Breakdown: The Actors Who Might Be in Thor

By  · Published on October 19th, 2009

Casting is in full-force this month for Marvel’s next big comic adaptation, the Kenneth Branagh directed Thor, which means that you will undoubtedly be bombarded with more than a few “this person is auditioning” stories. And until official word is heard from inside the halls of Marvel, it is all nothing more than hearsay. However, it is fun and I would like to indulge you by breaking down some of the names who’ve been named in the past few days.

Dominic Cooper

The most solid of these rumors is Mamma Mia! star Dominic Cooper, who is doing press for his role in Lone Scherfig’s An Education. He talked to Movieline this week, and it was revealed that he’s been studying for an audition for the film. When probed as to what part he might play, Cooper and interviewer Kyle Buchanon settled on the part of Fandral the Dashing, one of the Warriors Three. All this really tells us is that the Warriors Three, a team of Asgardian gods who often aid Thor, are probably in the film.

Matthias Schweighöfer

AICN published a second-hand story this week from a tipster saying that an interview with actor Matthias Schweighöfer (Valkyrie) in German GQ has spilled some serious beans. According to the source (which hasn’t really been confirmed, as even AICN is reporting it without seeing the issue of GQ), Schweighöfer is in the running for an undisclosed role. He’s one of the few folks out there who is coping to the casting in the film, but again, its all second-hand from German GQ. As for the prospect of his casting, it does make sense. He was in Valkyrie alongside Branagh, and he’s got that blonde hair, blue eye Asgardian look to him.

Robert De Niro and Jude Law

Also according to the GQ article referenced above, Schweighöfer said that not only is he in the running, but that Robert De Niro and Jude Law have also joined the cast. Combined with the news from Cooper’s Movieline interview, it is now being speculated by many around the web that De Niro and Law may also be in the running for roles among the Warriors Three. A role for Law in the film also makes sense with his connection to Branagh, who directed him in Sleuth in 2007. De Niro played Branagh’s Frankenstein back in 1994. But again, nothing is confirmed.

Stellan Skarsgard

About two weeks ago, Swedish news site Ystands Allehanda reported that Stellan Skarsgard, whose son Alexander was in the running for the title role, has joined the project in an unspecified role. More than a few bloggers have guessed that Skarsgard will play Odin. Which would make a bit of sense, as Skarsgard has a great on-screen presence and could pull off the very mammoth, yet probably relatively screen-time slim Odin. This, of course, goes against the fact that British actor Brian Blessed is said to be playing Odin, according to a Bleeding Cool report in June. Again, nothing has been confirmed by the studio.

Stan Lee

The only thing we know for certain is that Stan Lee will be in the film. As the co-creator of the character and Marvel’s all-around good luck charm, Lee has a standing appointment with every Marvel film. He spoke with Collider this week on the red carpet of the 2009 Scream Awards in L.A., where he mentioned that he’s already met with director Kenneth Branagh about his cameo, but doesn’t know exactly what it will be yet.

Confirmed Cast

Just to keep you up to date, here is who has been confirmed for Thor:

Closing Thoughts

All of these rumors seem pretty reasonable, but with the exception of the Stan Lee cameo, nothing is certain. Kenneth Branagh and Marvel Chief Kevin Feige have both said that they’d like to get shooting underway in January 2010, so its likely that we’ll see some official announcements in the coming weeks. Cooper could be a good fit, as he’s a strong actor who isn’t much of a name yet. Schweighöfer is also a good fit, for several reasons. Skarsgard is a great choice, especially for a major role (if it’s Odin), as he’s a fantastic presence. The De Niro and Law rumor is troubling, however, as I’m not sure I like either of them as members of the Warriors Three. That depends of the size of those parts, that is.

If they’re small roles (which I hope they are not, as the Warriors Three are pretty cool), then it might work. But if they’re more involved, I would go with lesser known names who better fit the characters. Then again, who am I to say what sort of tone Kenneth Branagh will be striking with this movie. This is, of course, the real wild card in the Marvel slate, as it will challenge them to mix the very real environments of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk with the supernatural elements of Thor being a god. So we’ll see.

On an even more interesting note, it’s come to our attention that James Carson has been working on concept art for the project. You might remember him as the guy who did work on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, or more notably for the design of Superman for the Tim Burton-directed project that never was. He’s top notch, and his work can be found over at James Carson Design. With Carson working on design, I’m enthused about how the look of Asgard will come out.

The epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe; from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth. Thor is in theaters May 20, 2011.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)