Someone at Marvel Studios needs to explain why Thor: The Dark World is opening on Friday, November 8th, and not Thursday, the 7th. The reason? Thursday is actually named for Thor (“Thor’s day”—you can learn about that here).
Missed marketing opportunities aside, fans of Marvel’s god of thunder will flock to theaters Friday and revel in the Thor sequel, starring the ever-hunky Chris Hemsworth and geek poster girl Natalie Portman.
Marvel’s official plot synopsis for The Dark World reveals only that Asgard’s favorite son “battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself.” The fun part is that Thor must team up with his scheming adopted brother Loki—played with sarcastic brilliance by Tom Hiddleston—to have any hope to succeed. (Think of it as a good-god, bad-god buddy movie.)
Whatever the specific plot points, Thor’s latest adventure is sure to be appropriately epic in scope. After all, these aren’t superheroes—these are gods we’re talking about. Tying into events from the first Thor movie and The Avengers, this one promises reality-shaking action.
The movie version of Thor traces its roots to myths of the Norse god of thunder, by way of 50 years of Marvel Comics history. The look of big-screen Thor comes straight from Olivier Coipel’s version of 2007, but the character itself dates back to 1962. Stan Lee wanted a new hero to invigorate Marvel’s Journey into Mystery title, one more powerful than the newly-launched Hulk. Working with legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby, Lee created a superhero worthy of the title “god of thunder”: huge muscles, winged helmet, big red cape, and of course, a mountain-smashing hammer.
Among other features, Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, directly connects the character with Old Norse mythology. Most of what we know of the god of thunder comes from two 13th century Icelandic collections of poems and stories—the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda—that date back to the Viking Age (8th to 11th centuries). Like Hemsworth’s Thor, the Norse god of thunder wielded a mighty hammer that could level mountains, return to his hand when thrown and could only be lifted by Thor himself.
Unlike our modern movie version, the mythological Thor had red hair, a full beard and eyes that sparked with lightning. Strong, loyal and brash, Odin’s son too often leapt into battle with giants and other evil creatures without thinking. And he was perpetually vexed by Loki, the trickster god who could be a helpful companion to one moment and a sinister villain the next.
Sounds exactly like what we’re gonna get from Thor: The Dark World!
What do you want to see in the new Thor movie? How about Avengers 2? Got a favorite Marvel superhero or artist? Share your thoughts below!