The Road To AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – Part IV: Kenneth Branagh’s THOR

The fourth part of our road to Infinity War leads to The Rainbow Bridge, as we’re approaching The Realm Eternal and the beginning of Marvel Studios' most inconsistent trilogy – Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.

Between the official beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 and 2010, Marvel Studios managed to release three movies: Iron ManThe Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2. The studio decided to take a one-year break after the rushed into production Iron Man 2 and instead released two movies in 2011, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger.

Let’s take a look at the first movie, the beginning of the weirdest MCU trilogy, where every entry was made by a different director with his own sensibilities and vision of Asgard. It’s time to talk about the movie that opened the doors to the Marvel Cosmic Universe – Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.


The first talks about a potential movie adaptation of Thor took place in 1990. After shooting The Evil Dead in 1981, Sam Raimi (Army of Darkness) took a break to work as a counselor at Camp Tamakwa in Algonquin Park, Canada. The director was a huge Spider-Man fan and knew that he had to leave the camp to check the state of the film’s cut, so he obviously agreed to ask Stan Lee, who created the character with Steve Ditko, to sign posters for campers.
Raimi didn’t realize how complicated meeting with his comic book guru could be until a secretary turned him away. “That’s how I first met Stan Lee,” Raimi recalled, “by being rejected by him and not wanting to let those kids down. I became a forger of his autograph. Ya know, ‘All the best, Excelsior! To all the kids at Tamakwa — Stan Lee.’ ” It didn’t stop the aspiring director from attempting on meeting Lee and they finally had a chance to talk ten years later, in 1990.
At the time, Raimi finished directing Darkman and convinced Lee, who also had ambitious plans to bring Marvel characters on the big screen after many DC’s successes, especially Tim Burton’s Batman and four Superman movies, to pitch together a Thor movie to 20th Century Fox. “It was thrilling to be with Stan Lee and hysterical the way that we had to explain who Thor was to executives,” Raimi laughed, “walking out of there going, ‘We didn’t get it! They think it’s gonna be some Hercules movie or something”, Raimi said Variety in 2006. His vision of Thor ultimately didn’t come together, but a decade later he directed one of the biggest movies of all time and his passion project, Spider-Man.
Thor remained abandoned until April 1997. That year, Marvel Studios decided to shift gears and started developing (at least) fifteen movies at once, including X-Men, Namor: Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Luke Cage, Venom, Blade: Vampire Hunter, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Ghost Rider and Captain America. Marvel was also looking for homes for Thor and The Punisher, but the company didn’t announce any movement in their development for a long time. Most of these movies have lost directors sooner or later.

After the box office and critical success of Bryan Singer’s X-Men, Marvel Studios hit on an idea to adapt Thor on a small screen. UPN was in talks for airing the potential series and approached Tyler Mane (X-Men, Troy) to play the lead role. After years of unsuccessful development, Sony Pictures Entertainment purchased the film rights and asked David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) to write and direct the movie in December 2004. Goyer ultimately left the project a year later.

Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, Old Boy), who was a big fan of the comic version of Thor, agreed to write the screenplay for the movie that was sold to Paramount Pictures. On May 5, 2007 Marvel officially announced that Iron Man, Ant-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor are on their way on the big screen, all made within Marvel Studios.

On June 2007, Los Angeles Times revealed that writer J. Michael Straczynski was working on a Silver Surfer movie for Fox, and also that Protosevich has finished his Thor screenplay. In the middle of the summer, Variety interviewed Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: Secret Service) and here’s what the director had to say about his rumored involvement in Thor: “I've been discussing it with Marvel. I really like the Marvel guys, and it would be good to make”, the director explained. “We're trying to find something to work on together. If Thor is going to happen, I don't know. I'm seeing them again next week. And, the other problem is the whole strike [of the Writers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, and Screen Actors Guild] thing. It's, like, we'd like to make a movie before the strike, so whether Thor could be the one, I don't know”.

