I think it’s fair to say that in the summer of 2012, even Marvel Studios was unsure of how their cinematic universe would unfold. With all due respect to Cap and the God of Thunder, at that point in time, the Disney subsidiary’s only overwhelming critical and financial success was the first Iron Man picture, which was released four years prior.
While The First Avenger and Thor performed well at the box office, neither currently ranks inside the MCU’s top ten highest grossing films, of which Jon Favreau’s Iron Man holds the ninth position. I might add that neither was able to break past 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, either, whereas Tony Stark’s first solo outing presently sits at 94%. So, it wasn’t until May 4th, 2012, that clarity truly arrived for Marvel Studios with The Avengers.
Joss Whedon’s superhero blockbuster was relentless at the box office, earning a staggering $1.5 billion worldwide, which was good enough for second all-time amongst the MCU, and $623 million domestically, having only been passed earlier this week by Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. From that fateful summer day in 2012 on, Captain America and Thor went on to find success similar to Favreau’s Iron Man, but the MCU could’ve looked a lot different according to Avengers scribe Zak Penn.
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While promoting Ready Player One, Penn revealed that the God of Thunder was dangerously close to having his role in The Avengers cutdown significantly.
“I remember Chris Hemsworth walking through the Marvel offices and being, ‘Oh, my god, that guy is Thor! Originally I was trying to reduce how much Thor was in the movie. Once it was clear that, no, this is going to work and they were excited about it, then I did not [reduce Thor in the script]. I stopped doing that.”
Until recently, Thor had struggled at both the box office and with critics. Enter, Taika Waititi. 2017’s Ragnarok granted the hero entry into the upper pantheon of Marvel films, which is where he’s always belonged. Had Chris Hemsworth not taken on the role, the God of Thunder could very well have been an afterthought for the MCU. So, on behalf of everyone, thank you Chris.
Source: Heroic Hollywood