Thor: Tales of Asgard

Producing Thor: Tales of Asgard

Associate Producer Joshua Fine talks about bringing 'Thor: Tales of Asgard' to animated life!'

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The feature-length animated movie "Thor: Tales of Asgard" comes to Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, May 17, and to celebrate we've got a week full of behind-the-scenes art, interviews and clips from the movie! Journey back to the days of Thor's youth in this stunning new film, and stay tuned to Marvel.com all week for all the latest!

"Thor: Tales of Asgard" Blu-ray Combo Pack box art
With the release of "Thor: Tales of Asgard" less than a week away, we spoke with the film's Associate Producer, Joshua Fine, to get the low-down on what went into the making of Thor's animated adventure!

Looking back at the movie's influences, characters and villains, Fine let us in on the process that brought "Thor: Tales of Asgard" to Blu-ray and DVD, and you can read all his thoughts on the movie right here!

Marvel.com: What was the motivation and direction behind the development of the "Thor: Tales of Asgard"?

Joshua Fine: We knew that we wanted to do a Thor story for our seventh direct-to-video movie. Fun fact, this movie was actually the seventh one that we produced, not the eighth. Believe it or not, we completed work on it about six months before we completed "Planet Hulk." The decision was later made that its release would work best alongside the theatrical release of the live action Thor movie.

The goal for us in creating each of the movies has been to create something very different with each one--to really explore a different angle of the Marvel Universe, and show off to fans and newcomers alike the wide breadth of different material that Marvel has to offer. With this movie we were aiming to do a classic, epic fantasy story that would allow us to get out and explore the majesty and dangers of the Nine Realms.

Final color art for Thor from "Thor: Tales of Asgard"

As we were exploring different Thor stories for possible adaptation, we came across a book called THOR: SON OF ASGARD by Akira Yoshida and Greg Tocchini. This book was a vivid look at Thor, Loki and their friends in the early days of their youth, before Thor wielded his mighty hammer, Mjolnir. We loved the classic fantasy feel of the book, and the fact that it tackled the relationship between Thor and Loki before Loki became an outright villain.

That book was in itself a nod to some of the Tales of Asgard backups that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created in the original JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, also exploring the childhood of Thor and Loki. We approached the movie by taking some of the ideas from both the SON OF ASGARD comics and the Tales of Asgard backups and incorporating them into a brand new adventure.

Marvel.com: How can we compare and contrast Thor in this film to Thor in the comics?

Joshua Fine: This movie is really a chance to see how the epic story of Thor begins--to see what the character was like before he was hailed as the champion of Asgard. [We] see him begin to grow into that role as he goes up against incredible threats to his home.

Those familiar with the comics will recognize all the trademark characteristics of Thor in the early days--the brash cockiness and arrogance; the bull-headed determination; the thirst for adventure and battle. This is very much Thor at the very beginning of his character arc, before he was ever cast out of Asgard to learn humility amongst the mortals. But you get to see the very beginning of his journey to become the honorable champion that we know and love from the comics today.

The cast of "Thor: Tales of Asgard"

Marvel.com: What type of tone are you setting with the film? Can we expect some twists and turns?

Joshua Fine: In general, the movie is fun, action-packed, and light-hearted. We wanted to establish a fantastic quest and a feeling of swashbuckling adventure in the film. At times though, the story turns very dark. While the Warriors Three breathe a great deal of fun and humor into the story, the stakes of their quest are very real. Fans looking for some serious drama will be rewarded.

And I don’t want to give any of them away, but there are a number of big twists and turns in the movie. One of the things that I like best about this movie is that you really don’t see how things are going to fully play out until the very end.

Marvel.com: Who were your personal favorite characters in the movie?

Joshua Fine: Loki is probably my favorite villain in Marvel comics, and getting a chance to back up to a time before his dark turn was really a joy for me. We get a chance to explore the relationship of Thor and Loki while they’re still close-knit brothers and really best friends. You get to see the way that they balance each other and how their personalities really complement each other. Thor here is really the brash, aggressive Warrior, while Loki gets to play the clever, silver-tongued sorcerer. One thing that really hits home for me about these characters is that when you see what they were like back in their youths, it makes the tragedy of how things end up all the more painful.

Background art of Jotunheim from "Thor: Tales of Asgard"

The Warriors Three are also a great deal of fun. Their individual "appetites" lend a lot of humor to the story and they steal just about every scene that they’re in.

Marvel.com: How is this movie different from the past Marvel Lionsgate films?

Joshua Fine: This is really the first time that we’ve done a classic sort of fantasy quest. You get to journey into the mystery of the Nine Realms with Thor and his company aboard incredible flying ships, trek across the icy planes of Jotunheim, navigate the barren wastelands of Svartalfheim, and face off with everything from brutish rock trolls, to slavering wolf-men, to massive frost giants.

Another aspect that’s a bit different about this movie is the fact that there’s not really a clear cut villain, in the classic sense. In a very Shakespearean fashion, everyone in the movie has a very understandable, even justifiable motivation for what they’re doing. That’s the stuff that great character drama is made of.

Marvel.com: What were some stand-out moments during the development of this movie?

Joshua Fine: One of the most critical moments in the development of the movie was when Kevin Feige, the President of Production for Marvel Studios' live action slate, urged us to incorporate the Warriors Three into our adventure. Once you see how much fun we ended up having with those characters, it’s hard to imagine the movie without them.

Background art of Asgard from "Thor: Tales of Asgard"

For me, one of the personal highlights was in developing Loki’s character. Figuring out ways to show off his incredible intelligence, his mischievous nature, and ways at hinting at his background from the comics. I really wanted the audience to love the fact that Loki is on our side in this movie, making it all the more painful when you realize how things end up.

I’d say another big highlight was seeing Phil Baroussa’s first round of character designs for the movie. The style is just stunningly beautiful and even in the still poses they captured all of the attitude and personality of the characters.

Marvel.com: Are there any characters who you envisioned one way, but developed into something different onscreen?
Final coloar art for Loki from "Thor: Tales of Asgard"

Joshua Fine: One of the great things about working with Supervising Director Gary Hartle is his devotion to every single character, no matter how minor or how background they may appear. There’s a character named Ander in the film, one of the elite Einherjar warriors, and Thor’s mentor. He was originally conceived as being fairly incidental to the story, but Gary really lent a whole bunch more to who this guy was. By the time we were done, this character had a pretty thoroughly thought out backstory and motivation. A lot of it isn’t spelled out explicitly in the movie, but you can get a sense of certain things just by the way he moves and acts.

Marvel.com: For you, whose character was the most interesting to work with from a development and production perspective?

Joshua Fine: Loki is definitely my favorite. He’s just such a great, deep, complex character with so much opportunity for storytelling. The journey that he and Thor go on over the course of their lives is so remarkable and so fraught with tragedy that I really could see doing half a dozen more of these films just exploring that relationship.

Pick up "Thor: Tales of Asgard" on Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday, May 17, and stay tuned to Marvel.com for even more on the film in the coming days!

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