(At around one hour and twenty-three minutes) Chris Hemsworth improvised hanging Mjölnir (his Hammer) on a coat hook in a polite manner, after playing with it between takes.
(At around one hour and five minutes) Thor accidentally destroys a statue of his grandfather Bor, and Loki wisecracks that he killed him. In the Marvel comics, Thor ended up killing his grandfather, as part of a deception by Loki.
The prologue was filmed in a blend of live-action and CGI, as the Asgardian/Dark Elf costumes were too constrictive, in which to fight effectively and convincingly. There are only three characters played by human actors in the entire scene, Malekith, Kurse, and Bor. All other characters are CGI.
Loki was originally not going to appear at all, and there was going to be a much greater focus on Malekith and the Dark Elves. Following his popularity in The Avengers (2012), the script was re-written to give him a big role.
This is the last film written by Don Payne (who also wrote Thor (2011)). He died from bone cancer before the film was released.
(At around twenty-six minutes) The scene where Jane Foster slaps Thor, had to be shot several times, because Natalie Portman kept "fake-slapping" Chris Hemsworth to avoid hurting him. After about thirty takes, she was slapping him for real. (At around one hour and two minutes) Later on, where Jane Foster first meets Loki and punches him, Portman actually did hit Tom Hiddleston. This time around, it only took her five takes to get to that point.
Because of the height difference between the two, a box, and later a ramp, had to be used in some of the close-up, and kissing scenes between Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth.
The filmmakers chose Iceland as the setting for the dark world of Svartalfheim, for its black volcanic landscapes. The name itself, "Svartalfheim", literally means "Home of the Black Elves" in Old Norse (Icelandic).
Chris Hemsworth grew out his hair for over a year to have more authentic long hair, rather than use a wig, like he had to do in the previous film.
Stellan Skarsgård wasn't sure if he could perform the Stonehenge scene nude, even though he would be wearing a thong. The production team gently encouraged Skarsgard by reminding him he had done much worse in the movie Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013).
(At around one hour and one minute) Chris Evans spoke of Loki's Captain America impersonation: "I spent over two years trying to not play Steve Rogers that over-the-top!"
There were about thirty hammers made for Thor of various weights for different uses. The main hammer was made from aluminum, but it is replicated in different materials and weights, including a "soft" version for stunts. Of the thirty, five versions were used most often, including the "lit hammer", that emits light when lightning strikes.
Director Alan Taylor was so impressed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's performance as Kurse, he made Adewale do all of his stunts, because the stuntmen did not move the same way as he did.
A new language was created specifically for the Dark Elves. Christopher Eccleston (Malekith) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Kurse) had to memorize some of their dialogue in this alien script.
The Asgardian waterfalls were based on the Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland, Europe's most powerful waterfall. An aerial camera crew flew to Iceland to film the Dettifoss waterfall from every angle to use as a base for developing the visual.
(At around seventeen minutes) It's evident that the English children have done more than tumble a cement truck, or make shoes and car keys vanish. When Jane (Natalie Portman), Darcy (Kat Dennings), and Ian (Jonathan Howard) first arrive, they pass through a "container-henge", stacked up by the youngsters using their gravitational anomaly, in the same way that Stonehenge was built during the previous Convergence.
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, nor walk on any of them, so a lot of logistics had to be applied to the filming there.
A track in the film is called "Lokasenna." This is a Norse poem that describes an exchange of insults between Loki and the other gods. Aptly, this track is used when Loki and Odin meet at the beginning.
(At around eighteen minutes) The shot of the levitating truck was achieved with a large hydraulic rig, which could be programmed to change speed and movement.
The film was shot under the title "Thursday Mourning". This was also the code name, under which the film was shipped to theaters. Thursday was named after the Anglo-Saxon name of Thor - Thunres (Thunres Day - Thursday).
Josh Dallas was supposed to return as Fandral, but commitment with Once Upon a Time (2011) prevented him from returning. He was replaced with Zachary Levi, who was the original choice for the role.
At the end of September, Jaimie Alexander was injured on the London film set: "It was raining, it was dark outside, it was like five in the morning, and I went down a metal staircase and slipped and slipped a disc in my thoracic spine, and chipped eleven of my vertebrae. I knocked my left shoulder out of place, and tore my rhomboid on my right side. It took me out of filming for a month!"
Alan Taylor wanted Asgard in this film to have a more natural look: "The first Thor was quite shiny and it was a very conscious, smart choice. I wanted to get more of a sense of the Viking quality, the texture and weight of history. They've been around for thousands of years." To achieve this, the crew filmed on the coast of Norway (particularly the Lofoten islands) for three days, capturing six hours of footage. Asgardian structures were then embedded over this footage.
