Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, served as the primary antagonist of Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First introduced in Thor and later returning to unify The Avengers in a failed attempt at invading Earth. While Loki returns for Thor: The Dark World, a new character in Malekith takes the spotlight as the foil for people of Asgard.
For the Thor sequel, director Alan Taylor, the writing team and Marvel Studios developed a timeline to detail Malekith’s history and relevance to Asgard and the other realms from Norse mythology. We don’t know quite how or why but after 5,000 years, Malekith and his vast army of Dark Elves are back to wreak havoc on the universe.
We spoke with Alan Taylor on the set of Thor 2 last fall and I asked him about the motivations and goals of Malekith, played by Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who), and his people, since that was one of the earliest confirmed story elements for the sequel
“It was clear early on that we were going to be dealing with the Dark Elves and that Malekith was going to be our guy. And let’s see. I’m trying to remember the process by which it evolved. He’s very much on a mission of vengeance and reclaiming what is rightfully his. That’s not an unfamiliar device. [LAUGHS]
You know, early on, I started thinking, like he’s got something in common with Roy Batty (Blade Runner) who had a righteous mission that you sort of sympathized with. Had a kind of humanity, even though he was an evil bastard. And obviously, his name’s escaping me, but the bad guy in J.J. Abrams’ wonderful Star Trek.”
“Very similar thing. Out to avenge something. So that sort of came along with him. It started getting more personal. I, being an American, I found myself bringing some Osama Bin Laden in it [LAUGHS], but we always knew he was on a task to… I think two things happened. His mission became grander and grander, and we sort of invented a time scale for where he’s been. And what his backstory is, that make it big enough for Thor. I think other superheroes can fight bad guys in Gotham City or can fight bad guys in Metropolis or whatever, but Thor is part of this epic thing he’s also got going on. Our villains haven’t been around for 5,000 years. They’ve been pissed off since the Big Bang so there’s a kind of scale. Odin’s father had to fight them.
Again, it’s a history lesson. It’s a scale to what his mission is, but also, on the other hand, trying to make it intimate. It’s important that you have a – you saw him with Adewale, who’s playing Algrim, who later becomes Kurse. It’s important for me to give an intimate relationship, so you felt kind of brotherly – you know, you’ve got Thor and Loki, and you’ve got Algrim and Malekith so you have some chance for a kind of an intimate connection. So it’s not just mustachioed villains blowing things up. [LAUGHS]
With any Marvel movie, there’s always seeds being planted for the future, and more often than not, a bigger or more complex explanation for the events taking place. In the books, Malekith the Accursed, has a deal with Surtur – the leader of the fire demons of Muspelheim. Whether or not that factors into the film franchise – a la Thanos reveal in The Avengers - or is a part of a potential Thor 3 down the line we’ll have to see. I asked executive producer Craig Kyle about the fire demons and whether or not Malekith could be working for someone and to both questions he said “who knows” and “we’ll have to wait and see.”
Are you hoping to see Thor get a full trilogy and more of that part of Marvel Comics explored on screen”?
Alan Taylor directs Thor 2 off of Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins.
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, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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