Exclusive: Vaughn On Thor

Director reveals 'he won't wear a dress'

“Marvel were so surprised to see this other side of me with Stardust,” recalls Matthew Vaughn of his initial meeting to discuss his vision for the God of Thunder. “They actually said to me, ‘You are going to make Thor more macho? Right?’ Well, don’t worry – Thor’s not going to be wearing a dress".

Eschewing the floral frock and pumps combo is, all things considered, a step in the right direction when conceptualising one of comics’ hardest heroes. It’s a leap back on the horse for Vaughn, too, who missed out on his previous chance to assure his place in the comics hall of fame when he walked away from X-Men III.

“When I went into Marvel for my first X-Men meeting, I saw a figure on the desk and said ‘are you guys are going to make Thor?’ They said, ‘We’re just going to commission a script. We want to do it like Gladiator with Norse mythology and the birth of a superhero’. That really stuck in my mind. And when Marvel saw Stardust, they asked me to do it. So here I am, back again and prepping Thor.”

The son of Odin (king of the gods, fond of ravens) and brother to Loki (tricksy, given to practical jokes), The Mighty Thor wields the power of thunder and lightning. Such potency doesn’t lend itself to modesty though, and so it is that Thor is sent to Earth in order to learn some humility. In comic lore, part of this lesson includes a mortal identity (that of disabled medical student Donald Blake) and all recollection of godhood banished from his mind. Word is that Vaughn’s origin tale will touch on none of this, staying firmly in Asgard for the duration, but maybe that’s a good thing. Of all the comic adaptations that have been mooted (and it’s a very long list indeed), few are more potentially fraught than Thor. After all, Hollywood was built on web-slinging vigilantes and men who dress up as bats to pummel villains in makeup, but when your hero is an aeons-old Norse god with a hammer, who speaks in the vernacular of Shakespeare, things could easily veer towards the daft. For his part though, Vaughn does not appear concerned with the potential pitfalls.

“My only concern initially was that it’s another fantasy film [after Stardust], but it’s different in the sense that it’s a superhero film set in the world of fantasy. You’ve got Thor and Odin and it’s set in Asgard - it’s not going to be like Lord of the Rings or even Narnia. I think it’s important to keep it comic book. We’re not doing the Thor of Norse mythology. We’re doing the Marvel Thor.”

For more from Empire’s interview with Matthew Vaughn, be sure to pick up the November issue of Empire, on sale from September 28.