Marvel Studios may have found its Thor: Ragnarok helmer in actor-director Taika Waititi as we reported earlier this month but now we're learning why Marvel is seeking someone with comedy chops to helm the third Thor adventure. As it turns out, Thor: Ragnarok's script is too dark.
Both Thor and Thor: The Dark World are some of the lightest and comedic films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and given the weaknesses of the story and villain of the sequel, a change in direction and tone is something the next movie - about the "end of all things" no less - really could use. But not so for Marvel Studios' revamped leadership.
Earlier today we reported the rumor that Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner a.k.a. Hulk would be returning in Phase 3 before the next Avengers movie, and that it could be in Thor 3. Confirming that news with their own source, BMD reports that this is indeed the case. They also add that the Thor: Ragnarok screenplay by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle is too dark, hence why Waititi was brought in to direct and tweak the picture. Another writer may join the creative team too to lighten it up to fit the Marvel formula.
That could be good or bad news depending on who you ask, but the exciting stuff comes in the newly revealed Thor 3 story details. BMD's inside sources reveal that Hulk's role isn't just a guest appearance, but a lead part where he and Thor will enjoy a "cosmic adventure" of sorts. They'll come across the Valkyries on their journey and yes, there's a very real possibility the Valkyrie readers may recognize from the Defenders, Secret Avengers, Ultimates, Marvel video games and the Hulk vs. Thor animated feature, known as Brunnhilde will be introduced.
The Valkyries, in the Marvel Comics and Norse Mythology, are the goddesses who choose the worthy fallen warriors from the battlefield to bring them to Valhalla. There they feast and prepare for Ragnarok (the end of the universe). And from what Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said last year when announcing the title Thor: Ragnarok, the movie will have a major impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe as its name implies.
So, not only is Hulk leaving Earth in Phase 3 to join Thor in this event, but Marvel may introduce another powerful Asgardian superhero who could make her way to Earth eventually. Interestingly enough, Valkyrie almost debuted in Thor: The Dark World. Marvel Studios commissioned concept art during pre-production but decided not to use the character. Here are some of those concepts that Josh Nizzi (Avengers 1 & 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) designed for Marvel for an idea for how a live-action adaptation of Valkyrie may appear:
Valkyrie is Asgardian, sports the appropriate armor and uses a large sword as a primary weapon. In all of Nizzi's art she utilizes a spear as well, an appropriate weapon for horseback (Pegasus?) combat.
BMD doesn't have the precise details on the Valkyries and how they'll factor into the Thor: Ragnarok story yet, but if Brunnhilde is introduced, Marvel Studios may have solved their long-term Thor problem. Chris Hemsworth's contract, like many of the other original Avengers stars, ends with Avengers: Infinity War and if Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige - who does have more financial freedom now as the real boss of the film division - can't re-sign the Aussie star, there's a logical way to continue the series.
We explained how the studio can take a page from the source material if they needed or wanted to develop Thor 4 without Hemsworth as its lead, and it involved introducing female Thor. In the comics, that version of Thor (introduced last year) is actually Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman in the movies. By all accounts, Portman was unhappy with Marvel due to original director Patty Jenkins being removed from the project and it's hard to envision the Oscar winner sticking around after her obligation with the studio. That role can be filled by Valkyrie instead.
Wasp announced to be headlining the Ant-Man sequel last week and now Thor: Ragnarok potentially introducing another heroine alongside Sif (Jaimie Alexander) are good news updates for the MCU. We were told to expect Thor 3 casting, writer and director news this year so expect more details soon...
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; Black Panther - February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.