Today, the world knows Thor as one of the cornerstones of the MCU. But there was a time when the first Thor movie was coming out and general audiences had no interest in the character. It fell to actor/filmmaker Kenneth Branagh to helm the God of Thunder's first movie and make audiences fall in love with the space Viking. During a recent interview, Branagh spoke about helping plant the seeds for the character's development in future movies.
"In a way, I think we put in some emotional ballast at the front of the story that means he could bounce around and develop in the way that he has and rather like all of the extraordinary ways that the Thor comics do. There's an amazing diversity of story and character development inside 50-odd years of comics. The films are now doing it with the character."
Back in the days when the MCU was still a new entity, the studio struggled with coming up with a way to make the literal God-prince from another planet relatable. For Branagh, the way to do so was to ground the character through a turbulent emotional journey.
"For me, I thought it was really important that everything we set up there to do with his being banished, his rough diamond beginning, his difficult relationship with his father and his brother. All of those things always were going to have tremendous potential if we could just make people connect with it upfront with the authenticity of the character's feelings. I think they committed completely to it and so did the audience. Then, the world was their oyster in terms of where they might go to. In that sense, there's a parallel with the comics that if you build it, they will come, and somewhere at the center of it we got something right that allowed the characters to fly."
After the success of the original Thor, the character hit a bit of a rough patch with the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, widely considered the MCU's weakest movie yet. But then the series bounced back with Thor: Ragrarok, which once again saw the God of Thunder dealing with family drama that threatened the existence of reality. Kenneth Branaghfeels the emphasis his first film laid on the Thor saga's family dynamics later allowed that factor to be the strong unifying force for the character across many different movies and filmmaking tones.
"I'm so happy that we had that dynastic saga at the beginning of the first one where it was a lot of innate personal family drama. I've got a lot of favorite moments in that movie that have headed into other kinds of directions, often very funny ones. I think we were right to do what now seems like a very different world."
Branagh also stated that he would be happy to return to the MCU to direct another movie someday. For now, he is gearing up for the release of Christopher Nolan's Tenet, where Branagh plays the role of a Russian agent who can manipulate time. ComicBook.com was the first to bring these quotes out of the woodwork.