Movie-making is a notoriously difficult job, meaning Marvel Studios’ hit rate is spookily impressive. While the comic book giant may have released a couple of mediocre MCU entries, they’ve never put out an outright stinker. The closest they’ve come so far is with 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, which is generally considered a bottom-tier MCU movie.
My vague recollections are of the climactic fight in London, Natalie Portman wishing she was anywhere else, and Christopher Eccleston’s talents being wasted under terrible makeup and a made-up language. Now Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige has opened up on what went wrong and revealed the frantic attempts to salvage the movie.
In upcoming book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Feige says they realized after principal photography had wrapped that things hadn’t worked out. Future Infinity War and Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were asked to rewrite scenes, with The Avengers‘ Joss Whedon also consulted for input.
Things came to a head at a crisis meeting in Manhattan, where Feige screened what they had to the inner circle and told them to “deconstruct the movie” and supply whatever notes they felt necessary. As he puts it:
“We had purple-colored index cards, and every time a new idea came up, we put it up…And suddenly it’s a sea of purple on the wall.”
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Taking all of this into account, they calculated they’d need more than a month of reshoots to fix it. This went ahead, though for Feige it was a sobering reminder that they can’t rest on their laurels:
“If you’re the best in the business, you wouldn’t need to do 35 days of reshoots, for crying out loud. So, the ‘best in the biz’ [saying] is also part of the self-deprecating thing that, I think, keeps us humble as we keep doing this.”
Was all this effort worth it? Well, Thor: The Dark World could have been a complete disaster rather than simply forgettable, so that’s something. Marvel Studios didn’t sweep it under the rug, either, with its plot playing directly into Avengers: Endgame years later. Fortunately, Thor found his MCU groove with Thor: Ragnarok, where Taika Waititi finally focused on Chris Hemsworth’s comedic talents.
You can next check out Hemsworth in Thor: Love and Thunder when it hits theaters on May 6, 2021.