Mythology-rich ‘Thor’ sequel will find Asgard under siege by both the Marauders and Dark Elves


If you're going to hire the "Game of Thrones" director to call the shots on the new "Thor" movie, you're going to get a rich, detailed mythology ... and quite the creature feature, too.

"Thor" was the hard sell of Marvel Films' Phase One as it was charged with the daunting task of implanting one of the most curious and bizarre comic book heroes of all time into the mainstream consciousness ... and of bringing in the same summer movie box office dollars as, say, "Iron Man."

"Thor" worked, thanks not only to Chris Hemsworth's charismatic and dedicated performance as the Norse god of thunder reimagined as an interdimensional super-warrior but also to director Kenneth Branagh's bombastic, operatic and confident direction; indeed, Branagh brought a sense of theatricality and Shakespearean class to the proceedings, turning what could've been a ridiculous train wreck into a grand piece of pop art.

We'll soon see if lightning (or, rather, thunder) can strike twice as Alan Taylor takes on the directing duties of the arguably more difficult undertaking, "Thor: The Dark World." We believed in Thor in both his stand-alone movie and as part of "The Avengers," but can his strange story continue without getting lost in nichey, hopelessly convoluted and completely inaccessible comic book lore?

The only way to find out is to go even deeper into the culture and history of Asgard, Thor's home world.

“By bringing director Alan Taylor into the mix, with his expertise on 'The Sopranos,' 'Mad Men' and 'Game of Thrones,' we came up with a take that allows us to get more into the nooks and crannies of Asgard and its people," said Marvel Studios executive producer Craig Kyle in an interview with Empire Magazine. "We spend more time on the ground with the commoners, as opposed to in the palace."

Kyle also said that "Thor: The Dark World" will begin with Asgard battered by war and The Nine Realms beset "by rag-tag invaders known as The Marauders," a race which could be a variation on the team of assassins employed by supervillain Mister Sinister that was first introduced in "Uncanny X-Men" #210 (Oct. 1986). This leaves Asgard in a weakened state ... which allows for the invasion of the Dark Elves, led by Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston).

This is exciting news for Marvel enthusiasts and hardcore fans of "The Mighty Thor" comic book series, though Kyle admits that the adventures of the god of thunder remain difficult to adapt for the screen.

"It's a very complicated blend [of genres: high science fiction, gritty fantasy, and realism]," he said. "'Thor' is, until 'Guardians of the Galaxy' hits, by far our most wild, fringe Marvel piece. But that's why it's the Marvel Universe and not Marvel Earth!"

"Guardians of the Galaxy" is, of course, the one with the talking raccoon and walking tree-thing, but that's a conversation for another time. "Thor: The Dark World" will hit theaters on November 8, serving as the second chapter of Marvel's Phase Two following the May 3 release of "Iron Man 3."