Hello! Welcome to the first “Movie Pitch!” In this series, a guest and I will be ‘pitching’ a movie that we’d like to see created that is centered around comic book characters. In today’s pitch, we’ll take a unique look at The God of Thunder, Thor Odinson, and some creative approaches to his character. I’m your host, Ari, and joining me today is Manh, an artist and writer for ComicBookDebate.com.
Manh: Thanks for having me on, Ari. You can start with your idea for a Thor movie, then we’ll get to mine.
Ari: Sounds good, so, my basic thought for a continuation to a Thor story was to do Thunderstrike, who would be a young man who manages to find the remains of Mjolnir. In this movie, he would lift the handle getting bestowed with a fraction of the Odinforce, (the handle would rearrange the shards of Mjolnir to make a mace out of it). Eventually, Thunderstrike would be found by Valkyrie, who decides to train him. Meanwhile, Mangog, who is the last survivor of a race slaughtered by Odin and Hela for blasphemy, awakens and decides to go after Asgard.
Manh: So, is this taking place in the current MCU landscape or a standalone?
Ari: MCU. I’d like Avengers 4 to end with Asgard forming on Earth with Thor leaving to look after it.
Manh: That’d be really cool. So in the film, are we getting Thor in the beginning and then he explains that he’s going to look after Asgard? Or is this explained before your movie idea?
Ari: I think I’d do a history lesson- similar to Wonder Woman or Black Panther- to show how he got here.
Manh: This sounds like it would be really dark- especially on the villain’s side. So Hela and Odin slaughtered his entire race for blasphemy, and now he’s awaken and going after Asgard, right?
Ari: Yeah, he wants to kill everyone as a sort of payback, and Thunderstrike has to deal with a struggle because technically he’s human. He can walk away and let Mangog kill every Asgardian and leave. He wouldn’t hurt any humans, so we get to see this really ordinary guy become worthy of wielding the power of a God, and we can get to see how Mjolnir decides who’s worthy or not. I made a change to the villain, though. Originally, in the comics, Mangog has a similar origin, except he’s formed from the pain and rage of those billions slaughtered, so he has the strength of those billion people.
Manh: Wow, I think that’s one of those things that would only work in a comic book though. Your version of his origin would translate much better into a movie.
Ari: Yeah! For the finale, Mangog gets to the gates of Asgard, but he gets stopped by Valkyrie and Thunderstrike; and with help from Thor, he’s beaten. Thor declares that he isn’t his father, which I think would show how much he’s grown from the first movie. I’ve always liked the idea of Odin being a very flawed character, and that’s kind of touched on in Ragnarok, but not particularly highlighted. So, Thor comes out and uses the full extent of the Odin-force to beat Mangog. I kind of don’t like the idea of Mangog dying since Marvel has done their fair share of killing off villains, but Thor and Mangog beating each other to death while expending all of their energy, very much akin to the iconic imagery from Death of Superman would be a pretty great death scene for both of them. Then, you’d have his funeral, where Jane shows up, and an after credit scene of somebody, who would be Jane, picking up Stormbreaker. Since it’s fun to guess with this kind of thing, I’d reintroduce Sif, to sort of bring up a question of who manages to pick up Stormbreaker.
Manh: So in the middle portion of the film what would happen? Because your idea would make a really great, potentially iconic Thor film, but it sounds very straight forward.
Ari: We’d follow Mangog finding Asgard in ruin, and Valkyrie and Thunderstrike training by going through all the realms, which are now sort of in chaos due to Asgard being gone. They’re essentially seeing the ruin left by Mangog as he tries to find where Asgard is.
Manh: Ah, so it’s one of those “the heroes are following the villain’s breadcrumbs” type situation?
Ari: Pretty much, yeah.
Manh: And you’ve talked a lot on the villain and Thor’s role in this, but what about the hero of the movie?
Ari: Yeah, that’s something I really wanted to plan out. Eric Masterson in the comics is very much a product of the 90’s: you’ve got a guy that looks a lot like Thor, except he has a ponytail, and he somehow managed to add a ripped jacket to the Thor look. *laughs*. So, I think I’d do something very similar to what they did with Starlord, which is take the whole ridiculous, convoluted thing and scrap it, and make him essentially your own character. Sure, all fifteen fans of the character before get upset, but in the long run, it turns out much better for your story. I was thinking of fancasts, and I like Steven Yeun for the role, but I realize that’s just because he’s great, and I think of him for every role. I think any (good) actor in their 30’s could fit, really. You need a character very much akin to Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang- a relatable guy that just finds himself in over his head.
