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Development of Thor: The Dark World began in April 2011, when producer Kevin Feige announced plans for a sequel to follow the crossover film The Avengers. In July 2011, Kenneth Branagh, the director of Thor, withdrew from the project. Brian Kirk and Patty Jenkins were considered to direct the film before Taylor was hired in January 2012. The supporting cast filled out in August 2012, with the hiring of Eccleston and Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Principal photography began in September 2012 in Surrey, England with filming continuing in Iceland and London, before wrapping up in December 2012. Thor: The Dark World was converted to 3D in post-production.
Thor: The Dark World premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on October 22, 2013, and was released on November 8, 2013, in the United States. Many critics praised it for its visual effects and performances (particularly Hemsworth and Hiddleston), but criticized its story, villain, and pacing; many critics declare it the weakest of the MCU films. The film was a commercial success, grossing over $644 million worldwide and making it the tenth highest-grossing film of 2013. A third film, Thor: Ragnarok, was released on November 3, 2017, and a fourth film, Thor: Love and Thunder, is in development and is scheduled for release on November 5, 2021.
Eons ago, Bor, father of Odin, clashes with the Dark ElfMalekith, who seeks to unleash a weapon known as the Aether on the nine realms. After conquering Malekith's forces, including enhanced warriors called the Kursed, on their home world of Svartalfheim, Bor safeguards the Aether within a stone column. Unknown to Bor, Malekith as well as his lieutenant Algrim and a handful of Dark Elves escape into suspended animation.
In present-day Asgard, Loki stands imprisoned for his war crimes on Earth.[N 1] Meanwhile, Thor, alongside warriors Fandral, Volstagg, and Sif, repel marauders on Vanaheim, home of their comrade Hogun; it is the final battle in a war to pacify the Nine Realms following the reconstruction of the Bifröst, the "Rainbow Bridge" between realms, which had been destroyed two years earlier.[N 2] The Asgardians soon learn that the Convergence, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, is imminent; as the event approaches, portals linking the worlds appear at random.
In London, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster and her intern Darcy Lewis travel to an abandoned factory where such portals have appeared, disrupting the laws of physics around them. Separating from the group, Foster is teleported to another world, where she is infected by the Aether. Heimdall alerts Thor that Foster has moved beyond his near all-seeing vision, leading Thor to Earth. When Thor finds Foster, she inadvertently releases an unearthly force, and Thor returns with her to Asgard. Odin, recognizing the Aether, warns that the Aether will not only kill Foster but that its return heralds a catastrophic prophecy.
Malekith, awakened by the Aether's release, turns Algrim into a Kursed and attacks Asgard. During the battle, Malekith and Algrim search for Foster, sensing that she contains the Aether. Thor's mother Frigga is killed protecting Foster, and Malekith and Algrim are forced to flee without Foster. Despite Odin's orders not to leave Asgard, Thor reluctantly enlists the help of Loki, who knows of a secret portal to Svartalfheim, where they will use Foster to lure and confront Malekith, away from Asgard. In return, Thor promises Loki vengeance on Malekith for killing their mother. With Volstagg and Sif stalling Asgardian soldiers and Fandral assisting their escape, Thor, Loki, and Foster head to Svartalfheim.
There, Loki tricks Malekith into drawing the Aether out of Foster, but Thor's attempt to destroy the exposed substance fails. Malekith merges with the Aether and leaves in his ship as Loki is fatally wounded while killing Algrim. Thor, cradling Loki in his arms, promises to tell their father of his sacrifice. Afterward, Thor and Foster discover another portal in a nearby cave and reunite in London with Lewis and Foster's mentor Dr. Erik Selvig--who was briefly institutionalized due to the mental trauma he suffered during Loki's attack on Earth. They learn that Malekith plans to restore the Dark Elves to dominance by unleashing the Aether at the center of the Convergence in Greenwich. Thor battles Malekith through various portals and across multiple worlds until one portal separates them, leaving Malekith unopposed on Earth. Thor returns in time to help his mortal comrades use their scientific equipment to transport Malekith to Svartalfheim, where he is crushed by his own damaged ship.
