Anyone who has seen Thor: Ragnarok–or any of the trailers for the movie–knows it’s a huge departure from the previous movies centered around the god of thunder and his portrayals elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What caused such a massive change in how Thor was approached? According to Chris Hemsworth, who plays the titular superhero, it was Clerks director Kevin Smith.
It seems Hemsworth heard Smith bashing previous installments of the Thor franchise in a podcast. “Hearing someone like Smith, who represents the fanboy world, was such a kick in the ass to change gears,” the actor tells Vanity Fair. “We sort of had nothing to lose. People didn’t expect what we did with it this time around.”
It’s what they ended up doing with it that makes Thor: Ragnarok so interesting. All of the traditional hallmarks of the character are stripped away. As Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige explains, “He has blond hair; he has a hammer; he has a cape. These are the things that make Thor.” Luckily, the concept of Thor has changed to the general public thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. “He has now appeared as that character so many times [that] Chris Hemsworth is Thor,” he says. “So we cut his hair, we got rid of his hammer, and it’s still him.”
As it turns out, though, after hearing Smith’s take on the other Thor movies, getting rid of the hair, hammer, and cape were Hemsworth’s ideas. Thankfully, director Taika Waititi agreed with him. Now, after seeing the outcome, Hemsworth has learned a valuable lesson: trust your instincts.
“It’s about trusting yourself, and listening to your gut, and the pure education you receive making these films. I take responsibility for that. I’m not pointing fingers at writers or directors. But then it became predictable, or overly earnest, self-important, and serious,” he says of the first two Thor films. “Nothing that was unexpected.”
Now, in the aftermath of Thor: Ragnarok and its massive opening weekend at the box office, new life has been infused into the series. While it remains to be seen whether there will be another standalone Thor film in the future, the character will next be seen in Avenger: Infinity War, when it hits theaters on April 25, 2018.