*MILD SPOILERS FOR THOR: RAGNAROK BELOW*
Director Taika Waititi has addressed one of the scenes in Thor: Ragnarok that was changed during reshoots, explaining why Hela’s destruction of Thor’s hammer was moved from a dingy alleyway to a green idyllic field. The scene in question – of Cate Blanchett’s black-clad villain smashing Mjolnir in the palm of her hand – was recently released as a clip.
Fans had been speculating about this change, since both versions of the scene were included in the trailers for the film. And now that the Thor threequel’s press tour is underway – leading to such treats as Kevin Feige chatting about a female Thor, and some discussion of Lady Sif’s absence from the film - it was only a matter of time until someone asked Waititi about why the hammer-smashing scene was altered.
It was Digital Spy that got there first, asking Waititi in a video interview why this pivotal moment - which takes place after Thor and Loki’s reunion with Odin - was moved from a confined New York alleyway to an open field. Waititi’s answer started off sarcastic (“Alleyways aren’t cool. Fields are cool. Ask anyone”), before getting serious. Here's the reasoning Waititi gave for the change:
"We originally shot some of that stuff on the set of our stuff in New York. What we wanted to do was have them go down to Earth and they see Doctor Strange and stuff but it felt too convenient that he was suddenly just down the road in an alley and also everything, up to then, everything was so fast-paced and all over the place. We wanted to go somewhere peaceful and actually chill out with those characters and be with Odin while he imparts this wisdom and stuff and not have to hear stupid yellow cabs honking out the back."
Further explaining the decision, Waititi stressed that the New York alleyway set "just felt like a terrible environment to have a scene that could be very emotional," and that it was "important for us to be in a beautiful peaceful environment." It’s easy to see where he’s coming from, as the Odin scenes play out quite tenderly in the finished film. The field is a more suitable locale, but moving Odin out of New York meant shifting Hela’s hammer-smashing antics to the new location as well.
It has become common for fans to associate a large amount of reshoots with a film potentially being in trouble, despite the practice by no means being a new one in Hollywood. The tumultuous productions of such films as Rogue One, Suicide Squad, and Justice League are partially to thank for this growing perception, although the widely praised Rogue One proves that extensive reshoots aren't necessarily a signal that the final product will be bad. In this case though, it seems fair to argue that Waititi had a good reason to reshoot the material, and it ultimately ended up improving the film.
Source: Digital Spy