Marvel commits to “Thor 2” in 2013 without Branagh


UPDATE: Disney and Marvel have chosen July 26, 2013 as the release date for “Thor 2.”Deadline now reports that the film will be scripted by Don Payne (“Thor,” “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”).

When it comes to a new Marvel superhero making it to the big screen, once audiences see the finished product, the next question immediately becomes: will there be a sequel? Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige gave us a resounding yes on both “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” sequels back in April, and now that final box-office projections for “Thor” have come in, Disney and Marvel are ready to pencil “Thor 2” into the 2013 summer schedule.

The official date will be set shortly according to Deadline, but with “Iron Man 3” scheduled for the coveted first weekend in May, expect something closer to or most likely in July. Whenever it happens, however, “Thor” director Kenneth Branagh will have nothing to do with it. Branagh and Marvel reportedly parted ways on terms that were “mutual and amicable.”

“Thor” has to date grossed more than $437 million worldwide. Not quite “Iron Man” numbers like Marvel would have hoped, but coupled with good reviews, certainly worthy of a sequel with the right budget in place.

Fans of the God of Thunder will now get to see star Chris Hemsworth and his trusty Mjolnir on screen for three straight summers. Hemsworth is currently filming “The Avengers,” which will release next May. The actor will be quite busy between filming this sequel next year, filming “Snow White and the Huntsman” opposite Kristen Stewart later this summer and has just this week attaching himself to “Shadow Runner,” a film from one of the “Huntsman” writers that centers on “elite commandos.” Hopefully he can keep his abs in pristine condition for another 10 months or so.

As for the news about Branagh not directing the film, it’s not all that surprising. Branagh never directed a major studio tentpole prior to “Thor” and he probably has more interest in pursuing works of a smaller scale. And although he did handle the drama very well, some were critical of his ability to film action sequences. In other words, he’s the opposite of Michael Bay. Also, with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) playing roles in “Avengers,” who knows how that will impact the story of “Thor 2.”

For those curious on an official date, tentpoles scheduled for July 2013 include Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming monsters vs. mechas film “Pacific Rim” (7/12) and “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski’s sci-fi film “Oblivion” (7/19). The popular July 4 holiday will be home to a family film that summer in “Despicable Me 2.” Chances are, however, that anywhere “Thor 2” plops down, the other studios will have to respect it.


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