instantly I felt there was this connection I had with them, so I couldn’t help but [jump] up and [give] them a big hug. I think I scared them, but that was how enthusiastic I was about joining not only the MCU but also the Loki family.”


Like many viewers, Quan devoured the first season of Loki on Disney+ amid the pandemic and thought it was “one of the best television shows ever.” His casting as O.B. was the first he didn’t have to audition for, and Quan said he felt somewhat daunted stepping into the role, excited as he was, because of the responsibility he felt to the series’ creatives and fans. Quan felt the pressure at the reading rehearsal — which he had never partaken in before — on his first set day.

“I was, like, jumping over the lines. My line reading was really clunky. It was bad,” he said. “And I told them I was so embarrassed, and I said, ‘Tom, oh my God, I’m sorry, I’m not prepared for this, but I promise you I will be.’ And on the first day of shooting — after the first shot — Tom came up to me and [said], ‘Ke, that was incredible.’ Hearing it from him, because he is Loki and that’s his show, and getting that encouragement from Tom meant the world to me. I had the most amazing time.”

(L-R): Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15, Owen Wilson as Mobius, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Eugene Cordero as Casey, and Ke Huy Quan as O.B. in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, Season 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

O.B. is a devoted Time Variance Authority engineer who has quietly and diligently ensured the organization’s smooth operation 24/7 for the past 400 hundred years. Following the catastrophic timeline destabilization in the Season 1 finale, O.B.’s wealth of knowledge proves instrumental in helping Loki, Mobius (Wilson), and the team restore the TVA.

As a new character in Season 2, Quan said he wasn’t certain how to approach the role at first, taking meetings with the writers, showrunner Eric Martin, and Hiddleston to see how they envisioned O.B. But it wasn’t until another full-circle moment that it fully clicked for Quan: Stepping onto the Roger Moore stage, where the Ouroboros set had been built, the actor realized O.B. could be a Variant of his character from The Goonies — Data, who was an ardent fan of James Bond, portrayed by Moore.


“That was when I was very clear on how to play him,” Quan said. “And I wanted to bring that passion and that enthusiasm — Data loves being part of the gang.”

Apart from this fictional connection Quan had to the character, the actor channeled a significant portion of his personal story into his portrayal of O.B. Since his triumphant second act, Quan has been vocal about his struggles to reach success as an actor — from his beginnings in the U.S. as a refugee to losing health insurance for not meeting SAG-AFTRA requirements after filming EEAAO. In Episode 5 of Loki’s sophomore season, it’s revealed that Ouroboros is a Variant of A.D. Doug, a PhD-level engineer and aspiring science fiction writer who refuses to give up on his dreams, opting to self-publish his novels and sneak them onto bookstore shelves in hopes of gaining a readership.


“I think it is that determination, that passion, that not willing to give up, that perseverance, [continuing] to do something nobody really cares about,” Quan said. “Nobody cares about what he wants — that I really resonated with.”

He added, “And also, he just loves what he does. It’s the same thing: Every time I’ve walked on a movie set, I wanted to remember how hard it is to be here and maintain that sense of gratitude … It was a true gift playing him.”

(L-R): Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie, Ke Huy Quan as O.B., Owen Wilson as Mobius, and Eugene Cordero as Casey in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, Season 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

Now, in consideration for an Emmy for the role, Quan is positively beaming at the opportunity to discuss his love for Loki and O.B., following the secrecy necessitated around taking on a Marvel project and its premiere during the joint WGA and SAG strikes last year.

“When we finished the show, I was so happy and so proud of what we [had] created. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t wait for the show to come out and tell the entire world how happy we are.’ And I was really excited, and of course, when it came out and not being able to promote it and meet with the fans and talk about the show — that was hard. And I can only watch it like everybody else on Disney+ while keeping my mouth shut. It was not easy. So it feels really good to be able to do this right now,” he said, adding that the fan reception “brings a big smile to my face.”

Quan, who finds it an “honor” to be a part of the FYC conversation, has remained true to his origins. With upcoming films Electric State (from The Avengers directors the Russo brothers) and With Love, the actor said he is vigilant about approaching every project with the same immense gratitude and humility he has carried from childhood.

“It is so cool, I gotta tell you. For the longest time, I always worried about [whether] I would ever get another opportunity to act again. So, ever since Everything Everywhere, everything has just been incredible. My phone works now, and it rings. I get emails from my agents. I get to meet with some of our industry’s most incredible and talented people.”

Conducting this interview just a few days out from wrapping filming on With Love, where he is No. 1 on the call sheet for a big studio picture for the first time, Quan’s world is a whirlwind. “I just got back to LA, we shot the entire movie in Canada,” he said. “It’s a big action movie. And I still have bruises on my body. It was a very physically demanding movie. And I could not be more happy.”

Some days, he said, he still can’t believe it: “It’s very surreal … I’ll be in a meeting and I would hear, ‘This producer, this filmmaker says we would love to work with you.’ Even just that sometimes feels really foreign to me.”

When talking about what the future might have in store for him as a performer, Quan’s vision is simple: to work with “great people” who inspire him. “I have a long list of people I’m trying to check off,” he said.

“I don’t ever want to forget what it was like, because it helps me maintain this sense of gratitude,” Quan said of his journey back to the screens. “Every time I walk on a movie set I want to have that same feeling that I had when I was a kid and also when I did Everything Everywhere All At Once. I was just so hungry for that, and I want to always remember that. I don’t want to take anything for granted.”

Featured image: Ke Huy Quan as O.B. in Marvel Studios’ LOKI, Season 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.


Natalie Oganesyan

Natalie Oganesyan is an entertainment and culture journalist with bylines in Variety, Slate, TheWrap, BuzzFeed and more. She specializes in coverage of TV, with a focus on underrepresented stories.