The second chapter of Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings moviegoers back to Asgard in a big way, but it also delves into several new key locations from the comics. Half of the running time of Thor: The Dark World is spent on Earth with the other half spent on Asgard and other worlds yet to be explored.

In the sequel, director Alan Taylor not only fleshes out Asgardian culture and adventures to the other realms hinted at in Thor, but the story he’s attempting to tell takes a deeper look into Marvel’s take on Norse mythology, many elements of which may be laying the groundwork for Thor 3.

Screen Rant visited the production of Thor: The Dark World last October and on our first day we journeyed through large outdoor sets that represented a pub, streets and several buildings within the city streets of Asgard – something that didn’t make an appearance in the original film which spent its time primarily in the shiny palace of King Odin. The largest area in these sets was the Einherjar training grounds.

In Norse Mythology and in Marvel Comics the Einherjar are fallen warriors who spend their death feasting and forever fighting, waiting for the day of the Ragnarok where they can fight for Asgard once again. From what we can gather in the film they’re more of an elite fighting force as opposed to the “dead” and we will see them train with Odin looking over them as a General of sorts.

What’s interesting about their inclusion though is the connection to Ragnarok, an apocalypse of sorts that represents the end of Asgard. On day two of the Thor 2 set visit, executive producer Craig Kyle walked us through the art room and showed us imagery of another important part of Norse mythology – the tree of Yggdrasil – and explained what it means for the film and the great Marvel universe, foreboding a potential major future story arc.

“This is Hall of Science again, another place you’re going to see today. This is gonna be a pretty neat spot that we actually get to explore, which will go into the various breakthroughs and discoveries of the Asgardians where you’ll see functioning models of the Big Bang and all these wonderful technologies that no human has ever laid eyes on before.

And inside’s gonna be this living tree, which we believe is connected to Yggdrasil, the cosmic tree.  And the effects and woes and success of the universe are spoken through this, this living object.  So, should the end of all things ever come this would probably be the first thing to fall.  And we have a really tremendous scene in here with Thor and Odin.”

The end of all things? Are you guys talking about Ragnarok?

“It’s one of the bigger stories, right?  [LAUGHS] So, who knows?  [LAUGHS]”

In Thor, Loki and the Frost Giants of Jotunheim were the primary antagonists. In Thor: The Dark World, Malekith and the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim take on the villain duties. If Thor 3 is in the cards for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the next logical enemy faction would be the Fire Demons of Muspelheim and their leader Surtur.

In Marvel Comics there are some interesting alliances formed between Loki, Malekith and Surtur in an attempt to free Surtur so I asked producer Craig Kyle if Malekith could be working for someone else.

“It’s hard to say. [LAUGHS] I know in the comics he did.”

Are we going to see Fire Demons? Kyle continued:

You’re gonna see aliens from all over, uh, specifically, you know, it’ll be a wait and see. [LAUGHS] Like I said we are moving further out into the nine realms of the universe, so, you know, you can’t fly too far before you hit something else in the universe.  So [lAUGHS] we’ll see.

Marvel is always looking ahead and if the Thor franchise is to continued, it would be strange for the realm of Muspelheim to not be explored. There are many big story events that could be taken from the books and used in future films, including Surtur attacking both Asgard and Earth. We expect, that like Odin’s vault in the first movie, there will be many easter eggs in The Dark World, some of which will be seeds for the future of the franchise.

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, 2014The 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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