Tom Hiddleston described his role of Loki as "a comic-book, but nastier version, of King Lear's Edmund." In the William Shakespeare play, Edmund was a prince who was jealous of his brother Edgar and tricked his father into banishing him into exile.
The final choice for the role of Thor came down to brothers Chris Hemsworth and Liam Hemsworth. Chris found it funny: "We both came all the way over here from Australia and ended up battling against each other." He, however, bore no ill-will towards Liam, claiming he was rooting for him to get the role. Chris was eventually chosen, but Liam got a supporting role in the Hunger Games film franchise.
Dr. Selvig mentions a comrade who got mixed up with S.H.I.E.L.D., whom he described as "a pioneer in gamma radiation". This alludes to Bruce Banner, whose experiments in gamma radiation mutated him into The Incredible Hulk (2008). A deleted scene, also has him mention Hank Pym, also known as the original Ant-Man in Ant-Man (2015).
To prepare for the role of Thor, Chris Hemsworth put on a massive amount of build and weight, through a six-month regimen of trips to the gym and indulging in a massive diet of eggs, chicken, sandwiches, vegetables, brown rice, steak, and protein drinks.
The film makes extensive use of actual Norse mythology (on which the "Thor" comic was based): - the war between the Asgardians and the Jotunns was based on the Aesir-Vanir war (the Jotunns were in fact a non-hostile/antagonistic race). - Odin's ravens Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory), who gather information in Midgard and relay it to Odin, are sitting on his throne during Thor's coronation ceremony. - the symbol seen at the weapons vault, and on Mjolnir is the triquetra, a religious symbol. Its ancestor is the valknut, a German symbol associated with Odin. - the Bifrost, originally thought of as the rainbow by the Norse, is seen as a beam of rainbow light. - when Odin appears in Jotunheim, he is riding his eight-legged horse Sleipnir. - a Jotun calls Thor a "little princess" - once Thor's hammer was stolen, and he dressed up as a Princess to go back and retrieve it. - Laufey and Thor describe Loki as mischievous and a talented liar, an homage to Loki's titles as the god of mischief and lies. - Thor asks for a cat to ride - Thor's mother Frigga has her chariot pulled by two large blue cats, a gift from Thor (to be noted, this could also reference the goddess Freya). and Thor shows Jane a drawing of a crossroads with nine orbs in it - his perception and representation of Yggdrasil, a great tree, around which, the nine worlds are tethered, making up the universe.
Kenneth Branagh asked Anthony Hopkins to improvise his reaction to Thor's yelling at him in the banishment scene. Hopkins agreed, and when the scene was filmed, many of the cast and crew present were sobbing. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston later said they had to struggle to keep their composure during filming that scene. Hiddleston later complimented Hopkins, to which he said, "Ken's fantastic, isn't he?"
It's mentioned in passing that Thor's hammer was forged inside "a dying star." This actually makes a modicum of scientific sense. When a very large star dies in a supernova, sometimes its remains collapsed to form a "neutron star." These objects cram the mass of the sun into the size of a city, forming a new kind of matter nicknamed "neutronium". A single teaspoon of this material would weigh billions of tons. If Mjölnir was made of this material, it would certainly explain its incredible weight.
Kenneth Branagh has been a fan of "Thor" since childhood. When Marvel Studios selected Branagh as the director, they sent him the complete collection of the Marvel Thor comics series as reference material for the character.
Anthony Hopkins claims he relates to his role of Odin: "I'm a little like Odin myself. He's a stern man. He's a man with purpose. I play the god who banishes his son from Asgard because he screwed up. He's a hot-headed, temperamental young man, probably a chip off of the old block...but I decide he's not really ready to rule the future kingdom, so I banish him. I'm harsh and my wife complains and I say 'That is why I'm King'".