Thor returns to Asgard, where he declines Odin's offer to take the throne and tells Odin of Loki's sacrifice. As he leaves, Odin's form transforms into Loki, who is alive and impersonating Odin.
In a mid-credits scene, Volstagg and Sif visit the Collector and entrust the Aether to his care, commenting that with the Tesseract already in Asgard, having two Infinity Stones so close together would be unwise. As they leave, the Collector states his desire to acquire the other five Stones. In a post-credits scene, Foster and Thor reunite on Earth, while somewhere in London, a frost monster from Jotunheim--accidentally transported to Earth during the final battle--continues to run amok.
The cast of Thor: The Dark World at the world premiere in London. Top to bottom: Hemsworth, Portman, Hiddleston, Elba, Eccleston, Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Dennings (Scrollable image)
Chris Hemsworth as Thor: The crown prince of Asgard, based on the Norse mythologicaldeity of the same name. Hemsworth stated that the film addresses unresolved issues regarding Thor's relationships from previous films, "For Thor and Jane, there are some unanswered questions now, since obviously he didn't stop in and catch up with her in The Avengers. Thor might have some explaining to do in this one. And with Loki, we get down to the major bones of our conflict with everything that's come from Thor to Avengers to now." Hemsworth added, "Thor's journey I think picks more so up from where we left the first one--About to take on the throne... and now coming to the realization of what responsibility comes with that. Also, Alan [Taylor] keeps talking about the dark side of that responsibility, and the secrets of being king or becoming sort of very political about what people need to know and what they want to know." Hemsworth especially enjoyed the role of Thor in this film as he was able to, "... break him down and find his human qualities and his vulnerable side."
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster: An astrophysicist and Thor's love interest who is brought from Earth to Asgard by Thor after she is infected with a mysterious energy. Producer Kevin Feige said, "[W]hile Thor was a fish out of water on Earth in the first two films (Thor and The Avengers), this time Jane is very much a fish out of water in Asgard." Portman added, "It was a whole different adventure this time. Because Jane is the fish out of water. I didn't want to make it like Bill & Ted, or like a valley girl dumped into Shakespeareland." Portman also said the film finds Jane at a different place in her life, "Jane has moved, so she's now in London, not in Santa Fe anymore. Obviously she has gone through missing Thor and also being upset at him because he didn't come knock on her door when he was on her planet. She's definitely been getting over that and trying to move on." Hemsworth's wife Elsa Pataky stood in for Portman during the post-credits kissing scene due to a scheduling conflict.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki: Thor's adoptive brother and nemesis, based on the deity of the same name, who forms an uneasy alliance with Thor against the Dark Elves. On where he wished to take the character in the film, Hiddleston said, "I'd like to take [Loki] to his absolute rock bottom. I'd like to see him yield, essentially, to his darkest instincts. Then, having hit rock bottom, maybe come back up. I think the fascination for me about playing Loki is that, in the history of the mythology and the comic books and the Scandinavian myths, is he's constantly dancing on this fault line of the dark side and redemption." Hiddleston recalled, "When I met Alan [Taylor], he asked me how I thought I could do Loki again without repeating myself and I remembered talking with Kevin Feige when we were on the Avengers promotional tour. I said, 'OK, you've seen Thor and Loki be antagonistic for two films now. It would be amazing to see them fight side by side. I've been the bad guy now twice, so I can't be again, or otherwise I shouldn't be in the film. So we have to find a new role for me to play."
Anthony Hopkins as Odin: The king of Asgard, father of Thor, and adoptive father of Loki, based on the deity of the same name, who disapproves of Jane Foster being in Asgard. Regarding Thor's relationship with his father, Hemsworth said, "[T]he conflict between Thor and Odin was so great in the first one... so, certainly they disagree as I think they always will at times but there's a far greater respect from each other. So it becomes, I guess, a more mature conversation, but there's more at stake this time, too. It's not sort of just their individual egos, the whole universe is at stake." As to his approach Hopkins said, "I just play Odin like a human being, with maybe a little more dimension. I grow a beard, look hopefully impressive and keep it as real as possible."
Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig: Foster's mentor and colleague. Skarsgård said, the film finds Selvig in a "disrupted mode" explaining, "Having a god in your head for a while creates some psychological problems", referring to the character's ordeal following The Avengers.
