By Zack Zeigler
A sequel--a good one, anyway--won’t retread the action or story of the original film. That leaves the sequel’s director with a tricky job: Tell a fresh story that will entertain as many (but hopefully more) people as the first film while finding areas to inject their unique spin into the finished product.
|Star Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and director Alan Taylor on set of "Thor: The Dark World," in theaters November 8|
“’Thor’ was very successful,” said “Thor: The Dark World” director Alan Taylor. “[Kenneth Branagh] brought together an amazing cast and focused what could have been a huge rambling mythology on varying intimate family relations. That was all brilliant.”
The area Taylor instantly felt he could leave his own impression was the appearance of Asgard.
“[Asgard] felt too shiny and too brand new,” he explained. “When I came in, I was in love with the Norse mythology. I was in love with grounding it more into kind of a Viking or medieval look, and a sort of a sense of history and weight. So in Asgard, for example, we're seeing the back streets rather than the shiny, golden palace. And we go into some shiny palace rooms, but we tend to blow them up this time.”
Taylor’s journey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes after years of directing television; a partial list of his impressive resume includes episodes from “The Sopranos,” “Mad Men,” and “Game of Thrones.” In one sense, his transition from the small screen to the big screen wasn’t so bumpy.
|Star Jaimie Alexander (Sif) and director Alan Taylor on set of "Thor: The Dark World"|
“A lot of the television experience applied here because there is an episodic quality to [‘Thor: The Dark World’]. It's volume two of something that's already been established,” he said. “But in television, I try and put my stamp on what's already been established, and see what I can do to give it my sensibility.”
Over the course of production, the film’s villain, Malekith, grew increasingly sinister as the creative team hammered out the details of the story.
“[Malekith’s] mission became grander and grander, and we sort of invented a time scale for where he’s been [and] what his back story is to make it big enough for Thor. You’ve got Thor and Loki, and you’ve got Algrim and Malekith, so you have some chance for an intimate connection.”
|Alan Taylor directs Chris Hemsworth in a scene from "Thor: The Dark World"|
For Taylor, it was also important to keep “Thor: The Dark World” true in a historical context while at the same time maintaining a tone that stayed in synch with Marvel Studios’ blend of ambitious storytelling and tongue-in-cheek humor.
“I was going to be a history professor before I sold out and went into TV,” he remarked. “And Thor, even though he's a Marvel character, is also obviously deeply rooted in Norse mythology…and I just love drawing on past cultures. That's a thrill to me. I saw ‘[Marvel’s The] Avengers’ and loved the ‘balance to tones’ that Marvel does. [Marvel films] can make you care, and then make you laugh at what just happened, and then--just when you think, ‘This is ridiculous!’--they let you know it's ridiculous. And that's a wonderful dance that they do.”
Get your tickets now for Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World," only in theaters November 8, and for the latest on the Mighty Avenger's new big screen adventure keep your eyes on Marvel.com, like the official Thor Facebook page and follow @ThorMovies on Twitter!