The biggest players in the comic book business, DC and Marvel, have spent much of the last 2 years preparing “battle plans” for getting their properties made into successful films. Both companies have well known, even iconic, characters that simply put belong on the big screen. While DC has had the most individual success in transferring their heroes to the big screen with The Dark Knight, Marvel has become the front-runner in all of this. Marvel has really stepped up their efforts to get their heroes on the big screen and done properly. They have already begun turning out movies for their characters on their own. Cutting out the “middle man,” so to speak, has allowed Marvel to create films for their characters in the way they see fit. This means that the films made based on the Marvel comic properties once they have their rights re-attained by the studio, will stay truer to the characters. In addition to this, they can cross-pollinate characters in all their films, allowing for other heroes and characters to make appearances in any Marvel studio’s film. We’ve already seen Nick Fury appear in Iron Man, and we saw Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk. Those were just the beginning! Imagine the possibilities!
Marvel will have all the control, because they will be financing the films themselves. Iron Man was not as successful as TDK, but it was clearly a massive money maker and a critically acclaimed film. It was also the first self-financed film for Marvel. So they got off to a great start. That has prompted them to come up with a large slate of upcoming projects for their characters. Some of the movies that are being planned revolve around some of the company’s greatest heroes, including: Captain America, Iron Man, Ant Man, The Avengers and The Mighty Thor. Some of the Marvel characters would translate to the film world quite easily while keeping in a realistic tone. But what about Thor? Thor is one of Marvel’s biggest and most powerful heroes, but his origin is so based in mythology that many wonder how Marvel could pull off a believable and realistic Thor film, myself included. So let’s cover the high points of the character, and I’ll give you all the news and notes related to the upcoming film based on the God of Thunder. Here is what you should know about Thor:
“Thor’s father Odin decides his son needs to be taught humility and consequently places Thor (without memories of godhood) into the body and memories of an existing, partially disabled human medical student, Donald Blake. After becoming a doctor and thoroughly believing himself to be the young surgeon Blake, he later discovers Thor’s disguised hammer and learns to change back and forth into the Thunder God. The real Blake’s persona remains elsewhere until many years later, after Odin becomes satisfied of Thor’s humility and lifts the spell, thereby removing the need for a mortal alter ego. The mortal experience, however, shapes Thor into an honorable and courteous individual, who is loyal to all comrades.
Thor, Protector of Midgard
Being the son of the Elder Goddess Gaea, Thor has a natural affinity for Earth and feels obliged to protect the mortals that occupy it. Thor’s time on Earth is marked by battles against super villains, monsters, cosmic beings, and even other gods. Thor’s principal foe is his adopted brother Loki, who has hated Thor since childhood. Although a master of magic, Loki usually avoids direct confrontations for fear of angering Odin. He is discreetly responsible for the creation and awakening of three of Thor’s principal foes: the Absorbing Man, the Wrecker, and the Destroyer. On one noteworthy occasion, Loki’s tactics are accidentally beneficial – although successful in using the Hulk to draw Thor into battle, it results in the formation of the superhero team the Avengers, of which Thor is a founding and longstanding member.”
Now I’m sure you see how it might be hard to make a Thor movie that fits in the cross-pollinated world that Marvel is slowly creating. Marvel’s previous films based on Iron Man and the Hulk have had a touch of realism and they felt somewhat believable. How do you make a movie about a God and make it feel real? That’s a serious question that the studio must answer The project has been slated for release in 2010, so there is not a lot of time to answer the questions and begin filming. A lot of “news” has broke recently about the Thor film, some true and some rumor.
Famous Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh has been attached to the project as a director for quite some time. I consider this great news. The man has become an expert on not only Thor, but the whole Marvel universe, since he took the project. That’s some serious dedication. Branagh even knows more about the character than some comic book people do. He has an impressive vision for the film too. A script leaked a while ago that set up Thor as a fantastical epic based entirely in Asgard. While that version of the script has been scrapped, apparently the core ideas are still the same. The Thor film will largely take place in Asgard, and this is currently being compared to the Lord of the Rings. It will have a “sword and sorcerer” type feel. The script has been described as “beautiful” showing some of the most mythical parts of Thor’s history. But Marvel wanted to have Thor exist in their realistic world, so how do they do it? The end of the film will establish Thor’s human connection by introducing Dr Donald Blake. It is unknown at this point how Blake will tie into the movie and the Thor character, but at least we now know how Marvel intends to make Thor fit into their universe. Now we can be confident that Thor will be included in The Avengers.
They have a script and a fantastic director, so they need an actor and then they can start filming. If they have already discovered that actor, they are doing a fine job of hiding it, because we don’t really know who should be considered the front runner in the race to play the God of Thunder. We’ve heard a lot of rumors though. Pro wrestler Triple H has been attached, Brad Pitt and Kevin McKidd were at one time considered but are now considered too old to play the part, and the new Bond Daniel Craig famously turned down the role. It is entirely possible that the studio still has absolutely no idea who will play Thor. They have released a casting notice for several unnamed characters, and judging by the character description of one particular character, one of the open roles could be Thor himself. Here is what they had to say in the casting call:
“Male MUST BE MID-LATE 20′s and SIX FEET OR TALLER. LEAD.
Physically powerful, very handsome, occasionally egotistical, petulant, and wild. A natural warrior with a quick charming wit who must be genuinely and severly humbled before becoming the compassionate, mature her of our film.”
This could all be mis-information, Michael Bay style, but Marvel has no history of this, and that wouldn’t make any sense for the studio to do. So we should, at this point, consider the role of Thor uncast. There has been a lot of debate amongst Thor fans as to how old the character should look. We’ve seen him look anywhere from early 20’s to late 30’s. The most well known image of Thor, for average middle Americans anyway, looks to be in his thirties. So it is a bit confusing to hear that Marvel wants a younger actor for the part. You’d also think that they’d be looking to lock up a big name for the part, to help put people in seats. The character is not very well known to non-comic fans, so it could be a hard sell. That’s definitely a topic that should be reconsidered. Who should play Thor? Some of you may remember a while back that I wrote a post covering the heroes that were to be included in The Avengers film, and I offered a suggestion for who should play Thor. But I am very interested in hearing all of your thoughts on who should play the Thunder God.
At this point, we really don’t know much else about the film. A lot of it has been kept under wraps, and there have been a lot of rumors floating out there, but not much concrete stuff. It is anticipated that the film will begin shooting in June or July, and wrap some time around September. The studio is considering a June release in 2010, but you have to think at this point that the release date would be pushed back because they still do not have an actor in mind. But I am very excited about this project. Thor is such a cool character, and the movie could look amazing if done properly. I really think they got the right guy to direct and the ideas for the script are great. This movie should end up being epic. It certainly has the potential!