Idris Elba as Heimdall: The all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian sentry of the Bifröst Bridge, based on the mythological deity of the same name. Elba said he has a larger role in the sequel, "In the new film we're going to get to know Heimdall the Asgardian a bit better, and we're going to get to know Asgard a bit better. I can't say too much, but the expansion of Thor in his world is going to be huge. My part was very small and functional in the first film".
Christopher Eccleston as Malekith: The ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. About Malekith's motivation, Eccleston said, "There is a kind of tragic quality to his quest. Because he's lost his wife, he's lost his children. He's lost everything. And he returns for revenge. And the agent for his revenge is the Aether. If he gets hold of that, he is omnipotent." Eccleston continued, "What I thought about a great deal was revenge--there's huge amounts of revenge. One quote is: 'When you seek revenge, be sure to dig two graves.' I did a film called Revengers Tragedy where I played a guy called Vindici--from the word 'vindictive'--and he is the distillation of revenge. So, in a way, that was what I had to think of: how revenge can make you absolutely monomaniacal--though you're still trying to make it recognizably motive-led. It's just the personification of movie evil." However Taylor stated that a lot of scenes involving Malekith's backstory had to be cut from the film to make it more efficient. Eccleston revealed that he speaks an invented language for the film explaining, "The Elvish language is definitely based on European languages. I think there's probably some Finnish in there. It does have its logic and its rhythms. It also has many syllables and it's very difficult to do while remaining naturalistic. It's been a particular challenge for us but hopefully it gives the film some complexity and variety." Eccleston also said the role required six hours of make-up and 45 minutes in wardrobe.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Algrim / Kurse: A Dark Elf and Malekith's trusted and loyal lieutenant who is transformed into a monstrous creature in order to destroy Thor. Akinnuoye-Agbaje described Kurse as "an amalgamation of a bull and a lava-like creature. He has very animalistic tendencies but with this insatiable and unstoppable power. As an actor, that's one of the hardest things to embody. You have to realize you are probably the most powerful thing you could imagine. And you have to be that. You can't pretend, so that when you face Thor, it's real." Akinnuoye-Agbaje stated the role required three hours of make-up a day and had to put on heavy duty prosthetics explaining, "The outfit weighed about 40 pounds. I'm sure there will be a certain amount of CGI but a good 80% was me in that suit." About the character Akinnuoye-Agbaje said, "I suppose Algrim and Kurse would be the quintessential baddies, but in reality they are what I perceive as the scorn and the victims of the story. They are the elves who have basically lost their planet and their race to another race, the Asgardians. Here is a man/alien who places a noble objective beyond his own life and I think there is something extremely inspiring about that because he looks at the bigger picture and sees himself as a means to that end." Akinnuoye-Agbaje added, "I worked with director Alan Taylor in trying to maintain Algrim's humanity all the way throughout Kurse's transformation, so that even when you see Kurse the beast, you can still relate to him as being Algrim inside. And symbolically we did that by keeping the same piercing blue eyes throughout."
Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis: A political science major who is interning for Foster. Her role in the film was expanded from the comic relief sidekick role she played in the first Thor film. Dennings said her character is "really bad at real science in this first movie. In the second movie, she's more interested, but she still doesn't know anything about it. She loves Jane, she really wants Jane and Thor to be together. It's almost like her own little soap opera that she watches."
Ray Stevenson as Volstagg: A member of the Warriors Three, a group of three Asgardian adventurers who are among Thor's closest comrades, known for both his hearty appetite and wide girth. About the character Stevenson said, "He's got a heart the size of a planet that he wears on his sleeve, so he's like a big kid." Regarding Volstagg's role in this film, Stevenson said, "Volstagg is struggling, he has a brood, they [the Warriors Three] are fighting for hearth and home as much as for the idea of Asgard itself. That's where he has trouble." Explaining, "He's all too aware of how potentially threatening this new enemy is on both the home front and the battlefield."
