As Marvel Studios enters into its bold new post-Avengers era, there will be a lot of moving parts to keep track of. In the coming years we’ll be getting new rounds of superhero solo films (starting next summer with Iron Man 3), and there are still some unconfirmed  (but rumored) projects like Guardians of the Galaxy, which could introduce new heroes and villains into the mix – all leading up to another big showdown in Avengers 2.

Today we have a bit of casting news for Thor 2: Idris Elba, star of The Wire and upcoming projects like Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, will be back for his supporting role as Heimdall.

Despite a lot of controversy over casting a black actor in the role of what is ostensibly a Norse god (i.e., a white character), Elba’s performance as Heimdall – the gatekeeper of Thor’s home realm of Asgard – was one of the highlights of the first Thor. While I’m personally bummed that the Prometheus star is tied to such a minor character in the Marvel cinematic universe – as opposed to playing, say, Luke Cage – he is one of my favorite actors working today, having proven his talent in projects like The Wire and the BBC series Luther.

Check out what Elba had to say to Collider about coming back to play Heimdall in Thor 2:

“I’d just like to get to know him a bit more. Who is Heimdall? He guards the gate. Okay. Is there anything else? I don’t know what is in the script because I haven’t read it yet. But, the audience has responded to Asgard and wants to know more about who lives there and what it’s about. I’m sure, if they do that, Heimdall will be featured more.”

(AVENGERS  SPOILER BELOW! ) 

Loki (Tom Hiddelston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth)

Thor 2 will begin production later this year, in order to make its November 2013 release date.  We’ve already heard from franchise stars like Tom Hiddleston that the sequel will deal with the aftermath of The Avengers – specifically the ramifications of Loki’s actions (possibly in regards to failing his tyrannical ally, Thanos?).

That makes Thor 2 a potentially pivotal film in the second phase of the Marvel movie saga, and things like Heimdall’s role will be interesting to see take shape. If Loki’s machinations have put Asgard in danger (possibly under siege by some cosmic threat?), Heimdall will have to do more than just observe – he’ll have to kick a little ass as well. That would be pretty sweet, no?

Thor 2 is being directed by Game of Thrones producer/director Alan Taylor. It will be in theaters on November 15, 2013.

Source: Collider