Sam Raimi’s Thor
The MCU finally welcomed it’s own version of the Norse God Thor in 2011, but it could have happened WAY before that! That’s right, Sam Raimi, the director of the greatest Spider-man franchise of all time, almost made a Thor movie. He pitched the idea to Marvel Studios in the 1990s, but they turned it down, and that was with a full vote of confidence from Stan Lee! In 2004, Sony Pictures acquired the rights to Thor and hired David S. Goyer to write a script. However, Goyer left the project to help write and produce Batman Begins. In 2008, Marvel Studios regained the rights to Thor and after courting DJ Caruso and then Guillermo Del Toro, they would hire Kenneth Branagh to direct the film.
From Thor to Loki
One of the most important aspects of the film, especially seeing as how the character would effect the franchise for over a decade, was the casting of Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Of course, he wasn’t the first choice. As a matter of fact, Hiddleston was intent on portraying the title character of Thor. He even had a fantastic audition. The studio executives had their sights set on some one with some Loki experience, none other than Jim Carrey. The production team wasn’t keen on that idea though, and searched high and low for a worthy candidate. Charlie Cox, our modern Daredevil, was one such actor to put forward a strong audition for the role. The internet had other plans though. A huge campaign, with petition and all, made a huge push for the casting of Josh Hartnett. Josh had spurned superhero movies in the past, including the role of Batman on Batman Begins, but had become interested in the genre. The cyber noise was loud enough to garner a meeting with the director. Ultimately it was Tom Hiddlestons audition for Thor that peaked Kenneth Branaughs interest. It helped that the two of them had previously worked on stage together in Shakespeare productions. Branaugh new what Hiddleston was capable of and offered him the role of Loki.
A Loki in 3 parts
Now that Tom Hiddleston had the role, how would he approach it. He had spent so much time preparing for Thor. Now, he had to change directions and find a different vibe. Tom dove deep into the mythology of Loki, as well as the Marvel comics lore to find out who Loki was. After much consideration, it was clear that the multi dimensional aspect of Loki required a mix of influences. Hiddleston would pull from the edgy and reckless nature of Peter O’Toole, the unpredictable and nearly insane nature of Jack Nickolson, and the simmering anger of Clint Eastwood. It’s a true testament to the ability of Tom Hiddleston that he could pivot from Thor to Loki and put forth a performance that would endure for 14 years.
Rapid Fire Facts!
- The movie was in development for over a decade before it was finally made.
- Sam Raimi, David S. Goyer, Matthew Vaughn, DJ Caruso, and Guillermo del Toro were all approached to direct the movie, but turned it down.
- Kenneth Branagh was eventually chosen to direct the movie.
- Tom Hiddleston based his performance as Loki on three different actors: Peter O’Toole, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood.
- Studio executives wanted Jim Carrey to play Loki, but he turned down the role.
- Josh Hartnett and Charlie Cox were also considered for the role of Loki.
- The movie was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $449 million worldwide.
- It was the fourth highest-grossing movie of 2011.
- The movie spawned two sequels, Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
- Thor is set to appear in the upcoming movie Thor: Love and Thunder (2022).
Wrap It Up!
Thor (2011) is a movie that took over a decade to finally come to fruition. It’s almost serendipitous that we went through so many attempts and iterations to get to the perfect storm of director and cast. It didn’t hurt that the MCU was blooming into a franchise, allowing the movie to capitalize off of past success and the future hopes of The Avengers.