As the characters of the Marvel universe are finally taken away from the hands of studios who have, over the past few years, treated the characters in less than favourable ways (see Fantastic 4, Punisher and, erm, Man-Thing), Marvel Studios has begun to build a coherent world for its heroes to inhabit. Whether it’s a cameo of Captain America’s shield in Iron Man or Tony Stark in Hulk or the Samuel L Jackson version of Nick Fury suggesting the formation of the Avengers, it seems Marvel are on the right track as far as their film arm is concerned.
Next up on the slate of Marvel characters is, of course, Kenneth Branagh’s version of the Norse thunder god Thor. So far, we have a director, the aforementioned Mr Branagh, whose impressive CV of films, TV and stage productions will hopefully bring a level of gravitas and grandeur to the hallowed halls of Asgard.
Production-wise we also have a logo for the film, which was shown off at this year’s NY Licensing Show, as well as a proposed budget of $150 million, which should come in nicely in trying to bring the rainbow bridge, the Midgard serpent and the world tree to the screen. There is also a ‘locked’ release date of May 20th 2011 with filming starting around the end of this year.
While no news yet has come around about the actual script, one of the screenwriters for the movie, Ashley Miller, stated that, “Our script is very firmly rooted in the Marvel film world. We were constantly looking for ways to connect Thor to the other movies and heroes, even if they were simply in passing.”
We also have more information from Marvel’s head honcho, Kevin Feige, who confirmed that Donald Blake, Thor’s human alter ego, will not appear in Thor and that the movie will take place on both Earth and Asgard. It has also been rumoured that Kenneth Brannagh has reportedly banned any Shakespearean dialogue from the script and that the feel of the movie will be influenced by J. Michael Straczynski’s recent run as well as classic tales from Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson
As well as all the production detail, there is also a great deal of news about the cast. It is ‘nearly’ official that we have the main players for the key roles in the movie. First of all, the Norse god will be played by Chris Hemsworth, last seen on our screens as a certain Captain Kirk’s father. While a relative unknown, it seems that fandom has embraced the choice.
Working as a foil to the heroic god, Tom Hiddleston, who is cast as Thor’s manipulative step-brother and all round bad guy (or girl if you are reading Marvel at the moment), Loki. When recently asked how he will be portraying one of Marvel’s baddest bad guys, Hiddleston stated, “Loki’s like a comic book version of Edmund in King Lear, but nastier.”
However, the most interesting piece of casting news we have is, of course, that Den Of Geek’s hero, Brian Blessed, will be appearing in the film. Whether the shouty one will be cast as the all-father Odin or more realistically cast as the voluminous party-loving Volstag (one of the ‘warriors three’) remains to be seen.
We’ll be bringing you more news as we get it…