Zachary Levi as Fandral: A member of the Warriors Three, characterized as an irrepressible swashbuckler and romantic. Levi replaced Joshua Dallas in the role due to Dallas's commitment on Once Upon a Time. Levi had been up for the role in the first film, but bowed out due to his commitment on Chuck. Levi compared the character to Flynn Rider, the character he played in the animated feature, Tangled, "Fandral is a little similar to Rider in some ways... He's like this Lothario. He's like Errol Flynn. He loves ladies, as do I". Regarding the dynamic of the Warriors Three, Levi said, "The Warriors Three are here to support Thor. We are his confidants, his best friends. We've all grown up together in a lot of ways and fought many a battle together, escaped death. To me it's the way best friends ought to be--they're there when you need to talk and they're there if you don't want to talk, and they're there if you need to escape from your father's place in a flying skiff!"
Jaimie Alexander as Sif: An Asgardian warrior, Thor's childhood friend and Jane Foster's romantic rival, based on the deity of the same name. Alexander said there is more character development for Sif and the film explores the Sif-Thor relationship. Alexander elaborated, "I really tried to bring a little bit more vulnerability in this film. Sif is very much in love with Thor and very much cares about his well-being. So she kicks a lot of butt in this movie but she also opens her heart a lot." Alexander suffered a severe back injury while on the set. About the injury, she said, "It was raining, it was dark outside, it was like 5 in the morning--and I went down a metal staircase and slipped and slipped a disc in my thoracic spine and chipped 11 of my vertebrae. I knocked my left shoulder out of place and tore my rhomboid on my right side... It took me out of filming for a month".
Rene Russo as Frigga: The wife of Odin, queen of Asgard, mother of Thor, and adoptive mother of Loki, based on the mythological deity of the same name. Russo said that her role was expanded and explores Frigga's relationship with Loki, "You know, they cut me [down] in the first film. Kenneth Branagh sent me a nice note, because he understood, he's an actor. You move on, what are you going to do? But I think they're going to need a good mom in the next film. Loki needs his mom. I have a lot of compassion for [Loki]. But we might have to have a conversation about what he just did".
"In both cases, it's using the conceit of a fantastical, alien world to make fresh what is really a domestic drama. In Game of Thrones, seeing Tyrion battle with his sister Cersei, seeing the relationships between children and their fathers... It's all the stuff we're interested in at a psychological level because we're living it all the time. But it takes place in this otherwise fantastical, foreign realm. I think the same thing is true in Thor. The brilliant thing Ken Branagh did in launching it was making it very much a story about two brothers, a story about brothers competing for the love of their father. So it's small, confined and human at the same time it's this blown-out, intergalactic world."
--Alan Taylor, director of Thor: The Dark World and several episodes of Game of Thrones
In April 2011 before the release of Thor (2011), Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stated that following The Avengers (2012), "Thor will go off into a new adventure."Kenneth Branagh, director of Thor, responded to his comments, saying, "It is kind of news to me. Here's what I would say to that: It's that I'm thrilled they're that confident. I shall wait for the audience to tell us whether there should be a second one, and then if that's a nice conversation to be had [among] all of us, that'd be thrilling. But I've got too much Irish superstitious blood in me to assume that Thor 2 will happen. But if Marvel says so, then I guess it must be true". Feige later explained that Marvel Studios would gauge how well Thor did at the box office before announcing sequels, but stated, "Don Payne is working on story ideas for a part two. We've got various options with Ken [Branagh] to discuss coming back, but right now the focus is on the first one. Don is, slowly but surely, thinking about where to take the character next should we be so lucky".
In June 2011, Walt Disney Studios set a July 26, 2013, release date for the Thor sequel with Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the title hero. It was also reported that Branagh would not be returning as director but would likely be involved in a producing capacity. The Los Angeles Times cited the long commitment necessary for a special effects-heavy epic and the pressure to start the script process right away as reasons for Branagh's departure, although he was initially enthused by the chance to direct the sequel. Branagh noted, "It was a long time [making the first film] and they were way too quick for me to get straight back into another, [but] it was a pleasurable experience and a film I'm very proud of." The following day, Marvel formally hired Payne, one of the credited writers of the first film, to script the sequel. In August, Brian Kirk entered early negotiations to direct the Thor sequel. The film would have marked Kirk's first time directing a big-budget motion picture, after having directed television series for HBO, Showtime and the BBC, including Game of Thrones.
