Out of 24 movies, Marvel Studios has an incredibly impressive hit rate, but there are a few entries in the MCU that haven’t been so well-received. Generally agreed to be at the bottom of the pile, for instance, is 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. The second solo outing for Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder is a frustratingly by-the-numbers superhero flick, missing the personality of much of the franchise.
That’s at least partially because the movie had a more troubled production than most Marvel films. While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, director Alan Taylor opened up about how the final cut of The Dark World was taken away from him, which meant that his original vision for the sequel was completely altered. According to Taylor, his initial cut had more “childlike wonder” and “magical realism”. As he put it:
“The version I had started off with had more childlike wonder; there was this imagery of children, which started the whole thing. There was a slightly more magical quality. There was weird stuff going on back on Earth because of the convergence that allowed for some of these magical realism things. And there were major plot differences that were inverted in the cutting room and with additional photography — people [such as Loki] who had died were not dead, people who had broken up were back together again. I think I would like my version.”
As Taylor reminds us, Marvel made two majors changes to The Dark World in reshoots. Yes, Loki really was supposed to die in this one, but his fate was later switched when the studio got cold feet about killing off such a popular character. Something history has proven to be the right move, given that we’ve just had the smash-hit Loki TV series. The other was that Thor and Jane remained apart, instead of reuniting in an end-credits scene. This sequence itself became pointless when Natalie Portman didn’t return for Thor: Ragnarok and the couple broke up off-screen.
Portman is set to return at last for May 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder, which will revisit Thor and Jane’s relationship for the first time since TDW. The film was also heavily referenced in Avengers: Endgame. So, despite its reputation, Thor: The Dark World has proven to be a key chapter in the MCU saga. Even so, a director’s cut remains unlikely to ever materialize.