Unlike most modern comic book casting choices, there wasn't much controversy around Chris Hemsworth when he was cast as Thor back in 2009. He looked the part, and most comic book fans were excited to see what he could do with the role. Fortunately for us, he didn't disappoint. He won us over in 2011's Thor, and continued to grow as the God of Thunder through The Dark World and the Avengers films.
Now, he's getting ready to close his solo trilogy with #ThorRagnarok and subsequently fight Thanos alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Infinity War. Overall, it's really hard to imagine anyone aside from Hemsworth swinging the legendary hammer. But, as with many final casting decisions, there was originally another guy being eyeballed for the role...and his relationship to Chris is the reason we have the Thor we have today.
A Tale Of Two Hemsworths
As surprising as it may sound, Hemsworth's little brother, Liam, originally had much bigger chances of wielding Mjölnr. #ChrisHemsworth sat down for an interview with W Magazine and was asked about his casting journey in the MCU when he made a surprising revelation: If it hadn't been for good ol' sibling rivalry, he would have probably never landed the role:
"I came into the audition with Kenneth Branagh and thought I nailed it and then never heard anything back. Months went by and then my brother [...] Liam, was in Australia and sent a tape across and he got a call back, then another call back and then was down to the last kind of four or five people for it. I remember sitting in Vancouver, shooting 'Cabin in the Woods' with Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon. Both of them were looking at the trades at this sort of top five guys for Thor and saying, 'Why aren't you in the mix here? What happened?’ I said, 'I don't know. I blew my audition I guess.' None of those guys got it."
Some of you may have already known that #LiamHemsworth had been a strong contender for the part, but the fact that he was about to beat his older brother is definitely a surprise. The story gets more funny from there.
Once Marvel determined the initial five frontrunners for the role weren't quite what they were looking for, Hemsworth's manager once again recommended the hopeful superhero to #Marvel. So Chris filmed a new casting tape with an unexpected actress playing Odin:
"My manager then called up and said, 'You know, he's got an older brother. Can we bring him back in?' So I did an audition in Vancouver in this hotel room with my mum reading Anthony Hopkins' part. She must have nailed it because it got me back in the room and that second audition was a lot different than my first one. I came in kind of with a little, I guess, motivation and maybe frustration that my little brother had gotten further than me. It's a little family, sibling rivalry sort of kicked up in me."
It might seem weird that the sibling rivalry that came through in his audition helped him land the role. But if you know the story of Thor and Loki, it makes perfect sense, and in many ways, it's helped shape the course of the entire #MCU.
Thor And Loki's Rivalry Is What Drives Their Relationship
The God of Thunder and the God of Mischief have a long and complicated history. Sometimes frenemies, sometimes allies, sometimes adversaries, sometimes just ready to beat the crap out of each other on principle, it's because the same element has driven their animosity from the start: sibling rivalry.
They aren't your average comic book adversaries; their dynamic boils down to one individual obsessively trying to beat the other. Take Loki's first appearance in Journey Into Mystery #85 as an example. He came out of imprisonment to get revenge on the God of Thunder and prove himself the better of the two.
Another great example is Rob Rodi's 2004 miniseries, Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers. In the story, the God of Mischief finally achieves his goal of taking over Asgard and we see him vent his frustrations about being adopted by Odin (the man who killed his real father) and of always living under Thor's great shadow. As I'm sure you can imagine, his days as an unhinged ruler were absolute chaos. Yet, rather than simply desiring power for power's sake, Loki's desire to rule has always been driven by the need to prove to himself and everyone else that he would make a better ruler than his brother. He lost his birthright to rule Jotenheim thanks to Odin only to see the Asgardian counterpart handed to his adopted brother, the one who was always considered superior thanks to the culture of Asgard, where Loki's brains and quickness were considered less worthy. Add immortality to the mix and you've got yourself a hell of a festering godly grudge.
That intricate (and honestly confusing) relationship between the two characters has been deftly explored by Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of the God of Mischief in the MCU. From the very first Thor, it was made clear that #Loki's main purpose was to step out of his brother's shadow, but when he learned the truth of his origins, it shifted him from pure sibling rivalry to a rivalry fueled by the bitter resentment that only the ones you love most can rouse in you:
What's makes their dynamic work and gives it its complexity and layers is that, ultimately, #Thor and Loki love each other. Yes, half the time they're trying to rip each other apart, but there will always be an underlying family bond between them that makes them maintain a grudging sense of respect and even, dare I say, love for one other. Admittedly, Chris and Liam Hemsworth's relationship isn't anywhere near as extreme as Loki and Thor's, but we can't deny they're great parallels. Who knows? Perhaps that's played a part in Hemsworth's portrayal of the God of Thunder.
We'll get to see Thor and Loki's #MCU relationship develop when they get together to beat up Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, which hits theaters on November 3, 2017.
What did you think about Chris Hemsworth's anecdote about landing the role of Thor? Would you have liked to see Liam Hemsworth's take on the God of Thunder? Let me know in the comments!
[Source: W Magazine]