In September 2011, Tom Hiddleston confirmed he would return in the sequel, speculating that in the film, "[Loki will] have to take responsibility for what he's done".Patty Jenkins, the director of Monster and the pilot episode of AMC's The Killing, entered early negotiations with Marvel Studios and Disney to direct the film, after Kirk had passed due to contractual sticking points that arose during negotiations. Later in the month, Feige stated the sequel would "take Thor literally to other worlds" and would "primarily be the journey of that character, of he and Jane Foster and how the new dynamic with his father is working out, as well as what are the broader stakes for The Nine Worlds". On October 13, 2011, Marvel confirmed that Jenkins would direct the sequel and Natalie Portman would return to star. Disney also moved the release date for the film to November 15, 2013.
"The main difference I have [from Branagh's approach] is really to do with look and tone. Things look really dirty. The first Thor was quite shiny and it was a very conscious, smart choice. When I came in, I wanted to get more of a sense of the Norse mythology: the Viking quality, the texture and weight of the history. He's a superhero, but he's been around for thousands of years. His dad is god!"
In December 2011, Jenkins exited the project, citing "creative differences". She stated, "I have had a great time working at Marvel. We parted on very good terms, and I look forward to working with them again." Jenkins felt she could not have made a good film "out of Thor 2 because I wasn't the right director... I could have made a great Thor if I could have done the story that I was wanting to do. But I don't think I was the right person to make a great Thor out of the story they wanted to do." Jenkins had intended to create a film based on the premise of Romeo and Juliet, where Jane was stuck on Earth with Thor forbidden to come save her. After Thor eventually does travel to Earth, he and Jane would have discovered that Malekith was "hiding the dark energy inside of Earth because he knows that Odin doesn't care about Earth, and so he's using Odin's disinterest in Earth to trick him."
Three days later, it was reported that Marvel was looking at Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan as prospective directors to replace Jenkins, and were also in the midst of hiring a writer to rewrite Don Payne's script, with the shortlist of possible writers consisting of John Collee, Robert Rodat, and Roger Avary. At the end of the month, Alan Taylor, best known for directing episodes of the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, was chosen to direct the sequel. Feige mentioned Taylor's work on the series Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones as reasons for his hiring, saying "With Alan's direction we got a few more layers of patina, of texture, of reality into our golden realm." By January 10, Marvel Studios had commissioned screenwriter Robert Rodat to rewrite the sequel and Hiddleston stated that filming was expected to begin in London in the summer of 2012. Hemsworth later confirmed that filming was scheduled to begin in August. Hemsworth also revealed that the film would have a more Viking-influenced feel, elaborating "I think the science fiction element to Thor ... the danger is it falls a little bit into the world of it's 'tough to throw a light to.' I think of big waterfalls and mountains and a Viking influence, where the Norse mythology kind of grew from. Having that in Asgard is going to make it all the more special and that's what Alan [Taylor] wants to bring to it." Feige said "while the relationship between Loki and Thor certainly has changed [after the events of the movie The Avengers] and has progressed, a lot of Thor 2 is picking up where it left off in terms of Jane, who you just saw for a moment on a computer monitor, and also what's been going on in the nine realms without the Asgardians being able to use the Bifrost." Feige also said that while Loki has a part, "there will be a different villain, another big villain".
Principal photography began on September 10, 2012, in Bourne Wood, Surrey, England, under the working title Thursday Mourning. A few weeks later, Clive Russell was cast as Tyr, and Richard Brake was cast as an Einherjar captain. At the end of the month, Jaimie Alexander was injured on the London film set, after she slipped while walking in the rain. On October 12, 2012, production moved to Iceland with filming taking place in Dómadalur, Skógafoss, Fjaðrárgljúfur and Skeiðarársandur. Iceland Review described the shoot as being among the most extensive film projects to have ever taken place in Iceland. Three days later, Disney announced that the film would be released in 3D. In late October, filming commenced at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London. Filming also took place at Shepperton Studios and Longcross Studios in Surrey between October and December 2012. Other filming locations included Wembley, Borough Market, Hayes and Stonehenge. Alexander tweeted that principal photography wrapped on December 14, 2012. In a 2013 report on film production costs for films from FilmL.A. Inc., indicated a gross budget of $170 million, with a UK tax offset of $17.3 million for Thor: The Dark World. In 2016 Disney company accounts stated the budget spend was $237.6 million on Thor: The Dark World but $37 million of this was offset by payments from the UK tax authority.