(At around 52 minutes) The diagrams seen on Dr. Selvig's board contain homages to elements in Marvel Comics: The number "616" is a designation given to a specific Marvel universe (the original one that started in the 1960s, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is designated 199999). Simonson's Theory of Relativity is an homage to Thor comic Writer Walter Simonson. The Nexus of All Reality is a location in the Florida Everglades, where dimensions intersect, which is guarded by the hero Man-Thing. The Crossroads is an intersection for routes to different worlds. The Fault is a tear in the fabric of the universe, attended to by The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Tom Hiddleston describes Loki as a "firework" in this film: "Well, where next? What's he going to do? What level of remorse does he have? If he does have any remorse or regret, why? Who does he feel guilty in front of, and who does he laugh in the face of? What's his motivation? If he stands to win, what does he stand to win? As a character, you have all of these new motivations, but as an actor, I am absolved from playing hero or villain, I'm just the live wire, and that was more fun than I can possibly tell you."
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje described Kurse as "an amalgamation of a bull and a lava-like creature". For his role as Kurse, he underwent a daily three hours of make-up, and forty-pound prosthetics: "I'm sure there will be a certain amount of CGI, but a good eighty percent was me in that suit."
According to Jake Morrison, the Asgardian skiffs in the film work in a unique manner: "The idea is that the Asgardians came to the Viking people with ships like this, and their technologies that inspired the Vikings to begin building their longships. When you see one of these skiffs move through the water and then suddenly take flight it just keeps that whole curvy, Stan Lee-Walter Simonson world of Asgard alive."
Loki's trial had been seen in the "movie prequel comic" book which serves as a "bridge" between Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), and this movie. The filmmakers liked it so much they incorporated it into the film.
The stuntmen 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.
(At around eight minutes) The stone creature Thor fights is a Kronan, an alien being that appeared in Thor's first comic, "Journey Into Mystery" #83.
Alan Taylor was unhappy with how the movie turned out. Although he had received full creative freedom while the movie was shot, he stated that the studio had turned it into a different movie during post-production; a situation he "(hoped) never to repeat, and (doesn't) wish upon anybody else".
In the Marvel Comics, the Svartalfar (beings of Svartalfheim) are Dark Elves. In Norse Mythology, it literally means black elf.
(At around forty-eight minutes) Malekith's thunder burned face is an homage to the classic John Byrne design of the character, whose face was half-purple in the comics. The starburst on his chest armor was also a nod to the original comic design.
(At around fourteen minutes) A fair amount of improvisation was allowed on-set. Kat Dennings' calling Stellan Skarsgård "banana balls", was made up on the spot.
The black hole grenade effects were based on depth charges. To capture this effect, the visual effects experts built a water tank, where they observed how depth charges operate, and their effects: "The depth charge was used for the initial blast, and it ended up adding the first part of the one-two punch, a depth charge for the expansion, and the crush as a pay-off!"
In the Marvel Comics and actual Norse mythology, the Einherjar are the souls of the glorious dead feasting in Valhalla. In this film, they are Asgard's city guards.
Christopher Eccleston describes Malekith as a tragic villain: "What I thought about a great deal was revenge. One quote is: 'When you seek revenge, be sure to dig two graves.' I did a film called Revengers Tragedy (2002) where I played a guy called Vindici-from the word 'vindictive'-and he is the distillation of revenge. So, in a way, that was what I had to think of: how revenge can make you absolutely monomaniacal-though you're still trying to make it recognizably motive-led. It's just the personification of movie evil."
According to Jake Morrison, the healing table instruments were based on tuning forks: "The Asgardian holograms are to do with wavelengths. The tuning forks actually create a magnetic field, and inside the field, people can interact with, and it can emit strings like on a violin. The nanotech would then display essentially a representation of Jane's soul that looks like these fine strings of gold that move through her, and at the same time are interactive."
Jake Morrison redefined Thor's flight ability in the film: "He's jumping to attack somebody, it should be more of a lift and land, rather than necessarily a straight-line drive. The thinking behind that is that he can control the weather, so the wind can keep him aloft to allow him to have that kind of profile."
In late 2011, Patty Jenkins was officially announced as the director for this film. In December 2011, she backed out of the project, due to "creative differences". Natalie Portman was publicly upset that talks between Marvel and Patty Jenkins broke down, some sources even claim she threatened to not take part in the film with another director, but couldn't get out of her contract. Jenkins directed Wonder Woman (2017).
According to the filmmakers, amongst the Marauders the Asgardians arrest and imprison, are Korbinites. These are a race of aliens Thor encountered. One of them, Beta Ray Bill, became Thor's ally, and was deemed worthy to receive an Asgardian Hammer of his own.
Kat Dennings describes her role in this film as a matchmaker: "She loves Jane, she really wants Jane and Thor to be together. It's almost like her own little soap opera that she watches."
Tom Hiddleston half-jokingly offered to direct, but was turned down, because of a lack of previous experience.
Jaimie Alexander returned as Lady Sif in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) episode Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Yes Men (2014).
Up to eleven thousand weapons were used for this film. A team of up to twenty technicians worked to build new props, or transform some of the props from the first film, with more wear and tear.
