“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” –Odin
You’d be hard pressed to find someone whose favourite Avenger is Thor, but after the release of Thor: Ragnarok, the God of Thunder has definitely gained some new fans. The third installment in the Thor franchise is a hit with fans and critics alike, and has been a massive success at the box office. So, if your opinion of Thor has changed and you plan on revisiting the first two films, or you have always been a fan and want to learn more, check out these facts about the Thor franchise and get excited to see The Almighty Thor return in Avengers: Infinity War!
47. All Blond Everything
If you recently rewatched Thor and felt like something was off about the titular character, you would be correct. Director Kenneth Branagh had Chris Hemsworth dye his eyebrows blond for the film and it is very distracting. Thankfully, Joss Whedon pulled the plug on that in The Avengers and we haven’t seen it since.
For Thor, Colm Feore–who plays Laufey the Frost Giant–had to spend five hours in makeup every day to transform into the villain, which is surprisingly one hour less than Christopher Eccleston had to spend in makeup for his villainous role as Malekith The Accursed in Thor: The Dark World.
45. Change of Scenery
The first confrontation between Thor and Hela in Thor: Ragnarok—where she destroys Mjolnir—was originally set in New York City, as was seen in the trailer. But the director Taika Waititi later decided a change of scenery was needed and reshot the scene in a heavily green-screened field.
44. A Bit of Trickery Even Loki Would Be Proud of
The promotional material for Thor: Ragnarok was sent out under the fake title Creature Report to avoid theft. A similar tactic was also used while filming Thor: The Dark World in England by calling it Thursday Mourning.
43. New Language
For Thor: The Dark World, the language of Shiväisith was created for the Dark Elves to speak. Because of this, actors Eccleston and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who play Malekith and Algrim/Kurse, respectively, had to memorize lines in that language and English.
42. Not in Kansas Anymore
Thor: The Dark World was the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) not to be set in the United States, taking place in Asgard and London instead.
41. The Science Checks Out
To help with the authenticity of the Thor films, actual scientists were brought in to look over the science aspects of the script, ensuring that anything written or spoken was legit.
40. If You Got it, Flaunt it
Hemsworth has the honor of being the only Avenger in the MCU to have a shirtless scene in all three of his solo films. A weird honor, but an honor nonetheless. The only other Avenger to be shirtless in every film they are in is The Hulk, which will always be the case until he finds a shirt that fits.
39. Character Inspirations
Tom Hiddleston has stated that he modeled his performance as Loki after three actors: Peter O’Toole, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood. As for Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, she went the character route and based her performance on Sarah Connor from Terminator 2.
38. From the Page to the Screen
Walt Simonson—a prominent writer and artist for the Thor comics throughout the years—had a small cameo in the first Thor film. He can be seen talking to Lady Sif at the grand feast.
37. Blink and You’ll Miss it
During the scene in the diner where Thor demands more coffee and smashes his mug on the floor, behind him on the street a truck passes by that’s missing its entire back half. This is the same truck that Stan Lee’s character was driving a few scenes prior when he tried to pull Mjolnir out of the hole with his truck and ended up ripping off the back half instead.
36. A Truly Passionate Kiss
In the post credit scene for Thor: The Dark World, Thor returns to earth to share a passionate kiss with Jane, or at least a version of Jane. Hemsworth was working in Hong Kong when the reshoots were planned, and Natalie Portman couldn’t make it out there, so Hemsworth’s wife, Elsa Pataky, put on a wig and Jane’s clothes and filled in for the kiss.
35. Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow
Thor: The Dark World was the first time Hemsworth didn’t wear a wig to play Thor. Instead, he chose to grow his hair out for over a year so it was more authentic (and probably less uncomfortable).
34. Make it Look Real
In a scene where Jane slaps Thor in The Dark World, Portman needed to give over 30 slaps before the director got one that looked real, and that’s because it was. After the fake slaps didn’t look authentic enough, Portman just legitimately slapped Hemsworth. A similar situation occurred when Jane punches Loki in the face, which Portman ended up doing for real once again, and only needed five takes this time.
33. Strict Rules for Filming
The filmmakers for The Dark World were given permission to shoot at the Stonehenge historical site in England, with a few restrictions. They were only allowed to film outside of visiting hours, which resulted in only about three hours of shooting before the site opened, and they were not allowed to touch or walk on the stones.
