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Everything A True Fan Should Know About ... THOR (2011)

The final choice for the role of Thor came down to brothers Chris Hemsworth and Liam Hemsworth. Chris found it funny: "We both came all the way over here from Australia and ended up battling against each other." He however bore no ill-will towards Liam, claiming he was rooting for him to get the role.   
Tom Hiddleston prepared for the role by going on a strict diet before and throughout filming, so that Loki would have a lean but hungry visage.
Kenneth Branagh asked Anthony Hopkins to improvise his reaction to Thor's yelling at him in the banishment scene. Hopkins agreed, and when the scene was filmed many of the cast/crew present were sobbing. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston later said they had to struggle to keep their composure during filming that scene. Hiddleston later complimented Hopkins, to which he said, "Ken's fantastic, isn't he?".   
Stan Lee claims he'd always wanted to play Odin, but was happy with Anthony Hopkins's casting and performance in the role.   
When Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins saw each other in full armors for the first time, Hopkins said "God, there's no acting required here, is there?"   
Dr Selvig mentions a comrade who got mixed up with SHIELD, whom he described as "a pioneer in gamma radiation"; this alludes to Bruce Banner, whose experiments in gamma radiation mutated him into the Incredible Hulk. A deleted scene also has him mention Hank Pym, also known as Ant-Man.   
It's mentioned in passing that Thor's hammer was forged inside "a dying star". This actually makes a modicum of scientific sense. When a very large star dies in a supernova, sometimes its remains collapsed to form a "neutron star". These objects cram the mass of the sun into the size of a city, forming a new kind of matter nicknamed neutronium. A single teaspoon of this material would weigh billions of tonnes. If Mjölnir was made of this material, it would certainly explain its incredible weight.   
When Tom Hiddleston learned he was going to be in the film, he was in "a grizzly pub" in North London, and caused an uproar there by screaming out loud.   
Tom Hiddleston initially auditioned for the role of Thor, but Kenneth Branagh felt he would make a better antagonist and cast him as Loki.   
The Norwegian village seen in the flashback is the same one the Red Skull invades to steal the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).   
According to Kenneth Branagh, the closing credits sequence was based on images from the Hubble Space Telescope and took 18 months to create.
When the Destroyer appears on Earth, the SHIELD agents speculate that it could belong to Tony Stark (Iron Man). In the storyline 'Fear Itself', Tony Stark acquired Destroyer armour from Asgard.   
Brad Pitt was rumored for the role of Thor; Channing Tatum and WWE wrestler Paul Levesque (aka Triple H) was considered for the part; Daniel Craig was the first choice; and Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Alexander Skarsgård, Liam Hemsworth and Joel Kinnaman tested for the role, but finally Liam's brother Chris Hemsworth got the part.   
Kenneth Branagh conceptualized this film as a Norse/comic-book twist on William Shakespeare's Henry V (1989), which was about a young king who underwent trials and tribulations: fighting a war, courting a girl from another land, trying to live up to the example set by his father (a beloved king), and basic character development.   
The film makes extensive use of actual Norse mythology (which the "Thor" comic was based on):
  • the war between the Asgardians and the Jotunns was based on the Aesir-Vanir war (the Jotunns were in fact a non-hostile/antagonistic race)
  • Odin's ravens Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory), who gather information in Midgard and relay it to Odin, are sitting on his throne during Thor's coronation ceremony
  • the Bifrost, originally thought of as the rainbow by the Norse, is seen as a beam of rainbow light.
  • when Odin appears in Jotunheim, he is riding his eight-legged horse Sleipnir
  • a Jotun calls Thor a "little princess" - once Thor's hammer was stolen and he dressed up as a Princess to go back and retrieve it
  • and Thor shows Jane a drawing of a crossroads with nine orbs in it - his perception and representation of Yggdrasil, a great tree around which the nine worlds are tethered, making up the universe.
Kenneth Branagh has been a fan of "Thor" since childhood. When Marvel Studios selected Branagh as the director, they sent him the complete collection of the Marvel Thor comics series as reference material for the character.   
Tom Hiddleston researched Marvel Comics' Loki and found him to be a multi-dimensional character, so based his performance as Loki on three different actors: Peter O'Toole (enigmatic reckless persona), Jack Nicholson (edgy and near-insane persona), and Clint Eastwood (persona with simmering anger).   
To prepare for the role of Thor, Chris Hemsworth put on a massive amount of build and weight, through a six-month regimen of trips to the gym and indulging in a massive diet of eggs, chicken, sandwiches, vegetables, brown rice, steak and protein drinks.
