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MCU: 10 Things You Might Not Know About THOR

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1. A long time ago, when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was just a twinkle in Kevin Feige's eye, work began on development to bring the Marvel comic book character of Thor to the big screen. How long ago, you ask? Almost 30 years, that's how long.

In the early 1990s, Sam Raimi was attached to direct a Thor feature, and it was touted as being his next movie after Darkman, but 20th Century Fox, who owned the rights at the time, didn't like his concept and the movie went into a period of development hell.

Then, in 1997 plans were underway to produce a made-for-TV movie based on the Crown Prince of Asgard, with Canadian actor Tyler Mane approached to star. The production never got past the planning stage.

Come the early 2000s, Marvel had the rights to the character back and spent the best part of 4 years shipping the idea for a Thor movie around to various studios, but nobody took the bait. Until, that is, when in June 2004 Sony Pictures Entertainment purchased the film rights, and six months later announced that David S. Goyer would write and direct a Thor movie.

Disagreements on his direction with the character saw Goyer pull out, and by 2006 Paramount Pictures had acquired the rights from Sony, announcing their intended Thor feature would be written by screenwriter and Thor fan Mark Protosevich. He later described the proposed film as:
" a superhero origin story, but not one about a human gaining super powers, but of a god realizing his true potential. It's the story of an Old Testament god who becomes a New Testament god."
However, the script was so laden with VFX-worthy sequences that it would require $300 million to film, and Sony quietly nixed the idea.

2. In August 2007, Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to the character (with Paramount retaining distribution rights) and announced that Thor would be part of their newly created Marvel Cinematic Universe, debuting within, what would be referred to as, Phase One. Matthew Vaughn was bought in as director, he rewrote and trimmed Protosevich's script to bring the budget down to $150 million, and intended to start filming in late 2008

Vaughn was released when his holding deal expired in May 2008, and Marvel approached several other directors. Guillermo del Toro was offered the directors chair but turned it down in favour of The Hobbit (which he subsequently left). In September 2008 D. J. Caruso was discussing taking on the project, and later that month it was revealed that Kenneth Branagh had entered into negotiations to direct as well. Finally in December 2008, Branagh confirmed that he would be the man behind the camera, bringing Thor to the big screen, with Protosevich's original script being reworked by J Michael Straczynski.

3. Over the years of development, Marvel had considered several diverse actors for the role of Thor. At one time Brad Pitt's name was attached to the movie, along with Channing Tatum and WWE wrestler Paul Levesque (aka Triple H). When Matthew Vaughn was on board with the project, Daniel Craig was said to be his first choice.

When the film finally went into pre-production, both Charlie Hunnam and Joel Kinnaman screen tested for the part of Thor, but they were cut when a final three were chosen, consisting of Chris Hemsworth, his brother Liam Hemsworth, and True Blood's Alexander Skarsgård.

In an interview with MTV Skarsgård revealed he considered himself to be front runner. He had met several times with director Kenneth Branagh and Marvel head Kevin Feige, and had even had a full Thor costume produced and fitted. The MTV reporter said to him he thought Skarsgård should've won the role as he had the perfect look for Thor, Skarsgård responded "So did I."

His father Stellan Skarsgård landed a role in the film as professor Erik Selvig.

4. At one point in time during the casting process Chris Hemsworth was dropped from consideration, whilst his brother, Liam, remained a front runner. However, director Kenneth Branagh and Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige decided to give Chris a second chance to read for the part, and both thought he nailed it (Hammer....Nail....Geddit? Oh, I don't know why I bother!).

To prepare for the role of Thor, Chris Hemsworth gained 20 pounds of muscle build and weight by undergoing a six month regime of trips to the gym and indulging in a massive diet of eggs, chicken, sandwiches, vegetables, brown rice, steak and protein drinks.

5. Throughout the period of development hell, Jim Carrey had been linked to the part of Loki on and off for 15 years, basically since he starred in The Mask (which indirectly featured Loki), but by the time the Marvel production was casting, Josh Hartnett looked to be front runner for the part.

However, after originally auditioning for the role of Thor, Tom Hiddleston was offered the role of Loki instead as Kenneth Branagh felt he would make a better antagonist.

6. Amongst the other actors considered for key roles were;
  • Zachary Levi as Fandral. Hee had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. Stuart Townsend was then cast in the role, but days before filming began he left the project due to creative differences, and Josh Dallas was cast. (First choice, Levi would later play Fandral in Thor: The Dark World).
  • Both Jessica Biel and Diora Baird auditioned for the role of Sif. Jaimie Alexander won the part of course. She had served on the wrestling team at her high school in her Texas hometown of Colleyville, so used that fighting experience in her portrayal.
  • Brian Blessed was linked to the role of Odin. Later, Stan Lee revealed that out of all the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Odin was the part he really wanted to portray. But he also said he was very happy with Anthony Hopkins's casting and performance in the role.

7. Talking of Stan Lee, you couldn't miss his cameo as the truck driver who attempts to tow Mjolnir out of the ground, but you might not know that co-writer of the film and one of the most respected writers of the Thor comics also has a cameo. That's J. Michael Straczynski trying to lift Mjolnir above.

Another Thor writer/artist, Walter Simonson, makes a cameo sitting next to Sif during the banquet scene.

8. The town in which Thor temporarily settles, and the one in which he has the showdown with the Destroyer Armour, was entirely constructed for the movie. Built in Galisteo, New Mexico, to serve as a fictional location for the film, it utilised the remains of a small old-fashioned Western film town set, which was extensively modified, grown and added to for the shoot. Which was probably a good thing given how much damage the town sustained when the Destroyer Armour wrecked it.

9. In the Asgard weapons vault you can spot several infamous Marvel comics artifacts, including   the Eye of Agamotto, the Orb of Agamotto, the Eternal Flame, the Tablet of Life and Time, the Infinity Gauntlet, and the Casket of Ancient Winters.

10. Thor's alternate identity/personality as used in the comic books, Dr Donald Blake, was originally going to be in the film, with Kevin McKidd considered for the part. It was quite late in to rewrites when the character was removed.

As a nice tip-of-the-hat to that though, when Jane lends Thor a shirt that she claimed belonged to an old boyfriend it has a name tag on it that reads Donald Blake M.D.

Bonus fact: Jeremy Renner pops up for a brief uncredited cameo. When Agent Coulson asks for someone to "go up top" to get a good firing position, Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, is the man for the job.

Read All Our MCU Trivia Articles
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