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There is little doubt that the direction of dramatic mastermind Kenneth Branagh played a huge part in how the dignified grandiosity of Marvel’s 2011 entry, Thor translated to the big screen. Possibly a testament to that, a recently cited rumor indicates that the studio was looking to reacquire the services of the thriving thespian for the still-vacant director’s chair for the series’ upcoming third film, Thor: Ragnarok.
Heroic Hollywood founder and habitual scooper, Umberto "El Mayimbe" Gonzalez appeared on Popcorn Talk’s Marvel Movie News "vodcast," where, during the course of several discussions, he dropped a notable tidbit about Marvel’s intent on having Branagh reprise his duties as director for the apocalyptic Thor threequel. According to Gonzalez:
I was hearing that Marvel wanted Kenneth Branagh back for Thor 3. But, he just got an offer to direct Murder on the Orient Express at Fox. So, I don't know if it is going to happen or not. They're thinking about bringing him back into the fold.
While Gonzalez would go out of his way to qualify this idea as a rumor, it does seem to contain a reasonable ring of truth. While Marvel projects further down the line like the two part Infinity Wars films have locked down their directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, Thor: Ragnarok remains rudderless. This bit of inertia from the normally meticulous studio could be indicative of the idea that they are waiting on a crucial answer from one particular individual. The idea of Branagh coming back to the franchise would undoubtedly be something seen as desirable by fans and insiders alike; especially after the second film proved to be a bit of a misfire.
The much-publicized creative tumult for the series’ second entry, 2013’s Thor: The Dark World saw director Patty Jenkins abruptly bow out, yielding a bit of a rush job for replacement helmer Alan Taylor. That film ultimately felt as if it suffered from issues with its pacing, which seemed to mitigate much of its dramatic impact; even in the midst of its more heartfelt moments. Consequently, it would only seem natural that Marvel, in its mad scramble to find a director for Ragnarok, might be looking to reestablish the structural direction the widely-hailed original film managed to attain under the stewardship of Branagh.
Of course, as Gonzalez mentions, Kenneth Branagh is reportedly in the midst of negotiations to direct an apparently promising upcoming reboot of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, which could put quite a damper on the Thor reunion. However, it all seems to be still very much up in the air and for all we know, Gonzalez’s revelatory rumblings might be the effect of some secret negotiations taking place to restore bit of Shakespearean flair to the God of Thunder’s third go round.
It will be interesting to see what (if anything) develops from this alleged attempt to win back Branagh. Marvel Studios rounded a critical creative corner that saw its Cinematic Universe expand hugely when it put the original Thor in his hands. It was a risky venture, ambitiously looking to cover elaborate source material that required a director who understood how the magical, quasi-historical motifs of the Asgardian front needed to be accessible to popcorn audiences. Thus, there could be no better captain for the ship that is Thor: Ragnarok than the man who boldly shaped the property in the first place. The film is set for release on November 3, 2017.