Manh: If you’re looking for an underdog type look, I kind of like the idea of Steven Yeun too or maybe even Liam Hemsworth which would be funny. I think Hemsworth has that underdog look plus he’d have great chemistry with Thor.
Ari: You know, that would be a kind of clever play on the characters essentially being the same in the comics.
Manh: Definitely, and you know, I think a Tessa Thompson co-lead Thor film would be great.
Ari: Oh, for sure, she needs to be in more Marvel stuff either way. I can’t see them being done with Valkyrie already…anyways, we’ve heard my idea, but you had your own for a Thor movie, let’s hear it. It’s not set in the MCU, right?
Manh: Yeah, my idea was more in line with Marvel Studios doing something in the line of WB’s new Elseworlds ‘banner.’ So each movie they release under that banner isn’t connected to anything, kind of giving them room to breathe and have actual consequences without it affecting any kind of universe. I think that’s where a God Butcher/God of Thunder movie would fully thrive, and I really envisioned my God Butcher/Thor film to be an incredibly dark film which is why I thought it wouldn’t fit into the MCU, hence a separate label where films had no restrictions.
Ari: Any actors in mind?
Manh: I wouldn’t want Hemsworth as Thor because he’s adamant about taking the character in a comedic direction. I’d prefer Marvel to scout out unknown actors because there aren’t any current actors I have in mind. Dont get me wrong, comedic Thor works well in the MCU; it’s just not the right type of Thor for this particular storyline.
Ari: I think going for someone that did well in a Shakespearean movie might be a good idea. I’d say Fassbender, but I don’t know if he’s the Thor type *laughs*.
Manh: It’s pretty hard to fancast Thor because Hemsworth has pretty much taken that role and made his portrayal the defining version of Thor, but Fassbender definitely has the acting chops.
Ari: He’s actually my fancast for Black Bolt.
Manh: That’s pretty genius fancasting. He can really emote with his facial reactions, which you’d obviously need for a role like Black Bolt.
Ari: Yeah, but, back to your pitch. What would the motivation of your villain be? I know comic Gorr’s motivation*, but I’m wondering if you’d change it?
|*Gorr’s comic origin is that he was born on a starving planet and taught to trust in the gods to come and save him. After losing his wife and child, Gorr lost faith in the gods. After finding out that gods did in fact exist but simply ignored all of his pleas, Gorr decided to murder all of the gods for vengeance.|
Manh: I would have it be very closely adapted from the source material because that story was incredible. It could invite a lot of discussion about the nature of God (or Gods) too. I think I’d include a subplot for Thor in which he questions the nature of Gods. He would visit planets that pray for his help (similarly to the Thor storyline after God Butcher). It would really tie into Gorr’s hatred for the Gods that never came to help his planet. Thor would probably look back on his father’s actions and struggle to understand why beings of omnipotence and omnipresence such as these Gods didn’t come to the aid of Gorr. It’d be a very dark story in which Gorr’s motive and beliefs are totally reasonable to the audience (similarly to Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger).
Ari: And since you have an entire separate playing field, how do you think you’d make use of this alternate universe?
Manh: Having it be a standalone film totally separate from the MCU or any existing history allows for the director’s “sandbox” to increase by a lot. I would definitely go all out and leave lasting consequences such as Thor denouncing his status as a God and citizen of Asgard and just living the rest of his life in solitude as Gorr’s very nature and motive will have shaken him to his core. To go really into the movie; it’d be a cold open without any kind of Marvel Studios intro sequence. The general rundown of the plot is that we would start off with Gorr on his planet. There would be emphasis on how bare in resources his planet is. We would have scenes where young Gorr walks through his village and sees people dying of starvation and thirst whilst still holding out hope and praying for the Gods to come and help them. He begins to question to himself why they pray for Gods to come and help when they don’t even know if Gods exist or not. We then jump to Thor who’s in a tavern drunk off his ass eating all types of food and throwing food around etc. (just to really juxtapose the scenes on Gorr’s planet). Skip forward and we get a much older Gorr, his mother and father are both on their death-beds but are still holding out hope and praying for any God to help them. It keeps jumping scenes from Gorr to Thor and other Gods who are drunk and wasteful of these resources that would essentially save lives. The scene fades to black eventually and we hear Gorr’s screams of sorrow as his parents pass away. Gorr’s tragedies are similar to what happens in the comics.