Kramer Morgenthau, who worked with Taylor on Game of Thrones, was brought in as the director of photography. Morgenthau said, "We wanted a grittier, boots-on-the-ground feeling, inspired by what Alan and I had done on Game of Thrones. We wanted the realms to feel grounded, like a real place, while at the same time respecting the magical 'planet of the Gods' feeling and theme." Thor: The Dark World was Morgenthau's first time shooting a feature film digitally. For the film, Morgenthau chose the Arri Alexa Plus, although he tested with the Sony F65 but found the Alexa to be more pleasing. In addition to the Alexa, Red Epic and Canon EOS 5D Mark II cameras were used for second unit filming. With the Alexa, Morgenthau used Panavisionanamorphic lenses. Morgenthau said, "The lenses brought some of the magic and mystery of photochemical back to digital, that big-movie look." Morgenthau also stated that Thor: The Dark World was easily the most technically complex project that he has worked but said, "It's all the same concept and the same principles as in a smaller film. You just scale it up. You do a lot more prep. We had three months of prep and loads of time to pre-rig stages. Part of it is having a really good crew--it's definitely not a one-man show."
In July 2013, Dennings told reporters that the film was about to head into reshoots. In August, Taylor said he shot extra scenes with Hiddleston and was about to shoot more with Hopkins. Taylor explained that it was all a part of the "Marvel process" saying, "We're doing full scenes, scenes that were not in the movie before. We're adding scenes, creating scenes, writing scenes for the first time. The one [involving Loki] was a fun connective scene... We realised how well Loki was working in the movie, and we wanted to do more with him. So it was that kind of thing, it was like, 'Oh, we could do this, we could jam this in here' because he's such a wonderful guy to watch do his stuff." Also in August, IMAX Corporation and Marvel Entertainment announced that the film would be digitally re-mastered into the IMAX 3D format and released into IMAX 3D theatres internationally beginning October 30, 2013.
Taylor said Marvel's The Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon rewrote several scenes in the film explaining, "Joss came in to save our lives a couple of times. We had a major scene that was not working on the page at all in London, and he basically got airlifted in, like a SWAT team or something. He came down, rewrote the scene, and before he got back to his plane I sort of grabbed him and said, 'And this scene and this scene?' And he rewrote two other scenes that I thought had problems." In October 2013, Tony Curran tweeted that he would be portraying Odin's father, Bor, in a flashback sequence. In November 2013, Feige stated that the film was intended to be the conclusion of the "Loki trilogy", which examined the relationship of Thor and Loki throughout Thor, The Avengers and this film. The film's mid-credits scene was directed by James Gunn, the director of Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy.
Photo of the Lofoten islands off the coast of Norway, taken in July 2008
The same islands used in the film with CG Asgardian structures added by Double Negative
The film's visual effects were completed by seven special effects studios, including Double Negative and Luma Pictures. Blur Studio was the lead studio behind the film's prologue sequence taking place 5,000 years before the start of the film, on the Dark Elves homeworld of Svartalfheim. The sequence consisted mostly of computer graphics with live-action shots interwoven throughout. The use of CG allowed for greater freedom of movement by the characters as the live-action costumes were too constrictive.
Taylor wanted Asgard in this film to have a more natural look than its predecessor. To achieve this, crews filmed the coast of Norway with an Arri Alexa camera for three days in a helicopter, capturing six hours of footage. Double Negative then embedded their CG rendering of Asgard on shots of the natural landscape. Double Negative visual effects supervisor Alex Wuttke said, "The benefit of that is that you have some real world terrain to work with - so you have buildings that have to convey natural features. Then from there we went in there populating the terrain with different buildings." For scenes taking place on Svartalfheim, production filmed in Iceland with Double Negative adding ruins, mountains, Dark Elf ships, and skies.
