One of the reasons people thought we’d never get a movie based on the Thor comic books was that it’s too hard a pill to swallow. For whatever reason, the feeling was that while audiences can handle radioactive spiders, gamma ray bombardments, and genetic mutations that give people laser-eyes, the idea of putting a Norse god in the context of the real world was just too much. After viewing two trailers released for the Thor film which dealt heavily with Thor’s Norse-deity origin, the comic-book film community assumed the concern had been dispensed with…Whoops.
The story comes from an unlikely place: the March edition of the videogame magazine, Game Informer. While the story in the magazine is focused on the upcoming videogame based on the Thor film, it goes into some information about the movie that had yet to be revealed. Looks like Thor’s not going to be the honest-to-goodness Norse god of lightning like he is in the comic books; he and all the other Asgardians are going to be outer-space aliens …
“In the movie and the game universe, Thor and the rest of the Asgardians aren’t actual gods, but rather an advanced alien race whose fantastic technology makes them appear godlike. While this liberal interpretation may rub some comic fans the wrong way, [the developer of the game] is staying true to the property in many other ways.”
Lines from the trailers have hinted at the magic of the Asgardians being comparable to the technology that drives the modern world, but it looks like that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Director Kenneth Branagh and his group of writers are going full on Chariots of the Gods with the story.
Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about the interpretation. While I recognize that comic book characters are routinely adapted to become more palatable for film audiences, the fanboy in me is crying foul. A major tenant of the comic book series has been, more or less, about picking up where the ancient Norse people left off with their mythological characters. Sure, they get thrown in with the rest of the Marvel Universe from time to time (heck, that’s what the whole Avengers concept is about), but the solo Thor books have a history of being fairly isolated from the rest of the universe. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that abandoning the idea of telling a story about the actual Norse gods abandons what makes the character unique from the rest of the superhero pantheon.
Now, instead of seeing a major motion picture about the characters from Norse mythology (albeit seen through the Marvel lens), we’re getting a story about yet another alien come to earth to protect us. It’s not like we’ve ever seen that before (what’s Zak Snyder working on again? The sixth Superman film? Sixth?).
On the other hand, this could be a sorely needed life-raft thrown to those audiences unwilling to swim in the sea of the gods. In any case, I’ve said my piece. What say you, lowly citizens of Midgard – art thou prepared to accept an outer-space alien as your lightning god?