Ari: So how would Thor come into play?
Manh: After his son dies from thirst, he looks up to see that it’s raining. The scene would build up to the point where he sees Thor zooming past with his hammer (Gorr puts two and two together and realizes Thor made it rain), and he finds out that Gods do actually exist. This sends him over the edge as he vows to rid the cosmos of Gods.
Ari: It’s a pretty hard motivation to beat.
Manh: Yeah, couldn’t really think of any way to improve on it, *laughs* As for the side-plots I’m not too sure there. I would like to take Thor on a character journey where he re-evaluates his life and his actions as a God. For instance, did he do enough? Did he do too little?… And so on. So, there’d be a lot of planet jumping with Thor where he revels in his power to save all of these lives, but also planets where he arrives too late and he sees all of these dying/dead aliens. But for the first half of the film, I’d say that Thor is still that reckless and irresponsible, drunk God.
Ari: That could leave an impact. I’m thinking back to that cold opening, and it could really work. Marvel did something cool with the opening of Infinity War with a solemn, silent logo that kind of put the audience on edge.
Manh: Yes! It’s one of my favourite MCU openings, with the first sound we hear being the Asgardian ship calling for help. I got chills both times I watched.
Ari: On the topic of Infinity War, it obviously boasted a pretty amazing performance from Tom Hiddleston, who’s really made his mark as Loki. So, given his popularity, would you use Loki; and if so, how?
Manh: Oh, that’s a tough one. I’m not too well versed with Loki in the comics, but I don’t think I’d include him in this film- maybe in flashbacks with Odin and Thor, but not a massive element in the plot.
Ari: Smart move. So, not much Asgard in the film?
Manh: Not really, no. The most time we’ll spend in any one place is Gorr’s planet, although I would really like to feature Omnipotence City because I really liked that aspect of the God Butcher storyline. It’s also something that has the potential to be visually striking, if done correctly.
It was built twelve billion years ago after the first Great War of the Gods- from the rubble of the Rock of Creation and embers from the fire that lit the first stars. It was built by the lords of the dawn, by the first of the Elder Gods, as a place of divine fellowship. A place where immortals from all corners of reality would forever be welcome. Here, eternal treaties are signed. Sacred covenants sworn that save the lives of millions. Here, Gods are married and tried. Here, worlds are born and bartered. Here is the home of the Parliament of Pantheons and the High Holy Court. The Genesis Bazaars and the Halls of the All-Knowing. The Moon-Sized Jewels of the Universal Crown. Here, in the center of Infinity, is the heaven of heavens, a site no mortal eyes will ever see. Here is Omipotence City, nexus of all the gods.
|From issue 3 of Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron, describing Omnipotence City.|
Ari: So Thor would be off in the City and Gorr would be carving his way through the gods.
Manh: Yeah, I see both Thor and Gorr being on separate storylines until they start to converge towards the latter half of the film.
Ari: Any designs in mind for these characters?
Manh: The comic designs are pretty much all I had in mind really. I like Gorr’s comic design a lot so I’d keep it pretty comic-book accurate.
Ari: I like the standalone idea though, I think that the solo superhero movie has sort of disappeared in recent times, everyone wants a cinematic universe.
Manh: Yeah, I get that. Standalones come with their pros and cons, just like cinematic universes.
Ari: And while I love MCU Thor, it feels like that weight that might be missing could be met with a God Killer arc.
Manh: Definitely. Comic Thor is steeped in dense mythology with the nine realms actually properly explored. I think a God Butcher movie would fill the void that’s been missing from these MCU Thor films. Another thing I think has been missing from these Thor movies are truly great antagonists. Hela’s backstory is great and would’ve made a truly memorable villain had the movie not placed comedy before everything else. I think Gorr will spark a lot of discourse which I believe all films should aim to do.
Ari: Gorr really could be Thor’s Killmonger- challenging everything he’d been raised to believe, and it’d be interesting because Gorr himself had to go through that.
Manh: Totally agree.
Ari: One last thing before we finish up: do you think audiences will mix up Gorr and Ebony Maw because they’re both pale and have a significant lack of a nose?
Manh: *laughs* I’m hoping the antagonist will be so impactful that they’re able to differentiate.
You can see the resemblance…
Thanks for reading our first Movie Pitch! We hope you enjoyed our ideas, and we hope you look forward to the next article in this new series, exclusively on ComicBook Debate