The Avengers scribe Zak Penn candidly reveals that he was initially skeptical about Thor's chances of translating well on the big screen until he saw Chris Hemsworth. The veteran writer is no stranger to comic book films having written Fox's X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand before he started writing for the then-budding Marvel Studios. First working on Edward Norton's The Incredible Hulk and the aforementioned smash ensemble blockbuster, Penn looks back on his contributions to building the now $14-billion-worth MCU.
Keep in mind that by the time Penn has started working on The Avengers, Thor, as well as Captain America: The First Avenger, were still both in development, which meant he has no idea if Hemsworth's Asgardian Prince and/or Chris Evans' Super Soldier would be well-received like Iron Man, especially after two divisive films in The Incredible Hulk and eventually Iron Man 2. Even Kenneth Branagh, who directed Hemsworth's superhero debut film, admitted to having immense pressure on making the Norse-mythology-meets-superhero project work on the big screen.
Speaking with THR in light of his latest work, Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, Penn looked back on his career's biggest milestones, including writing The Avengers. While director Joss Whedon eventually came in to do some rewrites on the screenwriter's first draft, the 50-year-old is still given a writer credit on the movie. In the interview, Penn gets candid on the creative process in bringing to life Marvel Studios' first ensemble flick, including his initial concerns.
“I remember Chris Hemsworth walking through the Marvel offices and being, ‘Oh, my god, that guy is Thor.' Originally I was trying to reduce how much Thor was in the movie. Once it was clear that, no, this is going to work and they were excited about it, then I did not [reduce Thor in the script]. I stopped doing that.”
Despite Penn's realization, Marvel Studios continued to struggle in presenting Odinson on the big screen. While his debut film was well-received, Thor: The Dark World is considered one of the worst installments of the franchise. His fellow Phase 1 batch mates - Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man's and Evans' Captain America's solo films were better received than his. This didn't miss the Australian actor, prompting him and the company to take a huge risk in Thor: Ragnarok. A departure from the grim and sometimes even space operatic nature of the first two Thor flicks, Taika Waititi's contribution to the MCU is fun and quirky. And considering Hemsworth's comedic chops, the project became both a huge critical and box office success.
It's interesting to think what The Avengers would've turned out if Hemsworth didn't at least sell the idea of an Asgardian prince coming to Earth. Not only is he pivotal member of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Loki was also the central villain of the movie's narrative. If it wasn't for the God of Mischief, Marvel Studios' first ensemble movie would've lost much its appeal given that many memorable moments from the film stemmed from character interactions with the adopted Asgardian royalty. Further, it solidified Tom Hiddleston's place as one of the best villains in the MCU.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018