The saga of Thor 2 continues, with word that Marvel Studios is closing in on a director to replace Monster director Patty Jenkins, who dropped out of the sequel due to creative differences with Marvel (though, word is the studio will employ her talents on a future film).
Our own Rob Keyes reported on the increasing problems Marvel is having with its film directors, as Jenkins joins Thor director Kenneth Branagh, Incredible Hulk star Ed Norton, and Iron Man 1&2 director Jon Favreau in the camp of those who have worked with the studio, but ultimately left the fold due to what is suspected to be a creatively-stifling environment.
Indeed, the question that we've been mulling for some time now here at Screen Rant is how Marvel can hope to balance the very specific demands of its shared movie continuity with the creative ambitions of the filmmakers and actors the studio hires. To put it another way: how do you find competent and accomplished filmmakers who are willing to surrender to the micro-managing demands of their studio employer? Talk about oil and water...
In the case of Thor 2 (and really, in general) the answer seems to be: hire someone whose talents have brought them a reasonable amount of success, but are still waiting on that big break to push them to the next level. In other words: don't aim high, or low, but squarely at the middle when picking personnel.
This strategy has been effective with choices like Australian actor Chris Hemsworth to play Thor, character actor Chris Evans to play Captain America, or French director Louis Leterrier to helm The Incredible Hulk - and it seems Marvel is going to continue that philosophy, if their shortlist of directors for Thor 2 is anything to judge by.
THR has the exclusive that Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan are the names Marvel is currently considering for the Thor 2 director's chair. Both men have a feature-film directing credit under their belt; however, their work has mostly been in TV, with Taylor having helmed episodes of acclaimed shows like Oz, Homicide, The West Wing, Rome, The Sopranos, Lost, Deadwood, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones - while Minahan has shows like The L Word, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Big Love, Grey's Anatomy, The Good Wife, True Blood and Game of Thrones decorating his own filmography. To most Marvel fans, the Game of Thrones experience will likely be the most promising aspect of both men's resumes.
To sum it all up: these are two candidates with enough experience to make a good film - but more to the point, enough familiarity working within tight narrative confines (given the episodic nature of TV) to make them suitable team players.
Along with a new director, there is the question of the Thor 2 script: the studio is searching for a someone to re-write the initial draft by Don Payne (Thor, Fantastic Four 2), with names like Oscar-nominated writer Sheldon Turner (Up In the Air, X-Men:First Class) previously being rumored for the job. However, THR reports that John Collee (Master and Commander), Oscar-nominee Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan), and Oscar-winner Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction) are the more likely candidates on Marvel's shortlist.
Hopefully, the combination of an acclaimed writer and capable director is enough to make Thor 2 a better sequel than Iron Man 2 was. As it's shaping up now, the hardest road for Marvel Studios won't be the lead-up to The Avengers, but rather the next phase after it. Stay tuned, as this story is sure to develop quickly.
Thor 2 is slated for release on November 15, 2013.