The agent that grabs a bow and arrow when Thor is attempting to recover Mjölnir is referred to as Agent Barton. Clint Barton is the real name of Hawkeye, the archer hero in the Avengers comics who later appeared in The Avengers (2012).
Mjölnir is ancient Norse for "crusher."   
To prepare for his role as Loki, Tom Hiddleston trained in the Brazilian martial art of capoeira.   
Anthony Hopkins claims he relates to his role of Odin: "I'm a little like Odin myself. He's a stern man. He's a man with purpose. I play the god who banishes his son from Asgard because he screwed up. He's a hot-headed, temperamental young man, probably a chip off of the old block... but I decide he's not really ready to rule the future kingdom, so I banish him. I'm harsh and my wife complains and I say 'That is why I'm king.' He's ruthless, take-it-or-leave-it."   
As Thor is leaving the restaurant to go to the crater site and Jane follows him, you can see a small water tower at the end of the street that says "Welcome. Home of the Vikings."   
Tom Hiddleston found Loki's helmet very uncomfortable, as it was heavy to wear and he couldn't see properly out of it. He channeled this discomfort into Loki's battle scenes.   
Tom Hiddleston described his role of Loki as "a comic-book, but nastier version, of King Lear's Edmund." In the William Shakespeare play, Edmund was a prince who was jealous of his brother Edgar and tricked his father into banishing him into exile.   
According to Kenneth Branagh, the film's biggest challenge was connecting the worlds of Asgard and 21st century Earth: "It's about finding the framing style, the color palette, finding the texture and the amount of camera movement that helps celebrate and express the differences and distinctions in those worlds. If it succeeds, it will mark this film as different... The combination of the primitive and the sophisticated, the ancient and the modern, I think that potentially is the exciting fusion, the exciting tension in the film."
Anthony Hopkins signed on as Odin despite never reading a "Thor" comic or knowing anything about the Thor mythology. It was the concept of the father and son relationship that intrigued him about the role.   
Both Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hiddleston were performing in a West End stage production of 'Ivanov' when it was announced that Branagh would direct this movie. At the 2010 Empire Movie Con, Hiddleston recalled one night when, as a joke, he burst into Branagh's dressing room wielding an empty plastic container from a water cooler like Mjölnir, shouting "Come on, Ken, what do you think!?". Brannagh's response was reportedly a very jokey "You never know, darling, stranger things have happened". Two months later, Hiddleston was auditioning for Thor, before landing the role as Loki.   
Thor refers to Agent Coulson as "Son of Coul," misinterpreting his surname as "Coul's Son," in the way Norse cultures construct surnames (John's son becomes Johnson, etc.).   
In Norse mythology Thor's nickname was "protector of mankind" (which is apt, considering Thor's superhero status today). Scandinavians until this day wears mjölnir-amulets, refereed to as "torshammare".   
Kenneth Branagh was inspired to do the scene where Odin rips off Thor's chestplates from The Life of Emile Zola (1937), where a disgraced army officer was stripped of his rank.   
When Dr. Selvig is in the library looking at the book of Norse Mythology, there is an illustration of Odin walking across the Bifrost bridge with his Gungir spear in one hand and the Tesseract in the other. In Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), the Red Skull mentions that the Tesseract was the jewel of Odin's treasure room.   
An entire town was constructed in Galisteo, New Mexico, to serve as a fictional location for the film.   
Jaimie Alexander had served on the wrestling team at her high school in her Texas hometown of Colleyville, so she says she had some experience in fighting to use in her role as Sif.   
To prepare for the role of Heimdall, Idris Elba read the "Thor" comics where Heimdall was featured prominently: "He's a very central character and I wanted to reflect him as he is in the comic books."   
According to producer Kevin Feige, the Bifrost bridge is the films's most interesting set: "In the comics, it's literally a rainbow that extends out from Asgard and pops down on Earth. We're not necessarily doing that; we're not having the big hard solid lines of colors. We're saying it's some sort of energy, almost a solid quartz bridge that as the light catches it and flows through it, you get some of that rainbow-esque quality to it."   
According to Chris Hemsworth, the action coordinators experimented with different combat styles, but ultimately the fighting technique Thor utilizes is an original one, based on boxing: stance low to the ground, with big powerful hip movements.   
There is a billboard in the town advertising for New Mexico tourism with the slogan "Land of Enchantment - Journey into Mystery". "Land of Enchantment" is the nickname of New Mexico, "Journey into Mystery" is the title of the Marvel comic book where Thor made his debut (Journey Into Mystery #83).   
In the film, the casket of Ancient Winters was held by the Frost Giants of Jotunheim; in the comics it was held by the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, in particular their leader Malekith the Accursed. In the film Loki holds the Casket and asks Odin if he is accursed, in homage to Malekith.   