For the shot of the levitating truck, which was used in the film to demonstrate the strange phenomena brought on by the coming of the alignment of the worlds, filmmakers attached a cement truck to a large hydraulic rig, which could be programmed to change speed and movement. In order to create Algrim's transformation into Kurse, Double Negative morphed live action performances of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as both Algrim and Kurse. Double Negative then added in smoke and lava-like effects.[infringing link?]
The film's climactic battle sequence takes place through the nine worlds by the use of portals. Visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison said, "We ended up calling this 'time toffee', so as you punch through from one realm to another it's almost like cling film or a slightly gelatinous membrane you have to pass through. It bends a little bit then rips and spits the person out. The other thing we wanted to do was to make sure it was quite fast from an editorial point of view. In the fight scenes there are times when Thor and Malekith are portaling all over the place, quite frankly. We made sure we always kept up the momentum and never stopped the fight. It was a way of making sure the audience weren't conscious there was an effect going on."
In August 2012, Patrick Doyle said that he had discussions with the director about potentially returning to score the film. By April 2013, Carter Burwell had been hired to compose the score, but by the following month he left the film over creative differences. In June 2013, Marvel hired Brian Tyler, who scored Iron Man 3, to replace Burwell. Tyler said the previous film had an "attitude and [was] grounded in limitations" whereas the Thor film allowed for "all-out regal themes that could be as epic as I could make them." The composer described The Dark World as "science fiction meeting classic medieval war", leading to a score that drew from works of both genres such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.Azam Ali is a featured vocalist on the score. The soundtrack was released digitally on October 28, 2013.
In March 2013, Marvel announced the release of a two-issue comic book prelude by writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost and artist Scot Eaton in June 2013. In April 2013, Marvel released the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World. Forbes said, "This trailer fits nicely into that larger marketing push for Marvel's brand. It puts all of the recognizable characters from the first film front and center, presents the action as a team event reminiscent of the Avengers, and once again Loki--who was quite popular with audiences--makes an appearance." The Los Angeles Times said, "Evident throughout the trailer is director Alan Taylor's influence; the Game of Thrones director's hand can be seen in the battle sequences, and Asgard--a bright and shiny kingdom under Thor director Kenneth Branagh--seems grittier in the sequel." In July at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, Hiddleston introduced footage from the film to audiences in character as Loki. Also in July, Gameloft announced that a mobile video game titled, Thor the Dark World: The Official Game, would be released in conjunction with the release of the film in November.
The theatrical poster for the film was released in early August 2013. Kirsten Acuna of Business Insider criticized the poster for its lack of originality, noting its similarities to one of the posters of Iron Man 3, both of which included the female lead clinging to the male lead, with both looking in opposite directions, antagonists prominently displayed in the background and supporting characters featured "on the side". Additionally, Marvel released a second trailer for the film as part of YouTube's Geek Week.Forbes said, "this 150-second trailer is basically just an extended version of last April's 106-second teaser" and that "this trailer fails to showcase what's new this time around... making audiences question if they really don't have much else to offer." The Los Angeles Times said, that the trailer suggests "an ominous, epic scale for the sequel" and that "the collaboration between Thor and Loki promises to be especially interesting." Later in the month, producer Kevin Feige and cast members Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins presented additional footage at Disney's D23 Expo.
Also in August 2013, Disney announced plans to promote the film with an attraction at Disneyland. The attraction called Thor: Treasures of Asgard, located next to the Stark Industries exhibit inside Innoventions in Tomorrowland, opened on November 1, 2013 and features displays of Asgardian relics and transports guests to Odin's throne room, where they are greeted by Thor. The eighth episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., titled "The Well", takes place in the aftermath of the events of Thor: The Dark World. It first aired on November 19, 2013. Jaimie Alexander reprised her role as Sif in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Yes Men", which aired on March 11, 2014.
Thor: The Dark World earned $206.4 million in North America and $438.4 million in other markets for a worldwide total of $644.8 million. It surpassed the gross of its predecessor after just 19 days of its release.Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $139.4 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.
