With one Marvel hero down and out, we have the Mighty God of Thunder stepping up to lead comic book fans into the summer blockbuster season of 2011.

I’m of course referring to Spider-Man 4 being officially scrapped today. Yes, believe it or not, Sam Raimi with his crew and cast have parted ways with Sony Pictures and the studio is instead pushing forward with a reboot of the franchise scheduled to begin in 2012. Not to worry though; We have a more powerful superhero set to make his origins known to the world on that same day Spider-Man 4 was scheduled to release. Marvel still kicks off the season next summer.

Thor, my most anticipated Marvel Studios character film, begins production today with one final substitution made to Kenneth Branagh’s ensemble cast in the form of Stuart Townsend getting the boot for replacement Joshua Dallas in the role of Fandral the Dashing.

Here’s the official press release:

January 11, 2010 – Marvel Studios has commenced principal photography on the highly anticipated feature film Thor directed by Kenneth Branagh. In Thor, Chris Hemsworth portrays the title character with Tom Hiddleston in the role of Thor’s brother Loki, and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. Additionally, the studio has cast Academy Award winning actor Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Renee Russo as Frigga, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, Josh Dallas as Fandral, Jaimie Alexander as Sif, Idris Elba as Heimdall, as well as Colm Feore, Kat Dennings and award-winning actor Stellan Skarsgard. The film is slated for release in theatres domestically on May 6, 2011 via Paramount Pictures which will also release the film on a worldwide basis.

The epic adventure Thor spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

The screenplay for Thor was penned by Mark Protosevich as well as Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz, and Don Payne. Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige will produce the film. Alan Fine, Stan Lee, David Maisel, and Marvel Studio’s Co-President, Louis D’Esposito, will executive produce.

In addition to Thor, Marvel Studios is also scheduled to release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including Iron Man 2 on May 7, 2010, The First Avenger: Captain America on July 22, 2011, and The Avengers on May 4, 2012.

With the start of principal photography, I cannot wait to start seeing some of the amazing sets and costumes that have been constructed for this big budget production.

Are you as excited as we are about the Asgardian Avenger?

Thor takes over Spider-Man 4 for a new release date of May 5, 2011.

Source: Marvel