32. Big Trouble In Little Sakaar
Director Taika Waititi claims that the film Big Trouble in Little China was a huge influence for Thor: Ragnarok.
31. A Small Teaser of Things to Come
Whedon and James Gunn were able to get their feet wet in the MCU when they both got a chance to direct an end credit scene for the first two Thor films–Whedon for Thor and Gunn for Thor: The Dark World–before going on to direct their respective films.
30. “Hulk Sound Different!”
Thor: Ragnarok is the first film in the MCU that Lou Ferrigno doesn’t voice the Hulk in. Instead, Mark Ruffalo—who plays Bruce Banner/Hulk in the film—voices him. I don’t know who had to break the news to Ferrigno, but I hope it was done in calm and gentle way, as I heard it’s best not to make him angry.
29. You Must Be This Tall to Kiss Thor
Because of the height difference between Portman and Hemsworth, Portman was required to stand on a box or a ramp in any scene where Jane and Thor have a close up or kiss.
28. Closing Credits
The closing credits sequence in Thor was created using actual images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and took 18 months to complete.
27. Sibling Rivalry
Originally, Liam Hemsworth—Chris’s younger brother—was in the running to play Thor until Chris swooped in and won the part.
26. An Inception-like Impression/Cameo
Before shooting his cameo in Thor: The Dark World, Chris Evans watched Hiddleston imitate Captain America, and then imitated that performance for his cameo where he acted as Loki disguised as Captain America. Don’t worry, I got lost there too.
25. The Many Faces of Thor
Before going with Hemsworth for Thor, there was a long list of actors in the running to play the God of Thunder. This list included: Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, WWE Superstar Triple H, Daniel Craig, Charlie Hunnam, Hiddleston, Alexander Skarsgård, Liam Hemsworth, and Joel Kinnaman.
24. Brotherly Love
In Thor: Ragnarok, Loki–disguised as Odin–has Asgardians perform a play about Loki’s sacrifice during the fight against Malekith. In the role of Thor is none other than Chris’ older brother, Luke Hemsworth.
23. More Than a Cameo
One of the highlights of every MCU film is seeing what Stan Lee’s cameo will be. When it comes to Thor, Lee reportedly wanted a larger role and expressed interest in playing Odin, but was pleased with the casting of Sir Anthony Hopkins instead.
22. Trading Norse Gods for Amazon Warriors
Before becoming the first ever-female director to break $100 million opening at the box office, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins was set to direct Thor: The Dark World. However, she ended up dropping out before production, citing creative differences with Marvel.
21. Jacked Loki
Hiddleston originally auditioned for the role of Thor, and in preparation for the part, he put on 18 pounds of muscles for his screen test. When he got the part of Loki instead, he was told to drop the weight.
20. Family Photos
In Thor: The Dark World, various photos of a young Jane, or more accurately a young Portman, can be seen throughout the apartment. According to Portman’s mother, she keeps photos of her daughter at every age specifically for situations like this one.
19. Winning Over the Fans
In the original script for Thor: The Dark World, Loki wasn’t in it at all. But after Hiddleston’s brilliant performance in The Avengers, Loki was written into the film with a big role.
18. Talk About Horsepower
In Thor, Thor enters a pet shop and asks to buy a horse, but ends up leaving empty-handed–obviously–and instead gets a ride from Jane, who is driving a Pinzgauer 716 truck. The significance of this? Pinzgauer is the name of an Austrian breed of horse, which in a way means that Thor got his horse after all.
17. Ambitious but Expensive
One of the first drafts of Thor, written by Mark Protosevich, clocked in at a reported budget of $300 million dollars! As of this writing, the highest recorded budget for any MCU film is Avengers: Age of Ultron at $279 million. Needless to say, Matthew Vaughn was brought in to do a rewrite and ended up cutting the budget in half to $150 million.
16. You Never Know Who’s Listening
Hemsworth was inspired to speak up about changing the direction of the Thor franchise, which led to the genre-busting Thor: Ragnarok, after hearing Kevin Smith talk negatively about it on his podcast. Hemsworth sees Smith as a true fanboy and someone who represents that community, so his approval means a lot. “We sort of had nothing to lose,” Hemsworth said of Ragnarok. “People didn’t expect what we did with it this time around.”