The Agent that grabs a bow and arrow when Thor is attempting to recover Mjölnir is referred to as Agent Barton. This is Clint Barton, also known as the archer Hawkeye, a Marvel hero who later appeared in The Avengers (2012).
Thor enters the pet store, and calls for a horse, and then Jane picks him up in her Pinzgauer 716 truck. The hidden joke is that the Pinzgauer is named after an Austrian breed of horse, thus Thor technically got a ride on a horse.
According to Chris Hemsworth, the action coordinators experimented with different combat styles, but ultimately the fighting technique Thor utilizes, is an original one, based on boxing: stance low to the ground, with big powerful hip movements.
The crater that is created by the impact of Thor's hammer is the same design as Captain America's shield. The center where the hammer rests is in the shape of a rough star, which then has two circles around it, clearly intended to be the stripes.
Tom Hiddleston researched Marvel Comics' Loki and found him to be a multi-dimensional character, so based his performance as Loki on three different actors: Peter O'Toole (enigmatic reckless persona), Jack Nicholson (edgy and near-insane persona), and Clint Eastwood (persona with simmering anger).
Anthony Hopkins signed on as Odin despite never reading a "Thor" comic, nor knowing anything about the Thor mythology. It was the concept of the father and son relationship, that intrigued him about the role.
The artifacts seen in the Asgard weapons vault are of various mystical objects seen in the Marvel comics. They are, in chronological appearance: - the Tablet of Life and Time, a slab that can extend one's lifetime. - the Eye of Agamotto (plays a major part in Doctor Strange (2016)). - the Warlock's Eye, an artifact that can control peoples' minds. - the Eternal Flame, a mystical flame that cannot be extinguished. - the Casket of Ancient Winters, an enchanted container filled with frosty winds (plays a major role in this film). and the Infinity Gauntlet (right-handed), a glove encrusted with six reality-bending jewels (plays a major part in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Untitled Avengers Movie (2019)).
Kenneth Branagh conceptualized this film as a Norse and comic-book twist on William Shakespeare's Henry V (1989), which was about a young King, who underwent trials and tribulations: fighting a war, courting a girl from another land, trying to live up to the example set by his father (a beloved king), and basic character development.
To prepare for the role of Heimdall, Idris Elba read the "Thor" comics where Heimdall was featured prominently: "He's a very central character, and I wanted to reflect him as he is in the comic books."
According to Kenneth Branagh, the film's biggest challenge was connecting the worlds of Asgard and 21st century Earth: "It's about finding the framing style, the color palette, finding the texture and the amount of camera movement that helps celebrate and express the differences and distinctions in those worlds. If it succeeds, it will mark this film as different... The combination of the primitive and the sophisticated, the ancient and the modern, I think that potentially is the exciting fusion, the exciting tension in the film."
Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hiddleston were performing in a West End stage production of 'Ivanov' when it was announced that Branagh would direct this movie. At the 2010 Empire Movie Con, Hiddleston recalled one night when, as a joke, he burst into Branagh's dressing room wielding an empty plastic container from a water cooler like Mjölnir, shouting "Come on, Ken, what do you think!?" Brannagh's response was reportedly a very jokey "You never know, darling, stranger things have happened." Two months later, Hiddleston was auditioning for Thor, before landing the role as Loki.
Originally, the persona of Dr. Donald Blake (Thor's alternate identity and personality) was going to be in the film, and Kevin McKidd was considered for the part. However, Blake was written out, and was instead used as a false identity for Thor.
According to Producer Kevin Feige, the Bifrost bridge is the films's most interesting set: "In the comics, it's literally a rainbow that extends out from Asgard and pops down on Earth. We're not necessarily doing that; we're not having the big hard solid lines of colors. We're saying it's some sort of energy, almost a solid quartz bridge that as the light catches it, and flows through it, you get some of that rainbow-esque quality to it."
Natalie Portman took the role of Jane Foster, because she couldn't resist the opportunity of a comic-book film, directed by acclaimed director Kenneth Branagh: "I was just like, Kenneth Branagh doing 'Thor' is super-weird, I've gotta do it."
