Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok may be a Marvel masterpiece, but it turns out that things could’ve been very different as Jeff Goldblum’s casting as the Grandmaster nearly didn’t happen at all.
Teaming up Thor franchise favorites like Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins, the old guard were joined by new blood from Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, and Cate Blanchett. With a who’s who of Hollywood favorites, Waititi himself even nabbed several parts and had a Jurassic Park reunion thanks to roles for Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum. However, even though Goldblum reigned supreme as the egotistical ruler of Sakaar, it sounds like the Thor threequel was nearly a no-go for the Independence Day actor.
Speaking to Yahoo!, Ragnarok screenwriter Eric Pearson revealed that the wild-haired weirdo was written specifically with Goldblum in mind and that everyone was excited to have such acclaimed acting talent on board:
“There are so many different ways you can go with that character. He could be a power-hungry monster. Or he’s cool and vindictive. And they’re like, ‘We’re going to Jeff Goldblum.’ And I’m like, ‘Got it.’”
With Pearson helping write the part to suit the actor’s stereotypically over-the-top style, he said that a wrench was thrown in the works when it looked like Goldblum was out of the movie:
“And then at one point they came back and said it’s not going to work out. I’m like, ‘No! Who’s going to do all this now?’”
The screenwriter doesn’t go any further on whether it was production or personal priorities that got in the way, but thank the Norse gods that Goldblum’s departure didn’t last for very long. While the part of the Grandmaster could’ve ultimately gone to anyone, it is hard now to imagine it not being played by Goldblum. Interestingly, Pearson noted that the part of the the Elder of the Universe could’ve gone anywhere, but it was only when Goldblum was tipped for the role that he knew where to take the character.
Thankfully, everything worked out for the best, and Goldblum’s turn as the dictator with a penchant for gladiator battles fit perfectly with Waititi’s promise of having a more light-hearted Thor movie. Given that Thor: The Dark World was criticized for its particularly grim tone, Waititi, Goldblum, and the whole Sakaar segue splashed some much-needed neon into the 17th MCU movie.
Alongside Waititi’s part as Korg, or Karl Urban’s redemptive Skurge, everyone has their favorite newcomer from Ragnarok. With the MCU undoubtedly now eyeing plans for Thor 4, a Grandmaster return is almost inevitable. Also, with some sketchy family ties to Benicio del Toro’s Collector, expect Goldblum to be around for the foreseeable future as the MCU moves toward more cosmic movies in Phase 4 and beyond. As for another Jurassic Park reunion? Well, Waititi is already planning on bringing Laura Dern on board with Neill and Goldblum if he’s to return to the franchise, so watch this space.
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