Earlier this month, we learned from a stuntman on the set of Thor: The Dark World that the upcoming superhero sequel would likely feature the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim as one of Thor’s villains. Now, we have learned who will play their leader, Malekith the Accursed.

After Mads Mikkelson passed on the film due to scheduling conflicts with his new TV show Hannibal, Marvel Studios has turned to British actor and former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston for the part. Eccleston is no stranger to playing bad guys, having assumed villain duties for a number of films including Destro in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Eccleston is in “final talks” for the role of Malekith, who is one of Thor’s most powerful foes from the comics. As Screen Rant Senior Editor Kofi Outlaw explained in our previous coverage, “Malekith can teleport, shape-shift, cast illusions, and fire energy blasts” and he only has one (fairly laughable) weakness: a vulnerability to iron.

Interestingly, while the confirmation of Malekith in Thor 2 indicates that we’ll be seeing the realm of Svartalfheim, it doesn’t answer the question of what other realms the Mighty God of Thunder will visit. A recent casting announcement suggested that Surtur’s fire giants of Muspelheim would appear in the movie as well, which would make sense if the plot follows the Casket of Ancient Winters comic arc.

As Screen Rant’s Rob Keyes recently explained:

Malekith – in the comics – is a bad dude who wants the Casket of Ancient Winters (the blue glowing box from Thor) to use as a weapon to freeze the nine worlds. He was exiled by Odin but later freed by big bad Surtur who sends Malekith to use the casket on Earth, creating a massive winter snow fall – this ties into previous rumors which had some enemy faction trying to invade Asgard and to get to Thor, they attack Earth (and Jane Foster), knowing its importance to him. Surtur also had Malekith meet with Loki and make an agreement to have him help with the Asgard invasion – this is where Loki’s redemption can come into play as he deceives Malekith knowing Surtur intends to destroy Asgard.

Assuming that Thor 2 does go with the Casket of Ancient Winters story as its base, it has the potential to be a very entertaining story that introduces the broader cosmic realm of the Marvel movie universe while still being entirely focused on the Thor character.

Thor 2 boasts a strong returning cast, including stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, and Stellan Skarsgård, and Eccleston will undoubtedly be a great addition.

What do you think of Chris Eccleston as Malekith the Accursed? Would you be happy if Thor 2 revolved around the Casket of Ancient Winters?

Thor: The Dark World hits theaters on November 8, 2013.

Source: THR