The Avengers hasn't even hit cinemas yet [just a couple of days to go here in the UK now though...] but two of Earth's Mightiest Heroes are already bracing themselves for a quick return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth gearing up for respective solo sequels. Furthermore, both stars will be joined by new directors as Shane Black takes over from Jon Favreau on Iron Man 3 and Alan Taylor steps in for Kenneth Branagh on Thor 2.
While Black is a name immediately recognisable to anyone familiar with the likes of the Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Taylor is best known for his work on the small screen, having raked up a host of credits on acclaimed shows such as The West Wing, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire - not to mention his fantastic work on HBO's epic fantasy series Game of Thrones. According to the God of Thunder himself, it's this experience that makes him a perfect fit for Thor 2:
"Alan Taylor, one of the directors and creators of Game of Thrones, is directing it," Hemsworth told The York Press. "What I love about that series is the mythical element to it, but that world that they lived in was entirely tangible and organic. It was all real locations, not green screen. I think Thor and Asgard could use that. That would be a huge plus, to not have worlds that are too clinical and ethereal, and have places that look like they have existed for thousands of years. I think this would be more locations and less green screen."
Taylor was himself a late replacement for Monster director Patty Jenkins, who pulled out of the project not long after taking on the reins. Providing Taylor successfully makes the transition from Westeros to Asgard, Jenkins' sudden departure could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Marvel - and for us fans.
Thor 2 is set to film later this year and is scheduled for release in November 2013. Hemsworth will be joined by the majority of the original cast, including Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Ray Stevenson (Volstagg), Tadanobu Asano (Hogun), Jaimie Alexander (Sif) and Joshua Dallas (Fandral), Rene Russo (Frigga) and Anthony Hopkins (Odin).