The film's portrayal of Thor combines the classic Marvel Comics character (Thor is cast down to earth to as punishment for his arrogance) with the Marvel "Ultimate" character (Thor is dismissed by many on Earth as a crazy, deluded man).
To prepare of the role of Fandral, Josh Dallas drew inspiration from renowned swashbuckler Errol Flynn and his films: "Flynn had a lot of that boyish charm that Fandral's got all that in him." The comics' characterization of Fandral was also based on Flynn.
In Norse mythology, Thor's nickname was "protector of mankind" (which is apt, considering Thor's superhero status today). Scandinavians, until this day, wear Mjölnir-amulets, referred to as "torshammare" (Thor's Hammers).
Alexander Skarsgård was one of the actors in the running for the role of Thor primarily for his physical appearance. Alexander's own father Stellan Skarsgård landed a role in the film as Professor Erik Selvig.
A model of the Infinity Gauntlet, an all-powerful weapon capable of controlling aspects of reality (soul, time, space, power, and mind) in the "Marvel Comics" universe, was constructed for this film. The model is made from bronze and copper (with jewels made from resin) and weighs sixty pounds. It was built to be operational, so that animatronics could be built on it.
In the film, the casket of Ancient Winters was held by the Frost Giants of Jotunheim; in the comics, it was held by the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, in particular, their leader Malekith the Accursed. In the film, Loki holds the Casket, and asks Odin if he is accursed, an homage to Malekith.
In the film's audio commentary, Kenneth Branagh reveals that the shot near the very end of Jane Foster and her associates working in their lab, was actually meant to be the opening shot of the film, and that the closing title sequence of the Nine Realms, was originally planned to be the film's prologue.
In April 2006, screenwriter and "Thor" fan Mark Protosevich wrote a script for the film, which he described as "an Old Testament God who becomes a New Testament God." However, the script was so laden with visual effects sequences, that it would require 300 million to film, so when Matthew Vaughn signed on, he re-wrote and trimmed the script, to bring the budget down to a more agreeable 150 million dollars.
There is a billboard in the town advertising for New Mexico tourism with the slogan "Land of Enchantment - Journey into Mystery." "Land of Enchantment" is the nickname of New Mexico, "Journey into Mystery" is the title of the Marvel comic book where Thor made his debut (Journey Into Mystery #83).
When the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents track the Asgardians in search of Thor, they spot Sif, Fandral, and Hogun, but not Volstagg. A deleted scene has Volstagg knock out the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, having tracked them by their food, and then steal it.
According to Kevin Feige, the filmmakers placed the Foo Fighters song "Walk" in the film, because they thought its lyrics were strangely appropriate for the film: "If you asked two months ago, if we would have a Foo Fighters song in this movie, I would have said 'I don't think so.' But we heard the song, and it just has these eerily appropriate lyrics and themes. Ken, in particular, just loved it with these lyrics about learning to walk again, and the way that fit the themes of the movie about redemption, and learning to be a hero."
The Science & Entertainment Exchange collaborated with the filmmakers on the film design, and production, with three physicists (Sean Carroll, Kevin Hand, and Jim Hartle, as well as physics student Kevin Hickerson) to provide a realistic scientific background for the film. This collaboration resulted in changing Jane Foster's profession from nurse to physicist, and used the terminology "Einstein-Rosen bridge" (named after Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen) to describe the Bifrost.
For his role as the warrior Volstagg, Ray Stevenson wore a specially designed fat suit, that gave Volstagg a round but tough appearance: "What we've done is kind of sex Volstagg up... he's got every bit of that Falstaffian verve and vigor, and a bit of a beer gut, to suggest an enormous appetite, but he's not the Weeble-shaped figure in the comics. He's Falstaff with muscles!"
