Marvel Studios Annotations: THOR

0:01:25 – Jane Foster and Erik Selvig
Jane Foster first appeared in Journey into Mystery #84 (1962). She was originally a nurse and love interest to Thor and his alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake. She later became a doctor, rather than an astrophysicist as she’s depicted in the films. Natalie Portman previously starred in V for Vendetta, based on the comic book by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

Her colleague, Dr. Erik Selvig, is an original cinematic character and is played by Stellan Skarsgard. His son, Alexander, auditioned for the role of Thor. Kat Dennings, who plays research assistant Darcy, was in Down in the Valley with Ed Norton and Charlie Bartlett with Robert Downey Jr.

0:04:00 – The Frost Giants
Tonsberg is the same Norwegian village where the Red Skull discovers the Tesseract almost a thousand years after the attack by the Frost Giants. It’s also marked off on the SHIELD Global Alert map at the end of Iron Man 2.

0:04:40 – Odin
In the Marvel Universe, extradimensional beings, like the Asgardians, were worshipped as gods by primitive man and formed the legends of various mythologies. Odin the Allfather (1st appearance – Journey into Mystery #85, 1962) lost his eye in battle with the Frost Giants. He is usually seen with two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who travel through the Nine Realms and gather information for Odin. In Norse mythology, he sacrificed the eye to gain greater knowledge. To play six degrees of separation, Anthony Hopkins was in Chaplin with Robert Downey Jr.

vlcsnap-49056Thor Odinson made his debut in Journey into Mystery #83, published in 1962. Stan Lee was looking to create a character even stronger than the Hulk and a god was the perfect candidate. It was Jack Kirby, who designed Thor’s costume in a more superheroic fashion, eschewing standard Viking garb, like furs and horned helmets. A more Viking-esque Thor teamed up with Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk in the 1988 made-for-TV movie, Return of the Incredible Hulk.

Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth, who played the small role of George Kirk in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, and starred in The Cabin in the Woods, which was produced by Avengers director Joss Whedon, plays Thor. His younger brother, Liam Hemsworth, also auditioned for the role of Thor.

0:06:37 – The Casket of Ancient Winters
One of many important artifacts in Odin’s vault: The Casket of Ancient Winters first appeared in Thor #346 (1984) and contains the power of a thousand winters.

0:06:40 – The Eternal Flame
Not just any ordinary fire, this is the Eternal Flame (first appearance in Thor #349, 1984), which is used by Surtur the fire demon to ignite his sword, Twilight, and initiate Ragnarok, the end of the universe and the basis for the third Thor film.

0:07:22 – Mjolnir
Mjolnir was forged by dwarven blacksmiths from the core of a star. It gives Thor ability to fly, command the weather, channel energy, and could even allow him to teleport and travel through time. Neither Stan Lee nor his brother/co-scripter Larry Lieber actually knew the name of Thor’s hammer and simply called it the mystical uru hammer. It was writer Roy Thomas, who began referring to it by the proper name of Mjolnir and made uru, the fictional metal it was made from.

0:07:55 – Lady Sif, Frigga
The Lady Sif (1st appearance – Journey into Mystery #102, 1964) is a warrior woman loosely based on the Sif from Norse mythology, who was Thor’s wife. Marvel’s Sif has had an on-again/off-again romance with the God of Thunder. Jaimie Alexander reprises the role not only in Thor: The Dark World, but also in two episodes of Agents of SHIELD, “Yes Men” and “Who You Really Are.”
vlcsnap-49089Frigga (1st appearance – Journey into Mystery #92, 1963) is the wife of Odin and mother to Thor. Her comic book counterpart is not the biological mother of either Thor or Loki. However, she is the mother of a third brother, Balder the Brave, who did not make it into the film though concept art of the character does exist.

0:08:40 – The Warriors Three
The Warriors Three (1st appearance – Journey into Mystery #119, 1965) are original Marvel creations and were not from Norse mythology. Loyal allies of Thor, the trio consists of Fandral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim, and Volstagg the Voluminous. A SHIELD agent later refers to Fandral as “Robin Hood,” which makes sense as Stan Lee based the character on Errol Flynn. Josh Dallas, who currently appears on ABC’s Once Upon a Time as Prince Charming, was the third in line for the role. Zachary Levi was the original choice, but was tied up on Chuck. Stuart Townsend, who played Dorian Gray in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, was cast next before departing just before production was to begin. This was the second high profile role Townsend lost as he was originally cast as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings before being replaced by Viggo Mortensen.

Hogun’s fighting prowess and taciturn demeanor was inspired by Charles Bronson. In the film, he is played by Tadanobu Asano, from the ultra-violent Ichi the Killer, based on the manga by Hideo Yamamoto. Volstagg is based on Shakespeare’s boisterous Falstaff and is played by Ray Stevenson, best known as Titus Pullo from HBO’s Rome. This is Stevenson’s second Marvel film after Punisher: War Zone.

