Marvel Studios has already settled on an official release date and commissioned a screenwriter for Thor 2. However, the comic book movie sequel is currently without a director, since Kenneth Branagh decided to pass on calling the shots on the mighty Asgardian's next solo venture.
Word has been circulating recently about Marvel being on the prowl to find another director for the Thor followup, sooner rather than later - and now, a viable candidate has emerged.
Variety is reporting that Brian Kirk has begun early negotiations with the studio to direct Thor 2. The film will mark Chris Hemsworth's third onscreen appearance as the famous hammer-wielding warrior, following his appearance in next year's superhero team-up extravaganza, The Avengers.
While Kirk's filmography only includes one relatively obscure, feature-length theatrical release, he has some impressive credentials as a TV episode helmer. Kirk's resume includes multiple-episode stints as director on shows like The Tudors, Funland, and Father & Son. More recently, he directed a single episode on Dexter and Boardwalk Empire - as well as two episodes of Luther and three of HBO's hit Game of Thrones series (including "The Wolf and the Lion", "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things", and "Lord Snow").
It was Kirk's work on Game of Thrones that really caught the attention of Marvel studio heads, who were pleased by his ability "to juggle ensembles of thesps and complex storylines... while also grounding the fantasy genre." Naturally, they decided he was a nice fit to helm Thor 2, for that reason.
If there's one thing that Branagh always brings to the table as a director, it's a sense of theatricality; even when he fails, he does so in grand fashion. Thor definitely benefitted from that, especially with regards to the portions of the film that took place in Asgard or concerned the dynamic between Hemworth's warrior, his non-biological sibling Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and father Odin (Anthony Hopkins).
While Kirk does not have the history of producing lavishing motion pictures like Branagh, he definitely has solid experience, when it comes to grounding the fantastical elements of a story - not to mention, character drama and conflict, which Thor 2 is bound to be ripe with.
Even though Thor was only partially constricted (in a narrative sense) by its obligations as a prelude to The Avengers - and it managed to integrate a S.H.I.E.L.D. subplot in a less clumsy fashion than Iron Man 2 did - the sequel should have more breathing room to further explore different aspects of the Thor mythos and flesh out its characters better. So long as Thor 2 screenwriter Don Payne - and whoever ends up directing the film, be it Kirk or someone else - can manage that task, it should be another solid addition to the Marvel movie collection.
Thor 2 is scheduled for theatrical release on July 26th, 2013.