As the summer blockbuster season winds down we look forward to the fall season where Thor: The Dark World will test the waters as the first non-summer release by Marvel Studios. The sequel will see Thor return to Earth as a new enemy force threatens not only Asgard and our home, but all of the Nine Realms.
Last fall, just a few months after The Avengers broke box office records around the world and before Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with Iron Man 3, we traveled to the London sets of Pinewood and Shepperton Studios to visit the production of Thor 2. During our time there we spoke with star Chris Hesmworth about his updated role in Asgard and the Nine Realms since the events of Thor and The Avengers, and his relationships with Jane, Loki, Odin, Sif, and new villain Malekith.
Hemsworth, bloodied and dirtied from battle, walked into the tent area where our group of journalists sat. He was wearing a dark cloak, partially covering his armor. It was Thor, in person, and he looked better than ever as the Asgardian Avenger in his updated duds.
Where is Thor at this point when the movie starts?
Chris Hemsworth: "Um, where is he? I mean, Avengers is kind of a side step in amongst everything I think for all the journeys - Iron Man and you know, Thor, and this is certainly a continuation of it, but at the same time, Thor’s journey I think picks more so up from where we left the first one - About to take on the throne, about to earn him the right to the king, and now coming to the realization of what responsibility comes with that. Also, Alan [Taylor] keeps talking about the dark side of that responsibility, and the secrets of being king or becoming sort of very political about what people need to know and what they want to know. Um, so, if I quote him saying that. [Laughter]
And obviously Tom’s on set so it’s sort of this, this is continuing which is great to have some meatier stuff with Tom. Certainly in The Avengers the stuff I got to sink my teeth into was- was those scenes and follow up our relationship. And the ongoing sort of question from Thor about what it is that Loki wants, and why, and how did we come to this? And I think we get to kind of possibly attack some of those questions properly."
Are we going to see as much comedy on this as The Avengers or has it got more of a serious edge?
"Um, hah-hah, well no because Downey’s not here. [LAUGHTER]. He takes care of that for us. I think that, you know, I mean Jane and, or Natalie, and Kat Dennings certainly have some great humor. There’s a few nice kind of fish-out-of-water moments with Thor, but not quite as naive and obvious as the first one. But there is. I think the earthbound stuff sort of really grounds the story in- in both films, and keeps a lightness to it that trickles to Asgard as well."
On the first film, there was a lot of time on Asgard and a ton of time on Earth. How does it break down the percentage in the sequel in terms of where you guys are spending time?
"It's certainly set in both worlds pretty substantially. Like last time, pretty similar I think. We certainly see more of Asgard and more of the nine realms in this film than we did in Thor. Thor was kind of, we were just on Asgard whereas this is... there's a bigger universe out there which we get to explore."
How is the experience different on this film working with Alan Taylor as director verses Kenneth Branagh on the first?
"Obviously, you know, two different people you get two completely different styles, but also two very different stories - Origin story versus this sort of part of this ongoing - it's moving now, and especially since Avengers. [Alan Taylor] certainly didn't come in with different angle or attitude on how Thor should be. We all sort of knew where it was headed, and had the same want to elevate it and take it to that next level. And Alan, you can even see with the set design sort of wanted to ground it in a more organic tone. It's definitely... you know, Game of Thrones obviously is set in a reality-based world but there're fantasy elements which are quite prominent in this. It's similar to what we got going over here."
What can you tell us about Thor’s relationship with his father and Lady Sif this time around?
"Um, you know... Not much...[LAUGHTER] In the comic books there's obviously an attraction with Thor and Sif, or what have you. There was little peppering of that I think in the first one. Little hints at it. There may be, [LAUGHS] might be more indication... uh, I'm a politician. [LAUGHTER]
The stuff with Odin’s interesting because... you've got to have the right amount of conflict in order for this to be interesting and have some sort of butting heads..."
At this point, a vehicle drives by, interrupting the discussion with its loud engine and horn. The group laughs and jokes about it being Tom Hiddleston driving it. Hemsworth jokes that it's "new Asgardian weaponry."
