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Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is one of the films I’m most excited to see this year. Rumor has it that the trailer is arriving shortly, so let’s take a look at what we have to look forward to.
The what world now?
Thor: The Dark World is set to explore all Nine Realms connected with Asgard (remembering that one of those realms, Midgard, is the one chock-full o’ humans). Vanaheim is the realm of the Vanir gods, and Thor’s mother’s homeland. In Alfheim, Thor will encounter the Light Elves, a peaceful people.
Expect to see Dwarves at work in the fiery forges of Nidavellir, where all those fancy weapons come from. Midgard is our realm, kind of boring when you get right down to it. Jotunheim is the land of the Giants, an icy world that we visited in the first Thor film. Svartalfheim is the land of the Dark Elves, who are far more militant than their Light Elf counterparts. They can move between realms using their own portals. These guys, under the rule of Malekith, will do battle with Thor in the sequel.
Hel is the realm where we normal folks go in the afterlife (as opposed to Valhalla, the resting place for heroes). It’s not the worst place, but in the film I expect we’ll see the creepier side of the realm, like all the giant serpents hanging out with the dead. The ninth realm is Muspelheim, and this one is a doozy: It’s the land of eternal fire, and the home of villanous Surtur (no word yet on whether the god of fire will pop up).
Natalie Portman reportedly wasn’t thrilled to return for the second film, particularly after disagreement over the selection of a director. Portman had favored Patty Jenkins (Monster), who would have been the first woman in the director’s chair of a Marvel Studios film. But, obligated by her contract to return, Portman will reprise her role as Jane Foster. She may, in fact, travel with him to the Nine Realms.
Jaimie Alexander says she’ll get more of a role in this film, but has no scenes with Thor’s current love interest, Jane.
Tom Hiddleston told ITN he’s excited to take Loki in “new directions,” building from his character’s development in Thor and The Avengers. Loki is one of the highlights of Marvel’s stable of movie villains. Hiddleston also has the unique benefit of having built up Loki as a featured nemesis in not one, but two films. Exploring the Nine Realms sounds like fun, but exploring Loki’s character sounds fascinating.
And everyone else?
Of course, we can’t have Thor without Chris Hemsworth, but Anthony Hopkins also will return as Odin, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Stellan Skarsgard as Dr. Erik Selvig, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, and Rene Russo as Frigga. Zachary Levi will replace Joshua Dallas as Fandral.
Doctor Who alum Christopher Eccleston, joins the cast as Malekith, leader of the Dark Elves, accompanied by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Algrim the Strong / Kurse.
Behind the scenes
Director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) is hard at work on the film right now. Hemsworth is a big fan of Taylor’s work, saying, “It’s grounded in reality, no matter how mythical or science-fiction-like it becomes. There’s a truth to it all.” Thor was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who best known for his adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, and gave a sense of epic nobility to Thor. Taylor has proved through Game of Thrones that he can successfully portray human drama in the midst of big explosive battles, but he may have a different aesthetic sense than Branagh.
With plenty of opportunities for intense battle scenes, new character development, and hammer-swinging adventure, Thor: The Dark World looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Thor: The Dark World opens Nov. 8.