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Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios have once more provided us with a series of what they call ‘fun facts,’ this time in support of their upcoming film, Thor: The Dark World in theaters on November 8, 2013.
Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers, Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
- In Thor: The Dark World more of the Nine Realms are introduced, offering a better understanding of the history and complexities of Thor’s universe. The Nine Realms are taken from Norse mythology and refer to the nine worlds that are supported by Yggdrasil, an immense ash tree, central to Norse cosmology. Asgard is depicted at the top and Earth, known as Midgard, in the middle. In the original Thor, Yggdrasil was established as a cosmic structure formed by a series of interwoven wormholes linking the nine worlds (Realms) together.
- The Medina/streets of Asgard set is the biggest set ever built for a Marvel film. One can actually walk around the streets of Asgard and see the shops, the pubs and the training ground.
- An aerial camera crew flew to the Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland (Europe’s most powerful waterfall) to film the cascading waters from every angle so that the waterfalls ringing Asgard could be rendered realistically by the computers to replicate the world.
- Filming in Iceland involved remote locations where the crew had to drive for hours from the airport just to get to their hotels. Then, to get to the fields of volcanic ash that stood in for The Dark World, they drove for up to two hours more.
- A close look at the set decorating for Jane Foster’s London apartment would reveal sheet music on the piano that reads: ‘Thor The Thunder God.’
- Photos of young Jane Foster in the apartment set were courtesy of Natalie Portman’s mother, who keeps a binder filled with photos of Natalie at different ages for occasions like this.
- There were about 30 hammers made for Thor of various weights for different uses. The master hammer is made from aluminum but it is replicated in different materials and weights, including a ‘soft’ stunt version. Of the 30, five versions are used most often, including the ‘lit hammer,’ that emits light when lightning strikes.
- The design of Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, was changed from the version Thor wielded in Marvel’s The Avengers. The new hammer has more of a sense of history and age to it and its grip is more aligned to the hammer Thor used in Thor.
- The inscription on Thor’s hammer, written in Norse runes, translates to: ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’
- Prop master Barry Gibbs and his team of 18 technicians designed/produced 140 weapons in 10 weeks, then went on to make four more of each weapon for a grand total of 516 weapons for the Marauders to use in the battle scenes. This is before he even got into making the principal weapons for Thor, Odin, Volstagg, Heimdall, Sif, etc.
- Thor and Odin each have one look in costuming, but Thor needs 15 sets of his costume as he does so many stunts and action scenes. Odin has about 6 repeats of his costume.
- David White, the designer of the dark elves and the prosthetic effects on Thor: The Dark World, designed and created 40 suits for the dark elves, utilizing 100 technicians over a 3 ½ month period. The off-world look was derived from diverse ethnic and tribal elements.
- The stunt men and extras playing the dark elves had to go through a training period where they practiced standing tall and proud since the dark elves are envisioned to be a noble people. Prosthetics designer David White helped out too by designing the helmet so that the eye line was slightly pulled down, forcing the actors to tilt their heads slightly up and back, which gave them a very proud, strong feel.
- Both Christopher Eccleston and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who play the dark elves Malekith and Algrim, respectively, had to memorize their dialogue written in an elven language that was created specifically for the film.
- The film shot between October and December 2012 at Shepperton Studios in England, with key locations in London — Greenwich, Wembley, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Borough Market and Hayes — Bourne Wood in Surrey and Stonehenge in Wiltshire. For the look of the dark elves’ world, Svartalfheim, the filmmakers chose Iceland for its black, volcanic landscapes.
- Before sending helicopters to film over historic Greenwich, England, on a quiet Sunday morning, the location crew dropped 4,000 letters in the area: 2,000 on one side of the river and 2,000 on the other side of the river, explaining to the residents what was going to be happening.
- Filming at the famous Stonehenge historical site proved to be a challenge. After finally getting permission from English Heritage, the filmmakers found out that there were lots of rules and regulations associated with filming there. They could only be in amongst the stones outside of the normal visiting hours. So shooting had to take place early in the morning before opening, which only gave the film crew about three hours before they had to pull back for wider shots once the stones were opened to the public. Being a heritage site, no one was allowed to touch the stones or walk on any stones, so a lot of logistics had to be applied to the filming there.
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, and Jaimie Alexander with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor, produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a., from a story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat and screenplay by Christopher L. Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and is based on Marvel’s classic Super Hero Thor, who first appeared in the comic book Journey into Mystery #83 in August, 1962.