The film's portrayal of Thor combines the classic Marvel Comics character (Thor is cast down to earth to as punishment for his arrogance) with the Marvel "Ultimate" character (Thor is dismissed by many on earth as a crazy deluded man).   
This is Rene Russo's first film in six years. According to Russo, her daughter who persuaded her to work on the film after a long sabbatical.   
The Earth town where most of the film is set is named "Puente Antiguo", which means "old bridge" and could be hinting at the Bifrost using it as a frequent destination point.   
Colm Feore's makeup as Laufey the Frost Giant took five hours to apply.
Natalie Portman took the role of Jane Foster because she couldn't resist the opportunity of a comic-book film directed by acclaimed director Kenneth Branagh: "I was just like Kenneth Branagh doing 'Thor' is super-weird, I've gotta do it."   
Originally, the persona of Dr Donald Blake (Thor's alternate identity/personality) was going to be in the film, and Kevin McKidd was considered for the part. However, Blake is used as a false identity for Thor.   
Tom Hiddleston was chosen after previously collaborating with Kenneth Branagh on the theatrical play 'Ivanov' and the TV series Wallander (2008).   
The artifacts seen in the Asgard weapons vault are of various mystical objects seen in the Marvel comics. They are, in chronological appearance:
  • the Orb of Agamotto,
  • the Tablet of Life and Time, a slab that can extend one's lifetime
  • the Eternal Flame,
  • the Eye of Agamotto,
  • the Casket of Ancient Winters, a enchanted container filled with frosty winds; plays a major role in this film
  • and the Infinity Gauntlet, a glove encrusted with six reality-bending jewels (only seen briefly when the Destroyer attacks the Jotun thieves
Thor's armor is an amalgamation of the current Thor costume in mainstream Marvel continuity and the "Ultimate Marvel" comics universe.   
To prepare of the role of Fandral, Josh Dallas drew inspiration from renowned swashbuckler Errol Flynn and his films: "Flynn had a lot of that boyish charm that Fandral's got all that in him." The comics' characterization of Fandral was also based on Flynn.   
According to Kevin Feige, the filmmakers placed the Foo Fighters song "Walk" in the film because they thought its lyrics were strangely appropriate for the film: "If you asked two months ago if we would have a Foo Fighters song in this movie, I would have said I don't think so. But we heard the song, and it just has these eerie appropriate lyrics and themes. Ken in particular just loved it with these lyrics about learning to walk again and the way that fit the themes of the movie about redemption, learning to be a hero."   
This is Anthony Hopkins's first comic book film (The Mask of Zorro (1998) is debatable). He was previously offered the role of Alfred in Batman Begins (2005).   
The Science & Entertainment Exchange collaborated with the filmmakers on the film design and production with three physicists (Sean Carroll, Kevin Hand and Jim Hartle, as well as physics student Kevin Hickerson) to provide a realistic scientific background for the film. This collaboration resulted in changing Jane Foster's profession from nurse to physicist, and used the terminology "Einstein-Rosen bridge" (named after Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen) to describe the Bifrost.   
Zachary Levi was approached for the role of Fandral, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. Dominic Cooper was rumored but Stuart Townsend was then cast in the role. But days before filming began he left the role because of creative differences with the filmmakers. Finally Josh Dallas took the role.   
For his role as the warrior Volstagg, Ray Stevenson wore a specially designed fat suit that gave Volstagg a round but tough appearance: "What we've done is kind of sex Volstagg up... he's got every bit of that Falstaffian verve and vigour, and a bit of a beergut to suggest an enormous appetite, but he's not the Weeble-shaped figure in the comics. He's Falstaff with muscles!"   
In April 2006, screenwriter and "Thor" fan Mark Protosevich wrote a script for the film, which he described as "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, so when Matthew Vaughn signed on, he rewrote and trimmed the script to bring the budget down to a more agreeable $150 million.   
Colm Feore described his role of Laufey as "the Napoléon Bonaparte of Frost Giants", and drew inspiration from Anthony Hopkins, Max von Sydow and Paul Scofield (it was originally going to be all Hopkins, but Kenneth Branagh said they didn't need two Hopkins in the film).   
This is Rene Russo's first comic book film. She was previously considered for the role of Chase Meridian in Batman Forever (1995), but was replaced by Nicole Kidman when Michael Keaton left the project and was replaced by the younger Val Kilmer.   
This was the first film to get theatrical release AFTER it was released on home video in Indonesia.   
Chris Hemsworth has had prior experience with wielding a hammer, having worked as a builder in Australia for a few years.
Alexander Skarsgård was one of the actors in the running for the role of Thor primarily for his physical appearance. Oddly enough, Alexander's own father Stellan Skarsgård landed a role in the film as professor Erik Selvig.   