In 2005, Matthew Vaughn was going to direct this film, describing it as "the birth of a hero, interweaving Gladiator (2000) with Norse mythology." He went on to direct the comic book films Kick-Ass (2010) and X: First Class (2011) for Marvel, and Stardust (2007) for DC Comics.
According to Don Payne, Dr. Jane Foster was more of a stereotypical scientist (dry and skeptical), but Natalie Portman wished to revise the character to make her more poetic: "She thought Jane could be someone who thinks outside of the box, someone whose theories are considered outlandish, and are frowned upon by the scientific community. But it's the kind of thinking that leads to great discoveries. When Thor arrives, she's willing to take a leap of faith, and she has to pay the consequences for it."
Throughout this film, The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Thor and Loki are referred to as "Asgardians" (Loki, of course, being notably absent in Age of Ultron). While it makes sense to call the inhabitants of Asgard "Asgardians", and is indeed straightforward to pronounce, inhabitants of Asgard are actually called the "Aesir". Only once do we see an Aesir, being referred to by this name.
According to the film's Science Advisor Sean Carroll, the Bifrost is, and was meant to be called, a wormhole, but Kevin Feige felt it was "too 1990s" a term to use (given that the Stargate series had popularized the phrase, and had also featured Norse gods). So a new phrase was used: "an Einstein-Rosen Bridge".
Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth, who starred as James Kirk's father in Star Trek (2009). His love Jane Foster is played by Natalie Portman, who plays Luke Skywalker's mother in the "Star Wars" films.
There are nine Realms. Above the door of Jane's lab is the street address 1001. Translated from binary that is the number nine. Also, you often see the 7-11 store in the middle of town. Halfway between 7 and 11, is nine.
Walter Simonson: A comic book writer and artist, whose work on "Thor" was highly renowned and acclaimed, has a cameo appearance in the banquet scene near the end of the film, sitting between Sif and Volstagg.
The film and comic's version of Norse mythology has certain differences from actual Norse myth: - Odin lost an eye in a battle with the Jotuns; in Norse legend, he gave up an eye to attain cosmic wisdom. - In Norse legend, Loki is Odin's adopted brother, not Thor's. Loki was also the god of fire, and not a Frost Giant. Laufey was originally Loki's mother, and not his father (this change was found amusing in Iceland, since Laufey is still a popular female name there).
When Dr. Selvig is in the library looking at the book of Norse Mythology, there is an illustration of Odin walking across the Bifrost bridge with his Gungnir spear in one hand and the Tesseract in the other. In Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), the Red Skull mentions that the Tesseract was the jewel of Odin's treasure room.
In Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor's hammer Mjölnir was first seen lying in a crater in New Mexico. This was based on the comics (Fantastic Four #536), where in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event on Asgard, Mjölnir was cast out to land in Oklahoma, where it lay until Thor came to reclaim it.
The artifact that Nick Fury shows to Dr. Selvig in the post-credits scene (which plays a major part in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and The Avengers (2012)), is the Tesseract, identified to be the the Infinity Gem of Space (a component of the Infinity Gauntlet). It is also based on the Cosmic Cube, a cube-shaped artifact of power.
When Thor gets back Mjölnir, for a brief second he is seen upright and surrounded by lightning. This is an homage to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), where Prince Adam's transformation into He-Man, featured him in a similar position surrounded by lightning. Earlier on, Thor also asked for a cat to ride; He-Man rides a tiger called Battle Cat.
Each Marvel superhero movie have a main theme: -Iron Man - Weaponry and technology. -Hulk - Mutation and nuclear power. -Captain America - Experimentation and espionage. -Thor - Mithology and religion. -Guardians of the Galaxy - Extra-terrestrial life and cosmic beings. -Ant-Man - Telepathy and control about animals. -Doctor Strange - Magic and witchcraft. -Avengers - Alien Invasion. -Avengers: Age of Ultron - Artificial Intelligence.