After a pair of Earth-based Iron Man films and The Incredible Hulk, Marvel Studios boldly went where no other Marvel feature film had gone before: to other realms. Before flashing back to World War II with Captain America: The First Avenger in the summer of 2011, fans were taken on an otherworldly journey, one that involved multiple worlds from the cosmic side of the Marvel Comics universe.

Earth (or Midgard as it’s known as in Norse mythology) was the setting for only part of Thor, with much time (albeit not enough) spent introducing Asgard and Jotunheim (home of the Frost Giants). By casting reports and set photos, we’ve pieced together at least two other realms that may be introduced in the followup, Thor: The Dark World, but there may be even more worlds that director Alan Taylor will introduce.

From Cinema Expo 2012 in Russia, Kinopoisk reports that along with Frankenweenie, Oz: The Great and Powerful and Iron Man 3, Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios presented concept art for Thor 2 which depicted some of the other realms from the Thor universe.

“At the presentation, we were presented concept art from which it was possible to understand the scenery of the film will fill the space. The film promises to cover not only the Earth and Asgard, but also all the nine worlds. The studio hopes that the director Alan Taylor, who has experience creating fantasy series, perfectly cope with the task of building the mythical world in the new movie about the god with the hammer.”

By other realms, we are specifically referring to the nine worlds that form the tree Yggdrasil, as drawn by Thor himself in a scene with Jane Foster as he maps out where he is from in relation to Earth/Midgard.

Casting calls for extras match descriptions of characters we’d expect to see in scenes taking place on Svartalfheim (home of the Dark Elves) and Muspelheim (home of the fire giants). Set photos from the beginning of principal photography in the UK confirm that Svartalfheim is indeed a setting of at least one major battle Thor partakes in. And with Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who) playing Malekith the Accursed (leader of the Dark Elves) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje playing Algrim the Strong (another Dark Elf warrior), there’s reason to believe the story will also include the character of Surtur, leader of the fire giants of Muspelheim.

In the books, there’s a very specific story arc (Thor #344-350 which includes the The Casket of Ancient Winters saga) involving these characters and the more we hear from the movie, the more it matches our Thor: The Dark World theories. The latest casting additions of two more Asgardian characters – including Thor’s brother Tyr – also play into a story that could serve as something much larger in setting up Thor: The Dark World and even The Avengers 2.

What does this all mean? From the sounds of it, a substantial portion of Thor 2 will take place not on Earth and that’s a good thing. Asgard was shown as a shiny, empty CGI shell, without much detail the first time around, and the more we learn about the actual culture and life in these other realms, the better. If art was shown at this event of all of the nine worlds it could simply mean that in The Dark World, we’re likely going to see how all the nine worlds fit together, serving only as exposition for viewers. We’re not going to see Thor visiting all of these other realms and meeting their inhabitants. Not yet, anyway.

There are going to be a longship load of characters, settings and plot threads in the Thor sequel and while we understand how complex its story may be and how it may be burdened in setting up The Avengers 2 and/or Guardians of the Galaxy the following year, director Alan Taylor has successfully handled similar situations with Game of Thrones.

Fun fact:

  • In Marvel Comics, Odin has a mystical viking longship called Skipbladnir that he uses to travel through space. It can change size and fit in your pocket!

The Thor sequel is being directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) and stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Jaimie Alexander, Tadanobu Asano, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Christopher Eccleston.

Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014 and The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Kinopoisk (via CBM)