Before she went on to helm the DCEU’s hugely successful Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins was originally hired to direct Thor: The Dark World for their rivals over at Marvel Studios. Jenkins’ eventual departure was said to be a key factor in Natalie Portman’s disenchantment with the MCU, and her replacement Alan Taylor went on to helm one of the weakest installments in the entire comic book franchise, or the worst depending on which side of the recent social media argument you fall on.
There’s no denying that The Dark World is a movie without a clear identity or any sense of directorial authority, and it remains one of the most paint-by-numbers installments in the MCU to date, leaving Thor as the star of the weakest standalone series in the studio’s overarching narrative until Taika Waititi came along and completely reinvented the God of Thunder in Ragnarok.
In a recent interview, Jenkins explained her decision to leave the project, and it sounds like a pretty damning indictment of the Hollywood system as a whole. As well as not having much faith in the script, the filmmaker also admitted that her reasoning was partly motivated by the fact that as a woman, she’d likely end up shouldering the blame if The Dark World turned out to be a bust.
“I did not believe that I could make a good movie out of the script that they were planning on doing. I think it would have been a huge deal, it would have looked like it was my fault. It would’ve looked like, ‘Oh my god, this woman directed it and she missed all these things’. That was the one time in my career where I really felt like, do this with another director and it’s not going to be a big deal. Any maybe they’ll understand it and love it more than I do. You can’t do movies you don’t believe in. The only reason to do it would be to prove to people that I could. But it wouldn’t have proved anything if I didn’t succeed. I don’t think that I would have gotten another chance. And so, I’m super grateful.”
Instead of taking the easy option and simply making the movie in order to secure a lucrative payday, Jenkins stuck to her guns and walked away because she didn’t feel like she could make it work. It turned out to be the right choice dropping Thor: The Dark World, because her work on Wonder Woman launched a new franchise for Warner Bros., with the movie earning better reviews and much bigger box office in the process.