A month after that interview, IESB announced that “industry circles” said that Kevin McKidd (16 Years of Alcohol, Journeyman) was cast as Thor. During a conference call for Journeyman, the actor said: "It’s semi true, I didn't know about it either until I heard the rumors and I called my agent and he went, yeah, yeah, we've been talking to them about it. But the last I heard from my agent, they're talking that they want to go for somebody much younger, a 19/20-year-old, for that role. So they're re-conceptualizing it as we speak."

Vaughn has discussed what he could bring to the table as a director of Thor and how he would approach adapting a hero who’s solo movie has been in various stages of development for almost twenty years, "You've got Thor and Odin, and it's set in Asgard. It's not going to be like Lord of the Rings or even Narnia. I think it's important to keep it comic-book. We're not doing the Thor of Norse mythology. We're doing the Marvel Thor." One thing was certain: "They actually said to me, 'You are going to make Thor more macho? Right?' Well, don't worry: Thor's not going to be wearing a dress."
According to the Guardian, Vaughn approached Protosevich to rewrite his script together. The director revealed that “Marvel loves the script. The only problem is that it has been costed at $300 million and they ask how I am going to reduce it by $150m. I think I prefer being asked what it's like working with De Niro.” 
With his Stardust being a moderate success in the US and a big hit in the UK, Vaughn has decided to bring the Thor production to his native land. The director told a Daily Mail reporter that "It obviously bought us luck filming at home and I'm relieved that the movie has performed so well in my own country.Thor was initially slated for a 2009 release, but the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike has successfully made creating the movie even more difficult. 
Marvel Studios started 2008 with an announcement that they came to an agreement with the WGA, meaning that Captain America, Thor and Ant-Man could return to the normal developement again. After the unexpected success of Favreau’s Iron Man, Marvel Studios gave Thor a new release date of June 4, 2010, with Iron Man 2 being used to introduce the character (in a post-credits scene).

On May 5th, The Hollywood Reporter announced that “Matthew Vaughn no longer is attached to direct the project because his holding deal expired December." He adapted Millar’s Kick Ass instead. 
Umberto Gonzalez and the Latino Review crew started all sorts of rumors about a potential casting decisions. Probably the most interesting (and absurd) one said that Marvel was looking for Brad Pitt (Twelve Monkeys, Big Short) to play Odinson. 
After a year since the last announcement regarding Thor, Variety reported that actor and director Kenneth Branagh, who's best known to the general public as Harry Potter's narcissistic "defense against the dark arts" professor in The Chamber of Secrets, was negotiating to direct Thor. At the time, Branagh was drawing raves on the London stage in the title role of Ivanov. Chekhov’s drama had a big input on the creative process behind Thor, as Tom Hiddleston, who would be ultimately cast as Loki, was starring in the stage play alongside Branagh. They also worked together on Wallander broke the odd news that James Bond himself, Daniel Craig (Layer Cake, Infamous) was approached to play Thor, but the actor decided to turn down the role because: “It would be too much of a power trip playing both James Bond and the mighty Thor."
After two months of speculation, Branagh officially confirmed that he would sit in the director’s chair of Thor. At Valkirie's press junket the actor told MTV that “I am directing “Thor” or “The Mighty Thor’ as you might like to call it. I think it will be ‘Thor’.” Branagh also kindly debunked the rumors that Kevin McKidd might be portraying Odinson “There’s been lots of talk [about casting] — I sound like a politician — but we are too early at this stage. We’re getting the story and the visual effects together and all of that is very exciting. Someone sensational is going to play the part but it is early days.”

Former Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada revealed at New York Comic Con 2009 that Branagh’s knowledge of the Marvel Universe impressed him: “You just thought, ‘Wow. This guy has immersed himself in the Marvel culture — not just in Thor — but in the Marvel universe in general,” Quesada said. “He knew a lot of stuff — some things that I didn’t even know. He was reciting Thor stuff from the past, continuity events, quotes from different books, little bits and pieces from stories that he really found fascinating — whether they were old [Jack] Kirby and [Stan] Lee stories or [Walter] Simonson stories or modern stuff that we’re doingHe really got it,” Quesada concluded.
According to IESB, Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor, 40 Days and 40 Nights) was gearing up to play Loki, Thor’s villainous brother. The actor apparently has met with Branagh and was on the short list to play the main villain in the film. However, Deadline Hollywood revealed a much more colorful and packed list of actors who were being considered for the role of Thor, Son of Odin. 
The fascinating list includes Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, The Lost City of Z), Tom Hiddleston (The Gathering Storm, Kong: Skull Island), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood, The Legend of Tarzan), Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games, Independence Day: Resurgence) and Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop, Suicide Squad). Deadline also leaked an information that Natalie Portman (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Black Swan) was in the lead for an important female role, and the rumor turned out to be true. 

Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street, Logan Lucky) told MTV News that he was in talks, and even had a chance to meet Branagh to play Thor but the studio was looking for someone more “Nordic-looking.”
Finally, after months of speculation and questions, Deadline was first again to announce that Marvel Studios has found their Mighty Thor, Chris Hemsworth (Rush, The Huntsman: Winter's War). At the time, the 25-year-old Australian actor was shooting Joss Whedon’s Cabin In The Woods. According to the website, Hemsworth has read for the part, but wasn’t given a test because a casting director had nixed his early on. His younger brother, Liam had a chance to test for the role, but Kevin Feige passed on him. Chris’ manager, Willam Ward managed to persuade the producer to give him another chance. Branagh saw the actor's performance and made the final casting decision.

The movie’s release date has also been changed and Thor was set to release on May 20, 2011.
Shortly after the first official casting announcement, Deadline announced that the part of Loki has gone to Tom Hiddleston. It was the third time the actor would work with Branagh. Hiddleston was on a six month diet to get lean for playing Loki, “'Ken[neth Branagh] wants Loki to have a lean and hungry look, like Cassius in Julius Caesar. Physically, he can't be posing as Thor”, the actor told MTV. "Loki's like a comic book version of Edmund in King Lear, but nastier," he added. "Loki's skilled in black magic and sorcery. He's a shape-shifter and has all sorts of super powers from the dark arts. He can turn clouds into dragons, things like that."

Branagh also had an opportunity to chat with MTV and revealed his inspirations for Thor, “I think that (the comics) go through golden patches and purple patches and everyone has personal favorites,” Branagh told MTV News. “The recent runs have been marvelous. The J. Michael Straczynski run has been a tremendous achievement. But I've also been reading way back, reading classic, vintage runs as well. There are many Thors and many accounts of the stories across nearly 50 years of the comics. We look to raid from the best.” 
In another MTV interview, Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, The Shape of Water) has told that he was approached by Marvel to direct Thor’s big screen debut. “I’m a fan of Jack Kirby and the power he has, and I’m a fan of the original mythology," Del Toro explained. “So I thought we could go back to the original mythology a lot. I love Loki, I think he’s a great figure.” He ultimately abandoned the project to direct Hobbit, but that also didn’t work out for him. 
Kevin Feige asked about how he felt about putting Hemsworth to play The God Of Thunder responded that "As new actors make their way into feature films, it is a rare thing to find someone who is not only immensely watchable and engaging, but can also represent a timeless and key character from the Marvel universe in such a compelling way. We have been watching Chris hone his craft over the last several months and due to his persistence and talent he rose above everyone else embodying the actor we were looking for."
Writer Brian Michael Bendis, who was also a part of Marvel’s creative committee with Alan Fine, Dan Buckley and Joe Quesada, said that Branagh’s presentation was “Shakespearean, with flourishes,” Bendis told Newsarama. “It was cool. It was a lot of fun. My wife goes, okay, that one I’m jealous of. She’s got a crush on him. And honestly, he’s not a let-down. I can see it. I can understand it. You’re spending enough time with someone that you know if they’re cool. And he’s cool.

