As Iron Man 3 hits theaters in less than two weeks, Marvel Studios will start to shift focus to the next round of "Phase 2" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Going back to Asgard for Thor: The Dark World, the sequel has remained relatively shrouded in mystery. Malekith, the dark elf ruler of Nefelheim, is launching a campaign of war against both Earth and Asgard, and it's up to Thor and his band of Asgardian warriors to stop him - but that's about all we really know.
USA Today talked with star Chris Hemsworth and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige to pull back that shroud slightly, and got a few tidbits about the film's tone and what to expect from Thor.
First, when the movie reunites Thor and his earthling paramour Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), the movie will address the fact that Thor was back on Earth during The Avengers and never made any contact.
"Thor still has lot of explaining to do, and a lot of making up," says
Hemsworth. "Even demigods end up in the doghouse, mate. So none of us is
Their roles will see a reversal, as well, as Foster heads to Asgard for protection from Malekith's invasion, and Feige says "this time Jane is very much a fish out of water in Asgard."
Don't expect Odin and Freya to take immediately to Foster, though, as Feige says that's a main source of drama and tension for the young couple. The parents don't approve, and of course there's the possible love triangle with the warrior Sif.
With Asgard and dark elves and more magic, there was a risk of too much fantasy for the "real world" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the star is thrilled with who they reached out to take care of that possible problem.
"We were worried about coming across as hokey or whatever," says
Hemsworth. "If there is anyone who can pull off a fantastical world like
Asgard with a great amount of integrity, it is Alan Taylor, as we've
seen in Game of Thrones," where he directed a grounded fantasy world already.
It's not all romance and political intrigue, of course, and Hemsworth promises they've ramped up the action with "dynamic moves," not wanting Thor to just be a "Viking throwing the hammer." Loki will also enter the picture, at one point in some sort of uneasy alliance that allows the film to "explore the underlying complexities of their relationship."
Does that mean Loki is a good guy now? Not so fast, says Feige, praising his great turns in Thor and Avengers.
"Tom has built and shaped one of the best movie villains in years with many, many layers," says Feige. "It will be very difficult for Loki to lose the villain status. He has that firmly in hand."