Why Thor Director Kenneth Branagh Didn’t Return For Thor: The Dark World

Thor director Kenneth Branagh admits he "wasn't ready" to go straight into its sequel, 2013's Thor: The Dark World, after spending three years on the 2011 blockbuster that launched a franchise for Marvel Studios. When Disney-owned Marvel set Thor 2 for summer 2013 without Branagh, whose exit was reported to be "mutual and amicable," the studio considered Game of Thrones director Brian Kirk as replacement. By October 2011, future Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins was set to helm the sequel — now dated November 2013 — but the Monster filmmaker exited over "creative differences" just two months later and was replaced by Sopranos and Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor.

"Sometimes with these stories I like to plan them as trilogies, but it's much harder in this world for that to work out because the stakes are so high you've gotta really see how the first one does," Branagh told Collider ahead of new movie Artemis Fowl. "When the first one was finished, essentially it had been three fantastic years of my life, but I needed to recharge on something else. I was too close to the glass on that one, so I would definitely never say never again because it changed my life and changed my career and I'm profoundly grateful for it."

Branagh added he "wasn't ready to go straight into another" Marvel movie, but noted he would "love to be planning something that was a three-parter in movie terms. That hasn't come along yet, but maybe it will."

The Dark World — reuniting Thor stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tom Hiddleston — went on to gross $644 million worldwide in the wake of 2012's The Avengers, where Hemsworth's God of Thunder opposed Hiddleston's Loki and an alien army as part of a newly assembled superhero team.

The sequel was revisited in Avengers: Endgame, where a time-traveling Thor journeyed back to Asgard to retrieve one of the six Infinity Stones sought after by Dark Elves leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) in The Dark World.

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Marvel revamped the Thor franchise in 2017 with the Taika Waititi-directed Thor: Ragnarok, to be followed by Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder in 2022. There Portman's Jane Foster will be granted the power of the mighty Thor.

For Branagh, whose Artemis Fowl is now streaming on Disney+, the director recently told ComicBook.com it would be a "thrill" to helm another comic book movie. "It'd be a thrill, it just hasn't happened yet," Branagh said. "Maybe."