The end of 2009 was filled with casting announcements for Thor. Natalie Portman was officially cast as Dr. Jane Foster, the movie’s female lead. His son didn’t make the cut, but Stellan Skarsgård (Good Will Hunting, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) was lucky enough to join the cast. Sir Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Nixon) was confirmed to play of Odin, the King of Asgard and the father of Thor and Loki. The Warriors Three have been cast as well - Stuart Townsend, Ray Stevenson and Tadanobu Asano. Jaimie Alexander (The Last Stand, Blindspot) and Colm Feore (Storm of the Century, Chicago) also joined the crew as Lady Sif and King Laufey. Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, The Dark Tower) would play Heimdall, the guardian of Asgard. Rene Russo (Yours, Mine and Ours, Lethal Weapon 4) has been cast as Frigga, Thor's mother. 
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn, Shazam) revealed that he turned down a role in Thor for Chuck. He was cast as Fandral the Dashing. The actor ultimately played the character in Thor: The Dark World.
At the press conference for Jim Sheridan's Brothers, Natalie Portman explained why she decided to play Jane Foster in the movie, "I just thought it sounded like a weird idea because Kenneth Branagh's directing it, so I was just like, 'Kenneth Branagh doing 'Thor' is super-weird. I've gotta do it.'"
Arguably one of the best news in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was announced on November 26, 2009 when Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, Wind River) revealed that he’s had talks with Marvel Studios about playing Hawkeye with a possible cameo in Thor, leading to a major role in The Avengers. "Hawkeye could be interesting”, Renner told Empire. “They're going to send me some stuff on it, see what it is." But I think they're pretty awesome, trying to make superhero movies almost plausible and not just some fantasy thing."

The actor also said that the movie version of the beloved character wouldn’t be similar to the comic books, "'s going to be modernized, it's not going to be the guy with the big purple [mask], it's not going to be a guy in tights. It's going to be a guy in sunglasses and a vest. He's going to be more modernized and I'm gonna say, 'A cooler-looking version' and not the big weird costume he had on. I don't think they're going that route."
Paramount and Marvel Entertainment have pushed up the release of Thor by two weeks to May 6, 2011 to give Rob Marshall’s Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides a room to breathe.
Finally, on January 11, 2010, Thor officially began filming under the direction of Kenneth Branagh.

Buf Compagnie, the VFX company that has worked on Andy and Larry Wachowski's Martix: Revolutions and James Cameron’s Avatar was pitched by Marvel to be the leading VFX company on Thor
The New York Daily has reported that Hopkins has been vocally criticizing Chris Hemsworth's acting ability on the set. The rumor was debunked by Marvel, Hopkins’s wife, Stella and Jaimie Alexander. Finally, even Sir Anthony decided to express his feeling about the whole situation:  “I am having the time of my life making Thor with Ken and Chris. They have made every day immensely fun and collaborative, and we're all puzzled that someone would fabricate a story suggesting otherwise. I'm proud to say that Thor has been one of the great experiences of my career.

In an interview with LA Times, Branagh compared his efforts to what Jon Favreau achieved with Iron Man, “It’s a different story, and also, in that regard, Jon is a bit of a genius when it comes to that orchestration and getting the max out of another genius in Downey,” Branagh said. “It’s how you dance pretty close to the edge to get the sort of modernity and the edge that ‘Iron Man’ has and the real sharp comic sensibility of those two men. So it’s a different kind of dance," he concluded.
Chris Hemsworth has also spoken about his rumored conflict with Sir Hopkins, and said that “He [Hopkins] rang me afterwards and we had a good laugh about it. He said, 'Look, you can't take this stuff too seriously,' and told me a bunch of stories about ridiculous things that had been written about him over the years. You always assume there's some truth in it but on every point in that article they got it wrong...”
A month before the release of Branagh’s Thor, Box Office Pro updated their tracking to a $73 million opening and a $208 million domestic total score.
The biggest online movie websites have started to slowly release their reviews for Thor three weeks before the movie’s premiere in the US. Some websites called Branagh’s movie “The Best Marvel Movie Yet”, some gave it 3.5/5. With generally favorable reviews, Thor hit movie theaters on May 6, 2011. 


