So whilst we may have all been distracted by the awesome [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) trailer which landed last month, it's not the only heavyweight of Phase 3 that we should be paying attention to.
Whilst Civil War will be the official launching post for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it's Thor: Ragnarok that's going to really kick start the road to the next Avengers film - Infinity War. As MCU overlord Kevin Feige noted:
"[Thor 3] is a very important movie for us in Phase 3. We plan on taking Thor to another level. It picks up where we leave Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron and impacts everything that comes after."
Unfortunately, due to the fact that Thor: Ragnarok isn't due in cinemas until 2017, we don't really know a whole lot about the particulars of the plot or the role of certain key cast members.
Obviously Chris Hemsworth will return as Thor and Tom Hiddleston is tapped to appear as fan favourite Loki (though his role may be in a reduced capacity as even Hiddleston isn't sure what's happening right now). Mark Ruffalo will be showing up as Hulk / Bruce Banner and Jaime Alexander will be doing another turn as Lady Sif, but beyond that there's not a whole lot of news regarding the cast.
The wonderful Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Flight of the Conchords) was brought on board to direct back in October, and we haven't heard much about production moving forward since. But there's some new and exciting news in that area as of late, as screenwriter Stephany Folsom has just been brought on board to write the screenplay for Thor 3.
Folsom, who describes writing the Thor: Ragnarok script as her "dream job", made the Black List back in 2013 with 1969: A Space Odyssey Or How Kubrick Learned To Stop Worrying And Land On The Moon. The Black List is an annual list of favourite un-produced screenplays compiled by film exec Franklin Leonard, and Folsom's entry to the list sounds like something I'd go see to be honest:
"With NASA’s Apollo program in trouble and the Soviets threatening nuclear war, a female PR operative conspires with NASA’s Public Affairs Office to stage a fake moon landing in case Armstrong and Aldren fail, the goal being to generate public excitement that will aide the U.S. in winning the Cold War. But the op is faced with the biggest challenge of all: Filming the fake lunar landing with temperamental Stanley Kubrick."
So whilst the Doctor Strangelove / Space Odyssey homage might not have yet made it to production, Folsom is taking the writing helm as part of the [Thor: Ragnarok](tag:956858) crew alongside director Waititi for the movie that will ignite the Infinity War big bang.
Whilst Folsom may not be a big name in Hollywood yet this could be set to change as Thor 3 is shaping up to be a pretty impressively put together film. Waititi was a surprise tap for director due to his lack of prior big Hollywood action, his work showing a penchant for subtler comedy than inter-galactic action, and Folsom's lack of a Hollywood back catalogue means that she must've put together something pretty impressive for Marvel Studios.
Bringing lesser known artists in for Ragnarok might just be a golden move though, the Thor franchise is in desperate need of fresh blood after the underwhelming [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462), directed by big name Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Terminator Genisys). Thor might not be the most obvious superhero to take in this direction, but the fun, tongue in cheek atmosphere sure as hell worked for Guardians of the Galaxy, and we're pretty excited to see what Waititi and Folsom can produce here.
The addition of Folsom is also welcome news following the hiring and firing of Patty Jenkins from Thor: The Dark World, a move which reportedly caused tension between leading actress Natalie Portman and Marvel Studios. Jenkins would've been the first female director to helm a Marvel film, as the MCU remains largely a boys club. Jenkins has now hopped over to DC, and will be directing the Wonder Woman solo film instead.