Thor has gone through one of the most vast character arcs of any character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Beginning in 2011 with Thor, the God of Thunder not only had blonde eyebrows but he was eager to be the ruler of Asgard and did not always assign proper value to relationships, people, and factors in making decisions. Along the way, he grew to be a leader and learned his place in the universe, while also experiencing tremendous loss. The last time fans saw Thor, he had gained a bit of weight and fell into a state of depression in Avengers: Endgame but ultimately found a way to rise up and defeat Thanos. For 2011's Thor director Kenneth Branagh, this character arc is one which he calls, "Amazing."
Branagh is currently gearing up for the release of his Artemis Fowl, a film originally slated for a theatrical release but is instead headed exclusively to Disney+ as most theaters around the world remain shuddered, for now. Already nine years ago, he had been releasing Thor around this time in 2011. While he hs been hands off of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since that film, save for a voice cameo in Avengers: Infinity War, Branagh reflected on his time working with Marvel Studios while talking to ComicBook.com.
"In a way, I think we put in some emotional ballast at the front of the story that means he could bounce around and develop in the way that he has and rather like all of the extraordinary ways that the Thor comics do," Branagh said. "There's an amazing diversity of story and character development inside 50-odd years of comics. The films are now doing it with the character."
Introducing Thor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe was no easy feat. The character was the first from the Marvel Comics catalog to have cosmic origins, before the likes of Thanos or the Guardians of the Galaxy were commonly known among moviegoers. Thor required plenty of character-driven moments which is where Branagh channeled his energy. "For me, I thought it was really important that everything we set up there to do with his being banished, his rough diamond beginning, his difficult relationship with his father and his brother," the director said. "All of those things always were going to have tremendous potential if we could just make people connect with it upfront with the authenticity of the character's feelings. I think they committed completely to it and so did the audience. Then, the world was their oyster in terms of where they might go to. In that sense, there's a parallel with the comics that if you build it, they will come, and somewhere at the center of it we got something right that allowed the characters to fly."
Thor from 2011's movie and Thor from Avengers: Endgame are drastically different characters, not to mention the popular version of the character which Taika Waititi brought to the big screen with Thor: Ragnarok. The journey has shown the character's ange as key moments and obstacles continue to define his journey which began in Asgard with family. "I'm so happy that we had that dynastic saga at the beginning of the first one where it was a lot of innate personal family drama," Branagh explained. "I've got a lot of favorite moments in that movie that have headed into other kinds of directions, often very funny ones. I think we were right to do what now seems like a very different world."
Fitting Thor into a line-up which included Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, and Captain America: The First Avenger before they all united in The Avengers in 2012 was a burden which Branagh was ready to take on.
"When that movie was made, the tonal challenges of that new and new burgeoning Marvel universe was so immense," Branagh said. "How do you find a way to let that one live in that first tier of four movies? It was the most extreme. We'd already had the brilliance of Robert [Downey Jr.] and Jon [Favreau]'s Iron Man. We'd already had the Hulk which hadn't quite worked as they'd hope. We'd had the Captain America. We had to find the one with the guy with the blonde hair and rainbow bridge. That was always gonna be tricky."
As for whether or not he would dive back into a comic book movie, only time will tell. "Yeah, it would be a thrill," says Branagh. "It'd be a thrill, it just hasn't happened yet. Maybe."
Are you a fan of the first Thor movie? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram and Twitter! The full interview with Branagh discussing Thor and Artemis Fowl can be seen in the video above.
Fans of Branagh's work can look forward to his Artemis Fowl hitting Disney+ on June 12.