Mads Mikkelsen was considered for the role of Malekith, but he dropped out, due to scheduling conflicts with the concurrently filming Hannibal (2013) (a role portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins in three films, and who plays Odin in this film). Christopher Eccleston was cast instead. Mikkelsen appeared in Marvel's Doctor Strange (2016).
According to Visual Effects Supervisor Jake Morrison, the Harrows, the spaceships used by the Dark Elves, are powered by black holes: "A black hole pulls in all directions. You stick a box around it, but if you poke a hole in one side of the box it would pull in that direction. So effectively, if you strap a craft around that, you have a propulsion drive, which is kind of an impulsion drive."
Kenneth Branagh turned down directing this film, as he felt that the locked release date didn't give him enough pre-production time, that he decided to work on Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) instead.
The filmmakers planned to use Thor's antagonist, the fire demon Surtur in this film. They were going to feature Surtur's realm Muspelheim in the film, and had scouted for fire dancers to cast as fire giants. The filmmakers eventually decided not to use Surtur in the film, and instead featured a second look at Jotunheim from the first film. A glimpse of a volcanic realm (Muspelheim) is visible during the Convergence.
Idris Elba has said he disliked working on the film, as the constant re-shoots were exhausting, and time-consuming. He even referred to working on the film as "torture".
Despite being the main villain (and even being on the poster), Christopher Eccleston's name doesn't appear in most of the promotional material, including the poster.
This is the first Marvel Studios film to start with just the Marvel Studios logo. Aptly enough, starting with this film, the logo has been given an update, as well as a fanfare, written by Composer Brian Tyler.
Carter Burwell was to write the score, but left the film over creative differences, and was replaced by Iron Man 3 (2013) Composer Brian Tyler.
Valkyrie, of The Defenders (2017), was set to appear at one point, and concept art of her costume was even drawn up. The character appeared in Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
(At around eight minutes) A Kronan (stone creature from Saturn) faces off against Thor. This was the first person that Thor faced in the comics.
The production offices on the Shepperton Studios lot, were listed as "Asgard Productions II UK Ltd.", and the fake title of the film being used was "The Mighty Thursday Mourning", written in a font like that of the comic book-style The Mighty Thor logo.
One action scene involved one hundred forty marauders, an assortment of weapons, some from the aliens in The Avengers (2012), a mix of roman, medieval, and nearly every Earth culture. The idea is that the gang of space pirates would have taken possession of an assortment of many types of weapons from their adventures. They use axes, swords, spears, morning stars, whips, and guns.
About ten different designs for alien guns were created for the film. The guns in this movie work mostly with lasers. There was a choice to avoid cartridges or ballistic weapons.
At only one hour and fifty-two minutes, this is the shortest Marvel movie to date. (It is tied with The Incredible Hulk (2008).)
According to Jake Morrison, the Harrows navigation interface was a great way to combine outside with inside environments: "It projects the surroundings on a bubble around you. With some cockpit shots in other films, you'd cut from the exteriors that would be frenetic and fast-paced into potentially quite a dark interior with a lot of dialogue, you can make the outside very exciting, but when you get into the cockpit, how do you make that stuff fun?"
Kevin Feige described this film as "the Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) of Marvel's Thor saga."
Multiple people on the production kept referring to the dark elves as like "stormtroopers".
This was Cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau's first digital film. Morgenthau used an Arri Alexa Plus camera, with Panavision anamorphic lenses: "The lenses brought some of the magic and mystery of photorealism back to digital, that big-movie look."
(At around fifty-two minutes) In Stellan Skarsgård's first dialogue scene in this movie, he is wearing blue and yellow pants. These are the shade and color of his native country's flag: Sweden.
(At around thirty minutes) Jane gets annoyed when Odin says she belongs in Asgard, like a goat belongs at a banquet table. Ironically, in the final scene of the movie on Earth (prior to the credits) she is seen eating at a kitchen table with a container of what is clearly labelled as goat's milk.
Odin's throne room set was built on stage H at Shepperton Studios, the same stage where the ceremony scene was shot for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). It also housed the moon set for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Disney purchased Lucasfilm, Ltd. Stage H is very large, the biggest at Shepperton.
Christopher Eccleston and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje appeared in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009).
In the comics, Jane Foster took over the Mjolnir and assumed the mantle of Thor, replacing the original character in his monthly comic book title.
Brian Kirk had entered into early negotiations to direct, but later dropped out. Patty Jenkins was later confirmed to direct, but dropped out citing creative differences between her and Marvel. Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan were on the final shortlist to direct, until finally Taylor got the job.
(At around one hour and thirty minutes) When Thor gets on a train in the London Underground, the station he uses is Charing Cross. Sir Anthony Hopkins (Odin) starred in 84 Charing Cross Road (1987).
Carter Burwell was originally signed to score the movie, but it ended up in the hands of Brian Tyler.
This film features two of six Doctor Who stars to have roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Christopher Eccleston appeared as one of the incarnations of the Doctor, and Tony Curran appeared in one episode. Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)), Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)), Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)), and Jenna Coleman (Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)) have all had supporting roles in various seasons of the series.