After the success of Iron Man and its sequel, the next character Marvel Studios decided to bank on was Thor, arguably the most challenging Marvel Comics character to adapt from the core team of heroes featured in The Avengers since he's the one who's story takes place in large part, on another planet/realm.
Director Kenneth Branagh succeeded however and Thor remains to date the most financially successful single-character property Marvel has released outside of Iron Man and the studio hopes to continue that success in November with Thor: The Dark World.
While Thor was applauded for crafting believable live-action versions of otherworldly characters and introducing the fan-favorite villain of Loki, it was criticized for its lack of scale in its small-town scenes on Earth and its overly shiny portrayal of Asgard. As it turns out, that's the core issue Alan Taylor had with the original as well and something he aims to rectify in The Dark World.
While interview Taylor on the set of Thor 2 last fall, we asked him about the difference in style and aesthetic in the sequel, something we witnessed first hand while exploring the massive and details sets in London's Shepperton and Pinewood Studios.
"The Ken movie was very successful. He brought together an amazing cast and focused what could be a huge rambling mythology on varying intimate family relations, and brother versus brother, father and son, that was all brilliant.
The only qualm I had with his movie was the look of it, to me, felt too shiny and too brand new. And I understand all the choices. It's basically because the Asgardians in that take were very much a futuristic alien race that we mistook for gods. And when I came in, I was in love with the Norse mythology. I was in love with sort of grounding it more into kind of a Viking or medieval look and a sort of a sense of history and weight and stuff like that.
So, Marvel seemed to have some interest in that as well, so coming off Game of Thrones where we sort of enjoyed combining fantasy with some sense of three-dimensionality and real life, that's what I tried to bring in here. It's a funny balancing act, because you have to be funny, in the way that Marvel's funny, and you have to be true to some pretty absurd things, like you guys saw elves in spaceships. [LAUGHS] But then to try to make that relatable and real and textured and rich and stuff. So, in Asgard, for example, we're seeing the back streets of Asgard rather than the shiny, golden palace, and we go into some shiny palace rooms, but we tend to blow them up this time.
And on Earth, it's London, trying to capture contemporary London. So, ideally, you'll have all the pleasures of something that feels real, but also all of the joys that go with a Marvel movie. We'll see whether we're playing off this combination or not."
Are you excited to explore the streets and culture of Asgard?
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.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news!