[UPDATE: Scroll Down to Find Out Which Actor Could be Playing the Villain in Thor 2.]
The glow of success is still shining bright around The Avengers - but that doesn't mean the cast of the film is getting any rest. Robert Downey Jr. is already into production on Iron Man 3 with writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), while Chris Hemsworth is already gearing up for Thor 2, this time under the guidance of Game of Thrones director, Alan Taylor.
With the Iron Man and Thor sequels speeding down the pipeline, the superhero movie rumor mill is already churning with speculation and about what is coming in "Phase 2" of Marvel's Avengers movie universe. While we know Iron Man 3 will feature a story about a nanotechnological virus unleashed as a terrorist threat, Thor 2 has been something of a bigger question - especially when it comes to the issue of the villain.
[WARNING! AVENGERS SPOILERS COMING!]
The Avengers left off with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) being arrested by his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and transported back to Asgard to face justice for attacking the Earth. Of course, one subplot of the Avengers story was Loki's partnership with an extraterrestrial ally - one who warned him of the consequences he would face, should he fail to capture the Tesseract (cosmic cube). At the end of the film it was revealed that ally is classic Marvel Comics villain Thanos, who has direct ties to the cosmic universe of Thor. With Loki having failed in his mission, some comic fans naturally assumed that Thor 2 would focus on Thanos attacking Asgard, looking for revenge against Loki and seeking the tesseract, which is now assumedly stored in Odin's vault (along with a few other Marvel mystical artifacts of importance).
However, this is not the case according to Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth.
Talking to MTV, Hemsworth claims that Thanos is NOT the villain in Thor 2, as far as he can see. Here's how MTV described the exchange:
We already know that Natalie Portman will be returning to the project to reprise her role as Jane, but will we also see a return of Thanos? We won't because, according to Hemsworth, he would be "too easy."
"We need a bigger fish," the Aussie said with a laugh.
UPDATE: It seems that "bigger fish" could be Clash of the Titans and Valhalla Rising star Mads Mikkelsen, whom Variety reports is currently in talks with Marvel to play the villain role - which we're guessing is not Thanos (though that wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility). American moviegoers probably recognize Mikkelsen best as the villain hammering James Bond's gonads in Casino Royale; the actor has had bit parts in several big franchise films, including the aforementioned Titans, and Paul W.S. Anderson's recent Three Musketeers remake. We'll be sure to keep a close eye on the situation as a deal between Mikkelsen and Marvel gets worked out.
Hemsworth also described how Thor 2 is shaping up in general - and what it's like working with Taylor, one of the minds behind arguably the hottest show on TV right now:
"Alan Taylor is directing, and he's one of the producers and directors of 'Game of Thrones.' I love that sort of mythical element, that there was an organic real world there, and I think Asgard and Thor's ethereal universe could be injected with that," Hemsworth said. "It could be more sort of tangible. So more locations, less green screen. I think the Viking influence that that sort of world came from. It should feel [tangible]. It should exist more, instead of too shiny, clean, golden."
(We know many fans will be in total support of that idea.)
"You've always got to tie in Earth, I think. But Thor in the comic books, I found, that after the initial kind of establishing the character got more interesting because there were so many realms and things to explore."
Hemsworth's sentiment in that last sentence echoes our own discussions on the Screen Rant Podcast about Avengers 2 - namely, that the Marvel movie universe will split in two directions: one based on Earth (like Iron Man 3) and one that concerns the larger cosmic universe. I think I speak for a fair number of fans when I say that if we DON'T see more of the cosmic realm in Thor 2, it will be something of a disappointment (because Natalie Portman's Jane Foster is NOT an adequate conciliation prize).
Of course, Hemsworth himself had to admit that he hasn't seen the script for Thor 2 - by Don Payne (Thor) and Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, Falling Skies) - and neither have we, for that matter. Given the big success of The Avengers (and the surplus in money - part of which has already been funneled into Iron Man 3), the Thunder God's sequel is a picture that could ultimately take a different shape than initially expected.
Thor 2 will be in theaters on November 15, 2013.