Let’s take a break to talk about the movie itself for a minute. Introducing another realm to a universe that hasn’t left Earth yet is a big challenge, but what’s even trickier is presenting that alien, golden world in a convincing way without the budget of $300 million. Kenneth Branagh has had a hard nut to crack, but he managed to create an entertaining movie. Even more importantly, his movie.
Branagh’s filmography is pretty familiar to me and after seeing most of his movies, I can say that he’s a talented fella with a great understanding of complicated relationships between characters. Branagh’s sensibilities allow him to direct some of the best movie adaptations of Shakespeare out there, including Henry V (1989) and Hamlet (1996). Arguably, the director’s worst (doesn’t mean that they are essentially bad) movies are the action ones, with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit being the most obvious example. Branagh's take on Thor is right in the middle of the road between his wonderful Shakespearean adaptations and underwhelming action flicks.
But just like the movie, let’s start with an intro. It manages to tell the history of Asgard in less than three minutes. The VFX companies and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos brought The Realm Eternal to life with a qualified success. The golden city looks fine even today, but it’s just too similar to the designs from one of my favorite video-games, Heroes of Might and Magic III with all these flying contructions and huge buildings. There’s one more similarity between the movie and the game - Asgard is painfully artificial. It’s understandable that Marvel Studios hired Branagh to scale down the budget to $150 million and moved the action to New Mexico, but it would be nice to put people in there, because as magnificent and gilded the realm is, it's also terribly lifeless.

The movie features some of the best scenes that can be found in the superhero movies. For example, the scene where Odin reveals his son, Loki the terrible truth about his parents is wonderfully, wonderfully played and executed. Tom Hiddleston truly owns the role of God of Mischief and rightfully joined the pantheon of the best villains in the cinema. He’s a deeply hurt, lost persona who tries to find a new place in the world and uses the opportunity to become a king he was always meant to be. He and Chris Hemsworth have a great chemistry and Branagh made great casting decisions there. Hiddleston proved his worth in the first movie, Hemsowrth had to wait until Thor: Ragnarok.
Yes, I don’t think that the Australian actor did a great job in this movie. He looks like Thor, talks like Thor and acts like Thor we’ve known from the comics, but he’s just not interesting as a character. Sure, thanks to the screenplay, he’s not the most likable guy, he doesn’t care about his wounded friends, has some terrible anger management issues and to just sum him up, he’s a jackass. But Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange was an ass, too. The difference between two characters is their moment of change. Strange spends all his money and resources which forces him to rethink his life.
Thor changes within a day. He understands that he’s unworthy after one unsuccessful attempt on picking up Mjolnir and in the next scene is an entirely different character. He apologizes Loki for the mess he’s done and acts like a new man. That’s not how a good arc should look like, people (especially gods) rarely change within a second. Hemsworth also struggles to sell Thor’s pain and doubts. At last, Taika Waititi fully embraced the actor’s perfect comic timing mixed with a bit of drama which gave wonderful results in Ragnarok. Branagh’s Thor is just fine, but Waititi’s Thor is a different beast. 

Anthony Hopkins’ Odin is another perfect Branagh’s casting and it would be nice to explain better to the audience what the Odinsleep is, because in its movie form it just seems like an easy opportunity to get rid of Odin for some time. His Allfather is an incredibly shady character, even in just one movie. He kidnaps the son of his greatest enemy, rises him as his own and banishes Thor for doing what he has done in the past. Thanks to Ragnarok, we also know that he’s been hiding their sister the whole time and built the Golden City on the corpses of his enemies. That’s where the Marvel Cinematic Universe excels – in giving the audience different looks at characters though many movies. Tony Stark and Odin are the most beneficial from that strategy.
Moving a big portion of the movie to New Mexico was a smart move, and not only because it’s much cheaper than generating hundreds of VFX shots for Asgard. Mexico gives the movie a moment to breathe and creates a nice contrast between the technologically advanced Asgard and a forgotten small city in a middle of the desert. This decision also helps to show the consistency between these two very different worlds. Asgard is a city filled with gold and Mexico continues that color palette will all of it dirty bronzes. Thor was the last MCU movie shot on film (despite a few scenes in Doctor Strange) and I miss the organic look of the first four movies and the flashy colors.

