Marvel Comics chief Joe Quesada has been talking about the company's upcoming Thor movie, including what comics it'll draw from, why Kenneth Branagh is the ideal director, and the problems of making a Thor movie in the first place.
As part of his new "Cup O' Joe" mini-site at comic site ComicBookResources.com, Quesada spilled a lot of beans about the upcoming movie based on Marvel's particular take on the Norse God of Thunder. Casually mentioning that Branagh will be drawing from the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby run of the series as well as the critically-acclaimed Walter Simonson run from the 1980s (Two runs that focused less on generic superheroing and more on the mythological aspect of the character), Quesada talked about Branagh pitching Marvel execs on his take on the movie:
We sat with Kenneth and discussed the "Thor" movie and the overarching story of what that's going to be, just to give our input before anything was put down to paper by screenwriters. And it was one of the highlights of my time here at Marvel because not only did Branagh sit there and give you the story beat for beat, he and [Marvel Studios head] Kevin Feige formed a great team. It was performance art. Kevin would give us the establishment of the shot and the situation: "Here we are. We're in (take your pick of location). And here's Odin and he's coming up to (pick a character)." And then Kenneth would come in and give you the color commentary. "Odin has an air of majesty to him" and he'd act out the Odin part or the Thor part. So we sat there and literally got a three-hour one-man show from Kenneth Branagh. It was fantastic. People pay a lot of money for that kind of performance by one of the world's greatest living actors... He'd sit there and give us the emotions between the characters as they are in scenes – what the character's motivation is in that particular moment and how it relates to the overarching story of the movie. He's definitely about character, which is the quintessential trait you have to have to understand the Marvel characters. It's not just big hammers and capes and things like that.
(Don't worry, hammer fans; Quesada also promised that Thor would have "reasons and motivations for him to hit people with his hammer… hard!")
Looking at the lack of mainstream awareness of Marvel's characters beyond those already in the movie biz, Quesada also talked about how to overcome Thor's lack of brand recognition:
We had the same conversation in internally about "Iron Man." We knew Iron Man wasn't as recognizable to most people not into comics. He's not Spider-Man... We'll be getting out there. We've got plans already to get Thor's name out within a younger group of kids. I think the upcoming "Super Hero Squad" and "Avengers Animated" shows are going to do wonders to get that across, and then we're working on a couple of ancillary things here and there to boost the desire for kids in particular to know more about Thor and the general public as well.
If this means turning a new generation of kids into mythology geeks, I'm all for it... As long as they don't start talking in Stan Lee's faux-Shakespearean dialogue in the process.
Joe Quesada Talks Thor, Iron Man 2 [Comic Book Resources/Cup O Joe]