15. Acting at its Finest
Thor director Branagh asked Hopkins to improvise his lines during the banishment scene, and it proved to be the right choice: the cast and crew were left in tears after the performance.
14. A Different Direction Means a Different Cast
Marvel deciding to essentially reinvent Thor led to a lot of recurring cast members receiving significantly smaller roles—or not appearing at all—in Thor: Ragnarok. Kat Dennings, Portman, Jaimie Alexander, and Stellan Skarsgård all do not appear in the film.
13. Just When You Think You’re Out…
Hopkins wasn’t planning on reprising his role as Odin for Thor: Ragnarok, but after hearing the story and reading the script, he enjoyed it so much that he decided it was worth coming back for.
12. Home Field Advantage
Thor: Ragnarok is the first MCU film shot in Australia, and in the entire Southern Hemisphere for that matter. Maybe that’s why Hemsworth looked the most comfortable he’s ever been as Thor, as the Aussie probably felt right at home.
11. I Get Knocked Down…
While filming Thor: The Dark World, Alexander, who plays Lady Sif, slipped while walking down a staircase and suffered a slipped disc in her thoracic spine, 11 chipped vertebrae, a dislocated shoulder, and a torn rhomboid. But the craziest part is that she only missed one month of filming!
10. A Town in a Town
An entire town was built in Galisteo, New Mexico to serve as the fictional town, Puente Antiguo, New Mexico, in Thor. Why they didn’t just shoot the film in the already built town of Galisteo itself is anyone’s guess.
9. The Dangers of Filming in the Wild
A portion of Thor: Ragnarok was shot in the Australian wilderness, which invites the possibility for unwanted guests. Multiple kangaroos were spotted during filming, but one of the more dangerous moments came when filming was interrupted by a large python that fell from the tree above. Fortunately, no one in the cast or crew was injured, and they were able to safely remove the python and resume shooting.
8. First Time for Everything
Aside from being the most successful Thor film in the franchise, both financially and critically, Thor: Ragnarok also holds the honor of having the first ever-female MCU villain with Hela, who is played by Cate Blanchett.
7. A Mjolnir for Every Occasion
There were 30 different versions of Thor’s hammer Mjolnir created for Thor: The Dark World. Each version consisted of a different weight and material, such as the aluminum master hammer, a soft stunt hammer, and a lit hammer that lights up anytime it’s struck by lightning in the film.
6. Favorite Son
After reportedly blowing his first audition for Thor, Hemsworth got a second chance while he was filming Cabin in the Woods in Vancouver. He ended up getting his mother to play the part of Odin, and credits her for helping him land the role. This was great for Chris, but not so much for his brother Liam, who essentially lost the part because of his mom.
5. Surprise Cameo
Seeing Chris’ brother Luke as Thor in Thor: Ragnorak was a fun surprise, but it doesn’t hold a candle to who Marvel got to play Loki in the play: none other than Matt Damon. This was a closely guarded secret that only a few cast and crew members knew about, and he was only brought in during reshoots.
4. An Offer Nearly Refused
After all that work to audition, if you thought Hemsworth immediately said yes after being offered Thor, you’d be wrong. He said in an interview that after getting the call from his manager saying he got the offer and it was a six picture deal, his initial thought was to pass as he thought it was a lot of films to sign up for.
3. More Than Just a Director
Waititi not only directed Thor: Ragnarok, but he also plays Korg, a CGI rock alien, in the film. Fans of the director may have recognized him by his voice, but even hardcore fans probably didn’t know that Waititi plays two other characters as well. He is one of the three heads of the three-headed alien, and does the motion capture for Surtur.
2. We’ll Do it Live!
Uncommon for most films—let alone an MCU film—Thor: Ragnarok is said to be 80% improvised dialogue. Waititi claims this was done to loosen up the cast and showcase how truly funny Hemsworth is.
1. Don’t Mess With Mjolnir
All fans know the power of Thor’s Hammer, known as Mjolnir, which has been described as “one of the most formidable weapons known to man or god,” but most fans don’t realize it’s actually capable of creating force fields so powerful that they can destroy an entire galaxy. And that’s not all. Mjolnir is so powerful that it can travel through whole planets to return to Thor, and it can move and manipulate massive structures like the Washington Monument and the Taj Mahal. The mythical hammer can even control electromagnetic forces, and manipulate objects at a molecular level. In other words, don’t mess with Thor.