On the other hand, the editing during the action scenes with more than three characters is just a big mess and considering that most of them happen at night, it’s really hard to say what’s exactly going on.
Thor has a lot of smaller and bigger issues. The biggest one are pointless characters (I'm sorry Darcy). It would be a bold decision to not portray Jane Foster as a typical scientist with brains. Watching her solving the mystery of the Einstein-Rosen-bridge on her own would be much more engaging, since she even lives in a van. As much as I like Selvig, he doesn't need to have such a big role. Lady Sif should’ve been cut as well and saved for the sequel, she doesn’t have much to do here and she's one of the most important Asgardians in the comics, so her role in Thor is just not appropriate. Agent Coulson and SHIELD also have a big, unnecessary part that leads nowhere.

The Warriors Three have the most screentime of all Thor movies here and the trio is not a colorful bunch with a great dynamic that I used to know, but a bunch of weak, and what’s even worse, boring characters. The only one who’s clearly trying is Ray Stevenson as Volstagg but even his efforts can’t change the fact that they are a big waste of time and talent.
The most important relationship in the movie doesn’t work at all. Thor and Jane have zero chemistry and the only way I can describe their romance is “almost cute”. Natalie Portman can't play damsels in distress and it’s good to see her in much more “meaty” roles such as the upcoming Annihilation.
Patrick Doyle’s soundtrack is a thing of beauty. It’s not unique like the Ragnarok score, but it perfectly captures the vibe and sentiments of The Realm Eternal. “Earth to Asgard” is a symphonic glory and I’m glad that at least this theme returned in the future MCU movies. The end credits montage is a joy to look at and it’s hard to not marvel at the artistry and hard work of the artists who tried to recreate the magic of the space captured by The Hubble Space Telescope.

Just like Favreau’s Iron Man 2, Thor features more than just one Avenger. The movie has tried to introduce Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye. He does nothing, has three lines of dialogue, and comparing his role to the amount of screen-time Black Widow got in Iron Man 2, his role is laughable and it would be better to properly introduce him in The Avengers. Renner deserves better.
Kenneth Branagh had a rough mission but I think he succeeded. He and his team discovered Thor’s movie language. Sure, it wasn’t perfect and needed improvement in some areas, but he nailed many expects of The God of Thunder. His power set was beautifully realized, especially during the fight in Jotunheim which was later mimicked in Ragnarok’s Musphelheim. Let's not forget that Thor also gave the young universe a worthy villain who could stand on his own, even against the Avengers.
Branagh made the movie he wanted to make. He tackled with a huge, ambitious concept that feels like a small stage play. Not in Ang Lee’s Hulk way, but in the way the on-screen relationships are being developed. Creating your big-budget summer blockbuster and remembering about your theatrical roots is not easy to make and it's not easy to sell. Thor is not a great movie, but it tried to do something unique, unexpected, maybe even pure and that’s worth fighting for. What's done, is done. 


Thor opened in May of 2011, where it made $181 million in the US and $449 million worldwide, adjusting to $519 million. Odinson single-handedly outgrossed Green Lantern ($219,851,172), X-Men: First Class ($353,624,124) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($370,569,774). That seems small by today’s standards, but back in 2011 it was the biggest global total for any comic book superhero movie that didn’t feature Batman, Wolverine, Iron Man or Spider-Man. After Fast Five and The Hangover Part II, Thor was the most pirated movie of 2011 with approximated 8.3 million illegal downloads.
Costume Designer Alexandra Byrne revealed in an interview for Paramount Pictures that Thor’s cape was the biggest problem during the production: “The cape needed to look both completely believable and sublimely magical. In the comic books, Kirby used it as a great graphic device for movement, tension and drama. So our cape needed that amount of expression. It also had to frame Chris’s shape and proportion when he’s not moving, and then billow, move and fly with him when he’s fighting. It’s easy to make a cape do all that in a drawing, but not so easy with a piece of fabric.”
Interviewed by I Am Rogue, Tom Hiddleston accidentally spoiled that he would return in The Avengers: "Well this is the first time I’ve had to talk about it because for so long I was asked to not say anything. You are the first to ask me, you won’t be the only one, but you are the first. Loki has big, big plans and it’s going to take more than just Thor to stop him this time."
During a chat with Collider, Marvel Studios' president Kevin Fiege said that just like Dr. Banner, Hank Pym was supposed to have a small (...) cameo in the movie: “[Selvig] goes, “I have a friend who has had experiences with these people. Let me email him.” That friend is Hank Pym. But we took out “Hank Pym” because it felt like, “Banner! Hank!” We were just like, “Enough.