0:09:00 – Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Loki Laufeyson (1st appearance – Journey into Mystery #85, 1962) is the adopted child of Odin, abandoned by the Frost Giants for being too small. He has constantly plagued his brother Thor and only rarely have they worked together as allies. It was Loki’s manipulations of the Hulk that inadvertently led to the formation of the Avengers. Tom Hiddleston originally auditioned for the role of Thor before being cast as Loki.

0:09:49 – The Orb of Agamotto
The Orb (1st appearance – Strange Tales #118, 1964) is a mystical artifact mainly associated with Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange, who also wields the Eye of Agamotto. It allows the user to track magic, peer into other dimensions, and see through time.

0:09:51 – The Tablet of Life and Time
Created in Atlantis, the Tablet of Life & Time features an inscription for a formula that can grant the recipient immortality. It first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #68 in which the webslinger is caught in between two criminal factions led by the Kingpin and Silvermane as they attempt to steal the Tablet. This storyline was adapted for Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Its dark twin is the Tablet of Death & Entropy, which holds the formula for a deadly poison known as the Devil’s Breath.

0:10:00 – The Warlock’s Eye
The Warlock’s Eye (1st appearance – Thor #131, 1966) comes from the fiery realm of Muspelheim. Odin once tasked Thor and the Warriors Three to retrieve the Eye as it could prevent Ragnarok.

0:11:06 – The Destroyer
The Destroyer (1st appearance – Journey into Mystery #118, 1965) is an enchanted suit of armor forged by Odin. The Allfather as well as his sons Thor, Loki, Balder, and even Dr. Doom at one point have controlled it.

0:11:06 – The Infinity Gauntlet
If it were the genuine article, the Infinity Gauntlet would be the most dangerous weapon in Odin’s vault. The power doesn’t come from the gauntlet itself, but from the gems embedded around it. Known as the Infinity Gems, each one has the ability to control an aspect or existence, Mind, Power, Reality, Space, Soul, and Time. Individually, they are immensely powerful, but gathered together they can grant the user omnipotence. The Mad Titan, Thanos, created the gauntlet and used it to wipe half the universe from existence with a mere thought.

In the MCU, the Gems are referred to as Infinity Stones and we’ve only seen four pop up with the Time and Soul Stones yet to be discovered. As seen in the mid-credits sequence of Age of Ultron, Thanos has his own version of the Gauntlet.

0:15:49 – Heimdall
Heimdall (1st appearance – Journey into Mystery #85, 1962) is the all-seeing and all-hearing guardian of the Bifrost Bridge and the brother of Sif. He is played by Idris Elba, who has been in two other comic book movies, The Losers and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
vlcsnap-52690Heimdall’s observatory taps into the branches of Yggdrasil to transport the Asgardians to any of the nine realms.

0:19:48 – Laufey
In Norse mythology, Laufey is a female and the mother of Loki. As revealed later in the film, Loki was a Frost Giant abandoned by his birth father, Laufey (1st appearance – Journey into Mystery #112 (1965), due to his small size. Laufey is played by Colm Feore, who would also play Donald Menken, a VP at Oscorp, in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

0:29:37 – Shall possess the power of Thor.
“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” Once this enchantment is in place, no one, no matter how strong can lift the hammer, if they are deemed unworthy. The few people who could lift Mjolnir include Captain America, Beta Ray Bill and even Wonder Woman during the DC vs. Marvel crossover.

0:33:05 – JMS
The townie trying to lift Mjolnir is J. Michael Straczynski, a prolific comic book writer and the creator of Babylon 5. Stracynzki’s run on Thor was an influence on the film. He returned Thor to Earth after a long absence and transported Asgard above a small town in Oklahoma. Stracynzki received a “Story By” credit for penning the movie’s outline.

0:33:27 – Land of Enchantment…Journey into Mystery
The slogan on the billboard is a reference to Marvel’s anthology series, which was first published in 1952. Journey into Mystery #83 featured the first appearance of Thor, who quickly became the title’s starring attraction. It was renamed Thor with issue #126.

0:36:10 – Stan Lee
“Did it work?” Obligatory Stan Lee cameo.

0:36:30 – Agent Coulson
Agent Coulson’s arrival was previously seen in the post-credits sequence of Iron Man 2.

0:37:07 – Donald Blake, M.D.
vlcsnap-56481Donald Blake was a practicing physician, who walked with a cane. While vacationing in Norway, Blake took refuge in a cavern after encountering a party of alien invaders from Saturn. He discovered Mjolnir inside and transformed into the God of Thunder. Blake was able to repeat the transformation by simply tapping his cane on the ground. Later, it was revealed that Blake was created by Odin to serve as a host for the spirit of Thor as a means to teach him humility. The two were split and Blake has lived his own life and rekindled his romance with Jane Foster. For a time, Thor was bonded to an EMT named Jake Olson. He also pulled a Clark Kent and assumed the secret identity of construction worker Sigurd Jarlson.

