With the Marvel Motion Picture Machine churning its way toward the Avengers, I thought it would be a good time to collect the data thus far regarding the hammer-swinging thunder God known as Thor.
Originally planned to be set exclusively on Asgard as a fantasy film, it is starting to sound more and more like the mighty Thor is touching down in NYC. Honestly, I liked the idea of this movie being more of a comic book answer to Lord of the Rings rather than Hercules in New York, but we’ll see if my anxiety is justified or not soon enough.
The mighty Thor is tethered to the lame physician Dr. Donald Blake to teach him humility, a lesson posed by his father Odin that ends up backfiring. The more Thor gets to know humanity, the more he admires them and becomes a guardian to the world Man (called Midgard by the Norse Gods). Thor’s trickster brother Loki conspires to confuse and harm Thor at every turn, jealous for the love that their father bestows upon the thunder God.
A unique blend of fantasy, mythology and superheroics, Thor is also a tough sell to moviegoers. But then again, so was Iron Man.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Yes, the Shakespearean actor/director from Henry V and Hamlet is directing a superhero movie. I guess that if he going to head any such project it has to be Thor, doesn’t it? It made so little sense when I first heard his name associated with the film and I’m still in a quandry over this one. However, Marvel EIC Joe Quesada is beside himself with excitement:
We had one big creative meeting with the Marvel Creative Committee, which now works on all of our movies and I have the honor to be a part of. We sat with Kenneth and discussed the “Thor” movie and the overarching story of what that’s going to be, just to give our input before anything was put down to paper by screenwriters.
And it was one of the highlights of my time here at Marvel because not only did Branagh sit there and give you the story beat for beat, he and [Marvel Studios head] Kevin Feige formed a great team. It was performance art. Kevin would give us the establishment of the shot and the situation: “Here we are. We’re in (take your pick of location). And here’s Odin and he’s coming up to (pick a character).” And then Kenneth would come in and give you the color commentary. “Odin has an air of majesty to him” and he’d act out the Odin part or the Thor part. So we sat there and literally got a three-hour one-man show from Kenneth Branagh. It was fantastic. People pay a lot of money for that kind of performance by one of the world’s greatest living actors.
And of course, he’s got that great, charming British accent, so it makes it all go down easy too. [laughs] He could have said anything, and we would have said, “Yeah. Make that.” He has such a passion for the material, and he’s sitting there describing things from the Kirby run and things from the Simonson run, citing places where the mythology conflicted in Marvel history and how we’re going to streamline it. It was just fascinating to watch.
Loki: Tim Hiddleston
A fellow stage actor to Branagh, the fact that he was the first actor announced said many things. This will not be a ‘cast of thousands’ debacle as many fear it to be. It will be a real movie with real actors… that you don’t know. I’m hoping that Hiddleston will bring the necessary life to the character of Loki because it is such a pivotal role in the world of Marvel Comics and the character of Thor.
Odin: Brian Blessed
Color me pleased. Prince Vultan of Flash Gordon himself is Odin the All Father. This is just brilliant casting the likes of which is rarely seen in movies. Another fellow RSC actor of Branagh’s (as Hiddleston is), Blessed is also well known in sci-fi circles for his appearances on Blake’s 7, Doctor Who and Space: 1999.
Yes, he has been in all three.
Thor: Chris Hemsworth
I’m still on the fence about this announcement (the latest casting announcement to date) as I know so little about the guy. Given that the film dodged so many bad idea bullets from the wrestler Triple H to Brad Pitt I should be grateful. So far he strikes me as just another pretty face. I think (hope) after I see him in costume I will feel better about this one.
Release Date: May 20, 2011