Thor is the film I’m most cautiously curious about in the Marvel Film Universe as we advance down the timeline to The Avengers, the first superhero team-up film to be produced and written as a collaboration between free-standing franchises. Iron Man 2, Thor and the Captain America movie will all (hopefully) have threads that get connected in The Avengers, and it’s the little decisions within each franchise that determine if The Avengers will be the final layer of paint in a great collaborative masterpiece or a slap-shod assembly of left-over ideas that fails to feel like a single film.
Of the entries in the unified Universe, Thor is the only character who is, and always has been, a god. And that’s what makes me nervious. Captain America: iconic comic book character. Iron Man: already worked on screen. Thor has to bring a whole fictional realm to screen and make it believeable when the Thunder God is standing next to Robert Downey Jr in the Iron Man suit.
Adding to the equation of Kenneth Branagh’s big experiment in comic book movies is Natalie Portman, who has joined the cast as Jane Foster, Thor’s first love. In the comic books, Jane Foster is a Nurse who works with Donald Blake, the closest thing Thor has to a secret identity. In the comics, Blake would turn into the Thunder God, but the film version looks to be re-arranging Foster’s storyline, since Blake may not appear in the film at all (or that might be the ending, depending on what rumors you believe).
The Marvel press release does include our first hints of what the plot of Thor’s big screen debut is:
Marvel Studios expands its film universe with a new type of super hero: “Thor.” This epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe; from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.
Portman closes our principal casting trifecta thus far and will star opposite Chris Hemsworth who will play Thor and Tom Hiddleston who will play the villain Loki. The film will start shooting early next year and has a planned release date: May 20, 2011.
The Marvel Universe films that will be be squished in Thor’s characters also have release dates: Iron Man 2 on May 7, 2010, The First Avenger: Captain America on July 22, 2011, and The Avengers on May 4, 2012.