Kenneth Branagh and Alan Taylor are very different kinds of directors. While the former has spent most of his career making big screen Shakespeare adaptations, the latter has been a part of some of the best modern television shows out there, from Game of Thrones to Mad Men to The Sopranos. Being such different filmmakers with such diverse backgrounds we never really expected Thor and Thor: The Dark World to look exactly the same aesthetically, but in a recent interview with SFX Magazine Taylor has precisely identified one major component of the sequel that will differentiate it from first film: the look of the legendary land of Asgard.
Discussing how the design of Thor's home world would be different than the last time we saw it, Taylor began by pointing to some of the work in the fantasy genre that he has taken on recently. “I love doing period stuff, and I was immersed in Game Of Thrones,” the director said in the interview. “I was lucky that Marvel seemed to have an appetite for that this time." As you may be able to tell from the sequel's title, what the studio got an appetite for was something a bit darker and grittier than the world that was shown in Branagh's Thor. What you may not know, however, is exactly why Marvel decided to go with a shinier design the first time around. Said Taylor,
"They’d consciously steered away from that kind of thing in the first one. Because they wanted to make sure they were distinguishing themselves from Lord Of The Rings. They didn’t want to be mistaken for that. But by the time I came along it seemed like they were ready to embrace a slightly more historical attitude towards it.”
That "historical attitude" had a multi-tiered affect on the world of Asgard as a whole, particularly when it comes to technology. As seen in the first movie, the Asgardians are so scientifically advanced that what they call science actually appears to be magic to humans. And yet, much like us, they are also a race that holds on to the relics of the old ways and maintains the traditions of the culture. As a result, what we will get to see in Asgard is a mix of both far advanced and ancient technologies. Taylor added,
“In my mind this is an ancient, ancient culture that highly reveres the horse and the culture of the horse. We still use fountain pens because we think they’re really cool – it’s not like we all use laser pens. So I think there’s a living culture that keeps these things. To me the defining thing was that Thor is a superhero amongst many superheroes, but the thing that makes him different is the thing that should be featured in the movie. And that is that he’s also a warrior prince from ancient culture."
Thor: The Dark World will be in theaters on November 8th.