We already broke down the teaser trailer for Thor: The Dark World, but with today's full trailer for the film it was clear that there's lots left to talk about. This time, however, we enlisted the cast and crew of the film to shed some light on it, and here are a few tidbits that they were willing to share about what's in store for the Norse sequel...
From the off, with our hero’s (Chris Hemsworth) strut through a medieval-feeling, firelit environment, we have it once again impressed upon us that in director Alan ‘Game Of Thrones’ Taylor’s hands, this movie will have a notably different texture to the last Thor’s blindingly shiny look.
“I’m trying to bring not just the dirtier, grittier, lived-in quality to it that I love,” says Taylor, “but also, because the story has kind of an ancient weight to it, I wanted to try and get that across, too.”
Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is of course back, re-entering the story firmly banged up in jail.
“This is a prison built by Thor’s great-grandfather Buri,” explains producer Craig Kyle. “While the exterior still feels very ancient and stone, the inside of these chambers have been upgraded to hold in new creatures and beasts. Across the way [from Loki], you see Marauders [rag-tag invaders of the Nine Realms] and demons.”
For reasons as yet unspecified, Thor requires his brother’s help in battling the Dark Elves, yet the question of trust remains. And it's help that could bring its own significant risks…
“Each film has serviced their relationship,” says Chris Hemsworth. “And not in a gimmicky way — ‘oh, let’s bring back the brother and pair them up again!’ The dynamic with these two is that conflict only tends to bring them closer. And the big thing is, it doesn’t really matter what your family does, I think most of the time you can forgive them. Even if you don’t want to. It’s in your genes, you just keep coming back and giving them one more chance. Although, my biggest fear was having the audience there, heads in their hands, going, ‘Oh God, you’re gonna fall for it… again!’”
This is The Dark World of the title, or Svartalfheim (home to the Dark Elves), as played by Iceland in a Marvel Studios production which boasts the greatest volume of location shooting yet.
Says Taylor: “I was adamant about going to Iceland [where Game Of Thrones’ Beyond The Wall segments are shot] and England to try and create the climate that I wanted the movie to have — this real geography and geology and atmosphere.”
Here is the other key real-world location (playing itself): Greenwich. And it’s getting trashed by the Dark Elves’ gigantic Ark — the design of which has been noticably tweaked since the last trailer, to make it less organic and more mechanical; compare also the first trailer’s shots of a hooded Malekith with those in this one which now show him wearing more of a hi-tech helmet. “Malekith has gone through changes since we shot,” confirms Taylor.
This is also the third time this year we’ve seen at least part of our beloved capital reduced to rubble.
“I feel a little weird about that because, you know, we’re all blowing up London and it’s not because people don’t like London,” laughs Taylor. “They love London, and they especially love London’s tax breaks. That’s why it gets blown up a lot!”
“It’s such a beautiful place, you know?” adds Hemsworth. “It’s like that line from Fight Club: you just want to destroy something beautiful…”
Taylor’s intention throughout Thor: The Dark World is to “humanize” it as much as he can. Perhaps the most obvious illustration of that here is this revelation that gold-eyed sentinel Heimdall (Idris Elba) kicks back from time to time, and even takes his helmet off.
“Heimdall has some huge, huge scenes in this one,” promises Craig Kyle. “I think anyone who’s a fan of Idris and Heimdall is really going to get an amazing exploration of his character. Everything has been slightly evolved and pushed since the first film — it’s a different time.”
Sif (Jaime Alexander) returns, along with The Warriors Three (although smoothie Fandral is now played by Chuck’s Zachary Levi), here seen mid-battle against the Marauders in Vanaheim (home of Tadanobu Asano’s Hogun). If you look carefully, you’ll notice a significant tweak to Sif’s costume.
“We didn’t do that plunging neckline,” says Kyle. “As sexy as that is, what a perfect place to put a sword! So we were like, “Hmm, maybe it should just been chainmail all across.”
Both Ray Stevenson’s Volstagg and Sif make it clear to Loki that even the thought of backstabbing Thor will cost him his life, and a running gag is established.
“Everyone of Thor’s buddies take Loki aside and say, ‘When you betray him, I will kill you,’” laughs Alan Taylor. “It becomes a thing, because we all know it’s coming, and Loki kind of enjoys all of that.”
Jane (Natalie Portman) gets in on the action, too, cold-cocking the God Of Mischief and explaining, “That was for New York”. But Loki just grins during what must be their first ever meeting (remember he never physically gets to Earth during the first Thor) and comments, “I like her.”
Tom Hiddleston says he had a ball playing Loki this time around. “You think, ‘Well, where next? What’s he going to do?’ What level of remorse does he have? If he does have any remorse or regret: why? Who does he feel guilty in front of, and who does he laugh in the face of? What’s his motivation? If he stands to win, what does he stand to win? So as a character you’ve got all these new motivations, but as an actor I am absolved from playing hero or villain — I’m just a firework, the live wire. And that was more fun than I can possibly tell you.”
Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith, leader of the Dark Elves, is only fleetingly seen in this trailer, but here we hear him for the first time, promising Thor that his bravery will not ease his pain. We also glimpse him here in his full battle-armour and mask.
“The huge challenge for me on this was the length of the make-up,” says Eccleston. “I was in the chair for at least six hours, and then it would take about 45 minutes to get me into my costume and get me kitted up.”
Asgard itself clearly does not escape the devastation in this movie, and here we see Rene Russo’s Frigga — Thor and Loki’s mum — mixing it up with Malekith himself. There is all-round threat escalation in this sequel.
“This is the Empire Strikes Back of Thor!” enthuses Craig Kyle.
Look carefully here at this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of Malekith levitating a captive Jane. The huge, horned creature standing in the centre is Kurse, formerly Malekith’s lieutenant Algrim, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
“Algrim in a way is the most impressive villain presence in the movie,” says Alan Taylor. “He’s quite something when he turns into Kurse. Adewale spends a lot of time under layers of latex and stuff, and I was so impressed by his performance, he brought so much to it. Sometimes we would do his scenes with a stuntman and the movement just wasn’t the same, and we’d go back and shoot it with Adewale because of all the bodywork he put into it. I think he deserves some attention, although he’ll be buried under prosthetics!”
(Also…doesn’t the long-haired guy in green robes at the far left look worryingly familiar?)
Stellan Skarsgard’s Erik Selvig makes a brief, second-long appearance here. Skarsgard informs us we’ll see a significant change in his character in this movie — he’s suffering a kind of post-traumatic stress after having been enslaved by Loki in Avengers Assemble.
“Having a god in your head for a while creates some psychological problems,” he says, “and I’m trying to get rid of them. I start this film in a, let’s say, disrupted mode.”
This concluding vignette, from the opening battle in Vanaheim, actually features a significant figure from Thor’s comic-book past.
“This is a little Easter egg for folks,” says Craig Kyle. “This is a Stone Man from Saturn. In the very first issue that Thor appeared in, Journey Into Mystery #83, he fought these guys. So we basically brought them back! For the boys who have been reading a long time or know this stuff, it’s icing on the cake.”
Kyle also makes it clear that, for all the doomy talk about the fabric of reality being destroyed, the Thor series hasn’t lost its sense of humour.
“I think we’ve found a really wonderful balance where people will be laughing and enjoying themselves — and then they’ll be worried and rightfully so,” says Kyle. “Tonally, the more humour and fun naturally woven into the script, the more the loss and suffering and sadness and frightening elements just rise.”