Scene Stealers 2021

The most brilliant sci-fi character of 2021 needs a Marvel spinoff ASAP

“Hey y’all!”

— Miss Minutes

The Norse God of Mischief sits in a poorly lit cubicle wearing a skinny black tie that would look at home on Don Draper.

But across from him is something even stranger: Miss Minutes, the animated, semi-sentient, clock-faced mascot of Marvel’s all-powerful bureaucracy, the Time Variance Authority.

“Are you a recording or are you alive?” Loki asks the hologram.

“Uh, sort of both,” Miss Minutes replies. He swats at her with a rolled-up magazine.

It’s a small, inconsequential moment in a show full of heady concepts and heartfelt monologues, but for fans of Miss Minutes — a scene stealer holding her own against Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) — it’s a perfect distillation of why we loved this bizarre, technicolor character.

SCENE STEALERS is a countdown that salutes the unforgettable small-screen characters of the year. Miss Minutes is #5.

Miss Minutes is voiced by Tara Strong, an animation legend heard in classic shows like Teen Titans (Raven), Rugrats (Dil Pickles), The Powerpuff Girls (Bubbles), and The Fairly OddParents (Timmy Turner), and major video games like Mortal Kombat X and Jak and Daxter. Batman rogue Harley Quinn is as much her role as Margot Robbie, with plentiful performances from Strong as the famous clown villainess.

Strong has an impressive range, voicing high-energy characters (like Harley Quinn) and moody superheroes (like Raven). Watching her breakdown famous roles on YouTube is a masterclass arguably on par with similar videos from Paul McCartney or Dwayne Johnson.

For Loki, she gives her voice a southern twang (an impressive feat for a native Canadian), making the dire warning Miss Minutes delivers in Episode 1 — “I'm Miss Minutes, and it's my job to catch you up before you stand trial for your crimes” — that much easier to swallow. Strong’s voice shows up throughout the series, but it’s never quite clear whether she’s a pre-recorded hologram, a rogue AI, or something in between.

When Inverse asked Tara Strong for an answer, she revealed that not even Loki's director Kate Herron knew for sure. “Even in conversations with Kate, when I ask her, ‘How sentient is she?’ It’s still a vague approximation,” Strong reveals. “She’s an enigma. We wanted to keep that in question so that as the audience is watching, they don’t know either.”

Who is Miss Minutes?

  • Best Quote: “The TVA has stepped in to fix your mistake and set time back on its predetermined path. Now that your actions have left you without a place on the timeline, you must stand trial for your offenses. So, sit tight, and we'll get you in front of a judge in no time. Just make sure you have your ticket.”
  • Known For: Southern accents, Explaining the Multiversal Wars with a positive attitude
  • The Scene-Stealing Episode: Season 1, Episode 2, “The Variant” (Loki)
  • Super Power: File not found.
  • Scientific Element: Caesium, a liquid metal used to tell time in the first accurate atomic clock, built in 1955.
  • Walk-up Song: “Time Is On My Side” by The Rolling Stones
Making the ever-evolving MCU ever stranger, “Miss Minutes” brings cartoonish charm with voiceover titan Tara Strong.Marvel Studios

That mystery only adds to the intrigue of Miss Minutes. By the end of Loki, it’s clear Strong’s character is more than she seems. Minutes appears to be working directly for He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), the TVA’s mysterious founder. When Loki finally arrives at the founder’s castle, it’s Miss Minutes who greets them, offering lies and false promises in a last-ditch attempt to save her boss. More than even He Who Remains himself, Miss Minutes seems to believe with all her artificial heart in the TVA’s dubious mission, though perhaps that’s just another piece of evidence that proves she’s nothing more than a dutiful computer program.

Loki is already confirmed for Season 2, so the return of Miss Minutes seems guaranteed. But beyond that’d we’d love to see Tara Strong get her own spinoff, whether it’s an entirely animated series set in the technicolor world of the TVA’s propaganda videos, a prequel depicting the early days of the Time Variance Authority, or something else entirely.

“Seems to believe with all her artificial heart in the TVA’s dubious mission”

Miss Minutes is already set to appear in an upcoming one-shot comic called Timeless, making her part of a very exclusive group of characters invented for the Marvel Cinematic Universe who made their way into the comics, joining fellow fan-favorites like Agent Coulson.

With a twang in her slang and a pep in her step, Miss Minutes ominously ticks as #5 in the Inverse Scene Stealers of 2021.Marvel Studios

Regardless of what the future holds, we’re thankful for what Miss Minutes has given us already. In perhaps Marvel’s most complex story so far, Tara Strong’s animated clock provided comic relief and necessary exposition — somehow often at once. Hopefully, that sense of joy isn’t lost as the MCU continues to dive deeper into the multiverse.

Loki is streaming now on Disney+.