Superhero movie headlines have been rampant this past week, ranging from reports revealing Warner Bros./DC’s developing plans for (potentially) a shared movie universe to counter that of Marvel’s – and multiple leaks from the set of Iron Man 3 (which officially began production this week). That shouldn’t change in the immediate future, what with the 2012 Comic-Con, the theatrical release date for The Dark Knight Rises, and the start date for shooting on Thor 2 approaching fast.

Today, we have word that Thor co-star Josh Dallas will not reprise his role as Warriors Three member Fandral in the sequel, since he’ll be tied down working on ABC’s Once Upon a Time TV series when production gets underway. However, it appears that Marvel already his replacement lined up and ready to go.

Heat Vision is reporting that Chuck leading man Zachary Levi is up to take Dallas’ place as Fandral in Thor 2. Although negotiations between Levi and Marvel have yet to officially begin, the actor is believed to be pretty much a lock for the role. That’s partly because Levi was an original contender to play Fandral in Thor two years ago, and was only forced to resign after Chuck received an eleventh hour reprieve from cancellation.

It stands to reason that Thor’s fellow Asgardians – including, Fandral and the other two-thirds of the Warriors Three, Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) – along with gate guardian Heimdall (Idris Elba) and warrior woman Sif (Jaimie Alexander), could all get more screen time in the sequel. Moreover, if the film does see Thor (Chris Hemsworth) venture out further into the cosmic realm of the Marvel movie universe, all of the aforementioned players may also get to do a lot more fighting than they did in the God of Thunder’s first movie.

Sif and the Warriors Three in ‘Thor’

We’ve been given reason to expect as much, what with Hemworth’s suggestion that Thor 2 director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) could embrace the Viking influence on Asgardian mythology and deliver a sequel that’s more unpolished and gritty in terms of style. Not to mention, indications that one of the film’s villains (possibly, Hannibal‘s Mads Mikkelsen) will be quite the nasty piece of work. Throw in a subplot concerning the damaged relationship between Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in the aftermath of The Avengers, and there’s plenty of rich thematic material that can be mined for Thor 2.

Of course, the film will also cover the continued romance between Thor and human scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) – so it’s best to take any talk of Thor 2 as a pure mixture of emotionally-charged character drama and gritty action (in an expanded, ethereal setting), with a grain of salt.

Thor 2 is expected to begin principal photography later this summer, for a November 8th, 2013 theatrical release date.

Source: THR