A model of the Infinity Gauntlet, an all powerful weapon capable of controlling aspects of reality (soul, time, space, power & mind) in the "Marvel Comics" universe, was constructed for this film. The model is made from bronze and copper (with jewels made from resin) and weighs 60 pounds. It was built to be operational so that animatronics could be built on it.   
In the 1990s, Sam Raimi had planned to direct this film after Darkman (1990). He later went on to do Spider-Man (2002), another Marvel hero, and its sequels.   
This is Natalie Portman's second comic-book film after V for Vendetta (2005).   
In 2005, Matthew Vaughn was going to direct this film, describing it as "the birth of a hero, interweaving Gladiator (2000) with Norse mythology." He went on to direct the comic book films Kick-Ass (2010) and X-Men: First Class (2011) for Marvel, and Stardust (2007) for DC Comics.   
The filmmakers cite the work/art of "Thor" writers Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Walter Simonson and J. Michael Straczynski as an influence on the look of the film.   
Jim Carrey was a long-time favorite and candidate for the role of Loki since The Mask (1994), which indirectly featured Loki (but put in more fame his magic powers). Josh Hartnett was also rumored for the role.  
According to Tadanobu Asano, he is of part-Norwegian descent and so he felt it was a "necessity" for him to work on a film based on Norse mythology.   
There are exactly 1309 VFX shots in the film.  
Jessica Biel was rumored and Diora Baird auditioned for the role of Sif.  
The Enchantress was initially going to appear and concept art of her exists online.   
According to Don Payne, Jane Foster was more of a stereotypical scientist (dry and skeptical), but Natalie Portman wished to revise the character to make her more poetic: "She thought Jane could be someone who thinks outside of the box, someone whose theories are considered outlandish and are frowned upon by the scientific community. But it's the kind of thinking that leads to great discoveries. When Thor arrives, she's willing to take a leap of faith - and she has to pay the consequences for it."
Brian Blessed was rumored for the role of Odin. 
Around 2000, the film was going to be a made-for-TV special to be produced by UPN, and Tyler Mane was approached to play Thor.   
Although Tadanobu Asano has starred in several Japanese films based on anime/manga comics, this is his first ever film that is an adaptation of an American comic book.   
A model of the Destroyer armour was constructed for the film.   
Josh Dallas described his role of Fandral as "the R. Kelly of Asgard."  
When Thor's silhouette is seen in the lightning storm photographs, a variety of film equipment can be seen such as a 2K tungsten light and a waveform monitor.   
There was originally a scene where Selvig mentioned a friend and colleague by the name of Hank Pym. The line did make it into the movie, but with the explicit reference to Pym removed. 
Ray Stevenson's 2nd Marvel comic book movie, his first was "Punisher: Warzone".   
In December 2004, David S. Goyer was in negotiations to write and direct the film.   
Around September 2008 D.J. Caruso was discussing taking on the project.   


Stan Lee:  the creator of Thor in 1962, appears as the truck driver who attempts to tow Mjölnir out of the crater it landed in.   
J. Michael Straczynski:  a writer who worked on the "Thor" comics, appears as the first person to try to lift Mjölnir.   
Walter Simonson:  a comic book writer/artist whose work on "Thor" was highly renowned and acclaimed, has a cameo appearance in the banquet scene near the end of the film, sitting between Sif and Volstagg.  


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In Norse mythology, Laufey is Loki's mother, not his father. This change made by the filmmakers was found amusing in Iceland since Laufey is still a popular female name there.   
According to Kenneth Branagh, Odin runs the Marvel Universe. It was Odin who hid away the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and the Infinity Gauntlet in The Avengers (2012).   
In Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor's hammer Mjölnir was first seen lying in a crater in New Mexico. This was based on the comics (Fantastic Four #536), where in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event on Asgard, Mjölnir was cast out to land in Oklahoma, where it lay until Thor came to reclaim it.   
The post-credits scene was directed by The Avengers (2012) director Joss Whedon to connect his film with this one.   
The artifact that Nick Fury shows to Dr Selvig in the post-credits scene (which plays a major part in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and The Avengers (2012)) is the Tesseract, identified to be the the Infinity Gem of Space (a component of the Infinity Gauntlet). It is also based on the Cosmic Cube, a cube-shaped artifact of power.   
In Norse Mythology, Loki is Odin's adopted brother, not Thor's.   
Jane Foster is seen wearing a special top when the Destroyer attacks; on it is a sun partially covered with a thundercloud. This foreshadows the return of Thor's power.   
Samuel L. Jackson describes his Nick Fury post-credits scene as "connective tissue to The Avengers (2012)." 

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