Thor: The Dark World made an estimated $7.1 million in Thursday night showings, more than double the midnight gross of its predecessor. On Friday, November 8, 2013, the film topped the box office with $31.9 million (including Thursday night earnings), which is 25% higher than the original film's opening-day gross. Through Sunday, the film remained at the No. 1 spot with $85.7 million, which is a 30% increase over its predecessor's opening weekend. This was the largest November opening for a film distributed by Disney, surpassing The Incredibles.Thor: The Dark World topped the box office in North America during its first two weekends, before being overtaken by The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in its third weekend.
On its midweek opening day of Wednesday, October 30, 2013, Thor: The Dark World earned $8.2 million from 33 territories, including the UK and France, where it opened higher than its predecessor. During its first three days, the film earned $45.2 million, and by the end of the weekend, after expanding into three more territories, it totaled $109.4 million over five days, finishing in first place in all 36 countries. Its largest openings were recorded in China ($21.0 million), the UK, Ireland and Malta ($13.8 million) and France and the Maghreb region ($9.94 million). It topped the box office outside North America on its first three weekends of release. In total earnings, its largest markets are China ($55.3 million), Russia and the CIS ($35.4 million) and the UK, Ireland and Malta ($31.4 million).
Taylor at the world premiere of Thor: The Dark World in London
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 67% approval rating with an average score of 6.22/10, based on 269 reviews; the lowest rated film in the MCU. The website's consensus reads, "It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect."Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 54 out of 100 based on 44 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an "A-" average, based on a grading scale ranging from A+ to F.
Ben Child of The Guardian said, "Thanks to Hiddleston and Hemsworth's impressive collective charisma, Thor: The Dark World is far from a franchise killer." Justin Chang of Variety wrote, "This robust, impersonal visual-effects showpiece proves buoyant and unpretentious enough to offset its stew of otherwise derivative fantasy/action elements." Alonso Duralde of The Wrap said, "Thor: The Dark World delivers the goods--action, otherworldly grandiosity, romance, humor--above and beyond its predecessor". Simon Abrams, writing for RogerEbert.com said, "There's just enough tension and humor in Thor: The Dark World to make the film's otherwise listless proceedings worth watching, but only just." Echoing other critics' sentiments, Frank Lovece of Film Journal International wrote, "Is it wrong that the best relationship in Thor: The Dark World is between the titular Norse-god superhero and his adoptive brother Loki? To take nothing away from Oscar-winner Natalie Portman, ... it's the complicated love-hate between Thor and the trickster god Loki that you can't turn your eyes from."
Conversely, Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph said, "It feels entirely made by committee--the definition of house style, without a personal stamp in sight." Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter said, "Although director Alan Taylor manages to get things going properly for the final battle in London, the long stretches before that on Asgard and the other branches of Yggdrasil are a drag, like filler episodes of Game of Thrones but without the narrative complexity, mythical heft or all-pervading sexiness." Michael Phillips of the Los Angeles Times described Thor: The Dark World as having the "same old threats of galaxy annihilation spiced with fairly entertaining fish-out-of-water jokes". Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times said, "the battle scenes are as lacking in heat and coherence as the central love story".
A second sequel named Thor: Love and Thunder is due to be released on November 5, 2021. Hemsworth and Thompson will both reprise their roles, with Natalie Portman returning after not appearing in Thor: Ragnarok. During Marvel's 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panel it was revealed that Portman would portray her character taking on the mantle of Thor, similar to the comics. Thompson revealed that Valkyrie will be the first LGBTQIA+ superhero in the MCU, with the character's sexuality being featured in the film. As the new King of Asgard, Valkyrie will be searching for a Queen; her sexuality was previously hinted at in Thor: Ragnarok, while a deleted scene explicitly depicted the character as such.
^As depicted in the 2012 film The Avengers. The events of Thor: The Dark World are set a year after the events of The Avengers.
^Þórarinsson, Þórarinn (August 3, 2012). "Thor 2 verður tekin upp á Íslandi" [Thor 2 will be shot in Iceland] (in Icelandic). Svarthofdi. Archived from the original on August 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012. ...en samkvæmt traustum heimildum Svarthöfða stendur til að taka ofurhetjumyndina Thor: The Dark World upp á Íslandi. / ... according to reliable sources ... the superhero movie Thor: The Dark World [will shoot] in Iceland.