Asked by MTV, Branagh explained why he decided to not include Donald Blake, Thor’s alter-ego, in the movie: “In terms of Donald Blake not being in this movie, when we lined up all the things that we needed to introduce the audience to, the idea of yet one more element of Thor's characters in addition to the world of the gods, the world of space, the world of Jotunheim, the world of all the characters in Odin's family and all of the Earth, to then reduce our amount of screen time with the first introduction of Thor himself felt as though we wouldn't be doing ourselves a favor. Instead, the priority would be to get as much of Thor inside that already complicated world as we could."
Branagh also shortly described the atmosphere within Marvel Studios: “There's a weird kind of collegiate atmosphere amongst those of us who are directors on this thing. When I went in to do my little 3-D sessions, I'd always see ['Captain America' director Joe Johnston] coming out of his, and we'd always share a few war stories about what was going on. Jon Favreau was kind to me when he was in post-production for "Iron Man 2," and ["Incredible Hulk" director] Louis Leterrier was one of the people who suggested me for the job in the first place. So it does feel like those of us who pass through the Marvel academy are inevitably bonded.
Idris Elba briefly commented on an ongoing controversy about Marvel’s decision to cast him as Heimdall, who’s originally white in the comics. "Purist comic-book fans are one thing; out-and-out racism is another. Of course, the more I speak on this topic, the more I fuel it. But, look, if people have a problem with me playing the character, just don’t go see the movie, you know?"

Thanks to Thor: The Art of Thor the Movie book we know exactly which items were hidden in Odin’s Vault: Eternal Flame (the most important artefact in Ragnarok), Infinity Gauntlet (later revealed to be a fake), Warlock’s Eye, Orb of Agamotto and Tablet of Life & Time.
A year after the movie’s release, Branagh has looked back on directing Thor and casting Hemsworth: "He's an absolutely amazing-looking fella. He had all of those good looks but he's an amazing, proper, proper actor and we wanted to feel that Thor was somebody people would follow into the jaws of death."
Despite not directing the Thor sequel, Branagh said many times that he would love to direct another comic book movie. "I don't know what it would be, but I would be delighted to go back and do some other kind of comic book movie, on either side of the camera or both,” he told The Examiner.
MTV asked Tom Hiddleston about his favorite scene from the movie and it’s not really surprising that the actor picked “the scene with [Anthony] Hopkins in the vault, when I find out that I’m Laufey’s son. Up until that point we’d shot only action." Brangh also explained why the audience loves Loki: "People like damaged villains” the director said during an interview with IGN. “He was always an enormous part of the comics. A much loved villain. The way that that happens across those big legacy kind of pieces, they happen to find a wonderful actor in Tom Hiddleston, who again brought depth to it.

In 2015, Branagh once again reflected on his experience with Marvel: “I mean what I found was that I just enjoyed the process of working with those people and I loved the boys and the girl. The girls as well. It was great. So that was fun. But it was a long time and they were way too quick for me to get straight back into another single sort of story in terms of working on it at that time, so who knows. Who knows. It was a pleasurable experience and a film I'm very proud of and one I was very lucky to be able to make and did me a lot of good from which I learned an incredible amount, so I'm very grateful to them." It sounds like the fact that Marvel decided to release another Thor movie just two years after the first one was the main reason why Branagh didn’t return for the sequel. It's a shame.
"I continue to have good relationships with all my Marvel family. It’s a people game the movie game, and although these films are big articulated lorries, they still have to be driven by real people. I fondly remember good times working on Thor. So you always look to repeat that kind of thing, and if it happened again, I’d be delighted,” the director cocluded in an interview with The Hollywood Reported while promoting Cinderella.
Would you like to see another comic book movie made by Kenneth Branagh? I think he would direct a wonderful and "smart" Silver Surfer movie considering his drama sensibilities. But that’s where Bifrost has to end and it’s time to prepare to return from Asgard to Earth, right into World War II.

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