Are you concerned about Marvel Studios handing their biggest project ever over to Joss Whedon, a man who's not had box office success with his films and whose latest TV show was cancelled? Are you curious as to how he'll handle so many different character arcs and ensuring a shared film continuity? If you stuck around to see the easter egg scene after the Thor credits then you've already seen him at work.
As it turns out, while Thor director Kenneth Branagh was working on post-production for Marvel Studios' first character solo film of the summer, The Avengers director shot the added scene and lead-in to The Avengers.
*** If you've not seen Thor and its Post-Credits scene - Spoilers Ahead! ***
The added sequence at the end of Thor features Stellan Skarsgard's Professor Erik Selvig character being taken down into an underground S.H.I.E.L.D. base where he meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Fury applauds him for his work during the whole Thor-crashes-on-Earth situation and shows him a very special item, the Cosmic Cube. That item of course will tie into the story of Captain America: The First Avenger which we'll see later this summer.
The more important reveal of this scene is when it is shown that Loki, presumed dead by Thor and Odin, is actually in control of Professor Erik Selvig. This therefore acts essentially as a prologue to The Avengers where Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is the main villain (or at least, one of them) and has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.
We didn't know Whedon had a hand in shooting that brief scene until Skarsgard revealed it himself in an interview with Empire during the Cannes Film Festival. He explains that he flew back just to shoot that scene and that he knows his story arc for his role in The Avengers but that he cannot reveal anything about it.
Since Whedon was hired as director, he's jumped right into acting as a godfather of sorts to the Marvel cinematic universe. In addition to totally taking over the script from Zak Penn, he's met with fellow Marvel directors and is having a hand in all the features, at least in some capacity, to ensure they all jive together. Him helping direct a scene in Thor is just one example of this and he helped consult on Captain America to ensure its title character (Chris Evans) and his journey will mesh perfectly with The Avengers.
Whedon is a master when it comes to handling a large cast of important characters and he knows the Marvel source material better than anyone, having helped written multiple comic series for the publisher (see: Astonishing X-Men). Let's hope Marvel Studios and the vast amount of talent behind The Avengers let him do what's necessary to make The Avengers the best way possible.
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The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgard. It is of course written and directed by Joss Whedon, opening in theaters on May 4, 2012.
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