"Yeah, the conflict between Thor and Odin was so great in the first one and he didn't want to repeat that, so, certainly they disagree as I think they always will at times but there's a far greater respect from each other. So it becomes, I guess, a more mature conversation, but there’s more at stake this time, too. It's not sort of just their individual egos, the whole universe is at stake."
In the comic books, Thor and Loki have these ups and downs where they’ll be mortal enemies and then best friends, and then back to being enemies. A lot of us are guessing that in the sequel, we’re going to see Thor and Loki as BFFs for a little while. Can you talk about if you guys are on an aligning path in the sequel, and getting together?
"I can't say too much, but I think in the comic books you kind of roll your eyes sometimes at the amount of times they’re back to being best friends. And so we wanted to keep in mind, Loki did just try to kill you for the seventh time - and Earth. It's a big war, and what have you... Maybe there's something we can maybe, [CHUCKLE] ... We have a common need or something which, you know, that would, well... [laughs] You know the scene in Avengers when Thor says 'careful how you speak. He be crazy but it's my brother,' kind of sums it up. Yeah, he's a screw up but he is my brother. I don't think they’re back to being best friends, but Thor's at a loss about how they got to this point, 'cause for him, I think [treachery] stuff came out of nowhere and I think that in this film [Thor] certainly can acknowledge now with a maturity that he should have been more aware of Loki over the years and where he was positioned and all of this, and why maybe that led him down a certain path. I think there's maybe an empathetic view for Loki that no one else can have because they’re not bound by blood, you know."
Avengers 2 is coming. Does the next stage of films act as stand alone films? Do they all still build toward another bigger picture?
"I think they all link up in some way but I think Marvel is pretty adamant about them being their own stories, you know. I was sort of wondering, are we going to start doing cameos in everyone's film, but I guess that would take away from the impact of all of us when we do finally come together. So I think these stories, they kind of segue off into their own world, and each of the Avengers are conveniently not around at the time. [LAUGHTER]
And that's the thing. You watch Iron Man now or the trailer you go, 'where's Cap and where’s Thor? Where’s the Hulk? On vacation or something?' But they’re being really smart about removing everyone in a way that hopefully takes care of that."
Do we get to see more of Thor’s role across the greater Nine Worlds and his place within all of it?
"Yeah, yeah. It’s certainly... we cover more ground than we did in the first one. We're not locked just in Asgard, we certainly venture out into the big universe. But the scope of this just feels massive, you know. I mean there’s...we just were in Iceland for a week, and there's volcanic lava, rock, mountains and snowcapped mountains and we didn't see that in the first one. So it already feels like there's a bigger expanse to it."
Any particular comic stories that were required reading for this?
"No, I hadn't read comics really before coming into shooting the original Thor. And during that, beforehand, I read stacks and got my head around it all. And then, you know, we'd reference - especially when we were putting the script together before we started shooting - other stories. But there wasn't any specific thing which said read this. There were characters, who we went 'remember in this episode where this guy...? Oh, yeah cool, we could use him here.'"
There is such a personal connection between your character and Loki in that competition. I’m curious, what is the dynamic like between you and Malekith, and Christopher Eccleston?
"Well it's tough without giving anything away again. Um, we're obviously not related, you know. [LAUGHTER]"
Is he more involved than Loki? Is he actually worse than Loki in some ways?
"Loki at which point? [laughs] Loki kind of had some redeeming qualities at times, and he’s kind of lost his way as opposed to just never being on the right path to begin with. So that’d be the difference between the two of them."
Is there a personal element for Thor in the battle against Malekith?
"Oh yeah, of course... It’s all bound in this sort of substantial and warranted conflict and, you know, disagreement."
And what about Jane? Are we going to see a bit more of a little story coming up?
"Sure. Yeah, yeah, we get to... Obviously Natalie’s in the film and it sort of picks up where we left off, with the bridge being broken between them and how do we fix that, and..."
She pissed off that you didn’t call her? [LAUGHTER]
"I think she will be, yeah." [LAUGHTER]
"All right, thanks guys."
Click the above photos for the full high-res versions and tune into Screen Rant tomorrow for the premiere of the second official trailer for Thor: The Dark World! In the meantime, check out the first Thor 2 trailer.
Thor: The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor off a script by Christopher L. Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. It 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 releases 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 November 6, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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