0:47:20 – Bruce Banner and Hank Pym
The “pioneer in gamma radiation” that Dr. Selvig mentions is obviously Bruce Banner. The colleague that he plans to email is intended to be Hank Pym, a founding member of the Avengers. His discovery of Pym Particles gave him the ability to change size and don the superhero guises of Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket. Pym will be played by Michael Douglas in Ant-Man.

0:52:40 – The Odinsleep
A concept taken from the comics, the Odinsleep is a yearly hibernation cycle that allows Odin to regenerate his strength and extend his life. The drawback is the Allfather is vulernable while asleep. As depicted here, the Odinsleep can occur suddenly should Odin exhaust his power early.

0:54:07 – Jasper Sitwell
Maximiliano Hernandez plays SHIELD Agent Jasper Sitwell, who first appeared in Strange Tales #144, first published in 1966. He is later revealed to be a HYDRA sleeper agent though his comic counterpart was far more heroic.

0:56:10 – Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
Jeremy Renner performs a cameo as SHIELD Agent Clint Barton, better known to comic book fans as Hawkeye (1st appearance, Tales of Suspense #57, 1964). Barton was an orphan, who used his archery skills as a star attraction for a traveling circus. He became a reluctant criminal and partner to the Black Widow, before both reformed and joined the Avengers. At two points in his career, Hawkeye traded in the bow & arrow for Pym Particles and became Goliath. He’s had romantic dalliances with superheroines like the Widow, the Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Mockingbird, Moonstone and Spider-Woman. Clint’s brother, Barney Barton, is also a highly skilled archer and operates as the costumed criminal Trickshot.

1:05:52 – Excelsior
Donald Blake has a New York driver’s license with “Excelsior” stamped on it. This is both the official state motto and the catchphrase of Stan Lee.

1:15:06 – The 9 Realmsvlcsnap-61785The nine realms are:

  • Alfheim – The realm of the Light Elves.
  • Asgard – Home of Odin, Thor, and the rest.
  • Hel – Realm of the dead, ruled over by Hela, the goddess of death and daughter of Loki.
  • Jotunheim – The icy world of the Frost Giants.
  • Midgard – Earth
  • Muspelheim – The home of Surtur and the Fire Demons.
  • Nidavellir – Home of the Dwarves.
  • Svartalfheim – Realm of the Dark Elves, including Malekith the Accursed, who tried to destroy Midgard with the Casket.
  • Vanaheim – The home of the Vanir, a race of gods even older than the Asgardians. Odin’s wife, Frigga, is descended from this race.

In addition to Hel, here are two other realms of the dead: Niflheim, where the spirits of the dishonored dead go, and Valhalla, where the honored dead are taken by the Valkyrie.

Before being tasered by Darcy, Thor mentions Nornheim, which is ruled by the sorceress Karnilla, wielder of the mystical Norn Stones. The Norns (the equivalent of the Fates) exist in Norse mythology, but Nornheim is a Marvel creation.

1:20:20 – That guy never tells me anything.
vlcsnap-63498Iron Man gets name dropped as Agents Coulson and Sitwell momentarily mistake the Destroyer for one of Stark’s armored suits.

01:42:28 – Walt Simonson
thor_waltThe happy fellow sitting next to Sif is Walt Simonson, who was the artist/writer on the Thor comic from 1983 to 1987. Many credit Simonson’s run as THE definitive run on Thor. He is responsible for creating characters like Beta Ray Bill and Malekith the Accursed, the villain in Thor: The Dark World.

1:53:10 – Cosmic Cube
The post-credit sequence marks the first cinematic appearance of the Tesseract, known to comic fans as the Cosmic Cube (1st appearance, Tales of Suspense #79). The Cube was created by A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), a mad scientist offshoot of HYDRA and had the power to turn thought into reality. Both the Red Skull and Thanos have attempted to use the Cube to reshape the universe.

In the films, the Tesseract is more than just an artifact once belonging to Odin. It is actually the Space Stone, the first of six Infinity Stones to make an appearance in the MCU, and possesses the ability to open portals in space. It plays a huge role in Captain America: The First Avenger, where the Red Skull first discovers it before falling into the hands of Howard Stark. His early research into the device allowed his son, Tony, to synthesize a new element in Iron Man 2.

It’s also revealed that Loki fell to Earth and occupies the body of Dr. Selvig following the destruction of the Bifrost, setting up the main conflict for The Avengers.

The Consultant
consultantThe Consultant is set after the events of Iron Man 2 and ties up loose ends created by the tag scene in The Incredible Hulk. In response to the Avengers Initiative, the World Security Council has mandated that The Abomination will a member of the team with Bruce Banner receiving the full blame for the destruction of Harlem. Agents Coulson and Sitwell send Tony Stark to negotiate with General Ross. They know full well that Stark’s flippant attitude will infuriate Ross to the point he would never release Blonsky from custody.

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