If you haven't listened to our Comic-Con 2012 wrap-up Podcast - first of all, you're missing out on some great news and analysis about the new Marvel and DC movie news we learned at the 'Con - second of all, you missed us talking about the villains of Thor 2, who I speculated were being directly hinted at based on the implications of the film's newly-announced subtitle, The Dark World.
With actor Mads Mikkelsen having vacated a yet-unrevealed role as one of the baddies in the Thunder God's sequel, we've been left to speculate about who might fill the actor's shoes - and which character's shoes the replacement would be filling. Today, we may have an answer about that latter point, but be warned: POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOLLOW BELOW:
Website I Review Too had an interview with stunt man James Grogan, in which Grogan was touching upon the point of a stunt man needing to also be a quality actor, when the topic of Thor 2 popped up. Said Grogan:
“The other day for example, this is quite random but I was working on Thor 2. I had a load of stunt guys in and the director came in and he said ‘Look, we want you all to be elves,’ and I was like ‘What the hell is an elf anyway?’ and he said ‘I want you all to walk around like these supernatural animals,’ honestly it was the most ridiculous thing ever but you just have to not be self aware and get on with it.”
For months now there have been a handful of villains that were being rumored as the antagonist(s) in The Dark World, the most common being Thanos (the cosmic tyrant revealed at the end of The Avengers); Surtur (a fire giant/demon), The Enchantress (a powerful sorceress, accompanied by an axe-wielding enforcer known as Skurge); and of course... The Dark Elves, led by Malekith The Accursed.
The Dark Elves inhabit the realm of Svartalfheim, and possess superhuman intellect, enhanced strength, speed, stamina and agility. Malekith, their evil leader, is also a sorcerer who can teleport, shape-shift, cast illusions, and fire energy blasts; his one great vulnerability is (wait for it)... iron metal.
In the comics, Malekith has made several bids to conquer Asgard; he's partnered with Loki, attempted to unleash the Cask of Ancient Winters (Frost Giant weapon seen in Thor 1), has impersonated key members of Asgard in attempts to take the throne, and has even possessed the minds of Earthlings. In short, he has all the qualities that would serve Thor 2 well, from a narrative standpoint: he could infiltrate Asgard (remember all those important artifacts in Odin's vault?) and/or terrorize Thor's allies on Earth (like Natalie Portman's Jane Foster).
On a broader topic: In our Comic-Con wrap-up Podcast, we voiced our concern that Thor: The Dark World will be the next Marvel Movie to suffer from Iron Man 2 syndrome. With Marvel branching their universe off into a cosmic world that includes Asgard, the nine realms, other alien species seen in The Avengers and soon to be seen in the confirmed Guardians of the Galaxy movie, it could fall on Thor 2 to be the foundation upon which a lot of the "Marvel Cosmic" brand is built. Trying to cater to the many plot threads of the Avengers shared universe ultimately undermined Iron Man 2's story - a misstep we're pretty sure no fan wants to see repeated.
Hopefully, screenwriters Don Payne (Thor) and Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) are going to deliver a solid standalone story that isn't strangled by it shared universe obligations. To that end, the story of Malekith and the dark realm of Svartalfheim would be a great way to expand the Marvel cosmic universe in an organic and logical way. The introduction of dark elf magic might also lend credit to some rumors about a Doctor Strange Thor 2 cameo we've heard whispers about...
Thor: The Dark World will be in theaters (supposedly) on November 8, 2013