THOR: THE DARK WORLD Concept Art Reveals Scrapped Plans For The God Of Thunder's Other Brother

Marvel Studios concept artist Charlie Wen has shared a new piece of artwork from Thor: The Dark World, and it reveals that Balder was supposed to make his big screen debut in the sequel. Check it out...

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has arguably dropped the ball on the supporting characters in Thor's world, as The Warriors Three were wasted before being killed by Hela and Sif is currently M.I.A. Well, some newly surfaced concept art from Thor: The Dark World reveals that there were once plans for Balder to be introduced in the divisive sequel.

As you can see below, Marvel Studios concept artist Charlie Wen shared the artwork of Balder the Brave, but provided no context on how he would have been used in the movie.

In the comics, Balder is one of Thor's oldest friends but it was only fairly recently that he learned about his identity as the secret son of Odin and Frigga (making him the rightful heir to the throne). That would have been interesting to explore, but isn't something we're now likely to see in the MCU.

Thor: Ragnarok introduced Thor's sister Hela, and with most of Asgard wiped out, it's hard to imagine where Balder could come into play. There is, however, a chance that he's among the surviving Asgardians, or he could even appear in Loki's solo series assuming that takes us back to their home. 

What are your thoughts on this artwork?

For details on why Thor: The Dark World was referenced in
Avengers: Endgame, hit the "View List" button below!

Were They Tempted To Get Thor Back In Shape For The Final Battle?

The God of Thunder obviously spends the majority of Avengers: Endgame drunk and overweight but after learning that he's still worthy, Thor's attitude changes and he later uses the power of Stormbreaker to don his classic armour (albeit with a slightly new Viking-inspired appearance).

However, the writers reveal that there was a temptation to return him to his usual ripped self.

"It came up but we were really adamant about not doing that because I think that would treat it more like a joke," McFeely says. "And the idea is that this is who he is now and he's still a hero. And when he calls down the lightning and gets both hammers, all it does is put a suit on him and twist his beard into a braid, it doesn't magically take 200 pounds off."
Markus adds: "And I think what his mother tells him, 'Don't be who you're supposed to be, be the best version of who you are,' includes that. We didn't want to treat the weight gain like the issue that he needed to get over. Like 'Thor got fat and now he needs to go on a diet.' No, he needs to feel OK about himself no matter who he is."

Where Did The Idea For That Beard Braid Come From?

"I don't know about the braid exactly," McFeely says when asked about Thor's new appearance. "[When he gets the hammer in the first 'Thor'] he's finally worthy and it sort of transforms him into, it puts the armor on him. And we knew that's how the hammer works. It sort of jazzes you up. But I guess I don't know where the braid came from. Hair and makeup, costume? We’re not sure."

As For Thor's new attitude following the events of Thor: Ragnarok, Markus says that came as a blessing. "It turns out Hemsworth is a really good actor. He's not just gorgeous, he's funny. It's [been] such a great second half of the MCU for him. I'm really, really happy that that all came about."

Which Characters Do They Wish Could Have Shared The Screen More?

"Oh, there’s plenty of that, right?" McFeely says. "When everyone comes back, we had a little section in the big action battle set piece we called Team Ups and Reunions. So that was people from different franchises fighting alongside each other. And more importantly, people who hadn't seen each other in five years getting to hug and embrace."

That would have been cool to see, and he went on to name some specific characters who were originally going to interact more in the movie. "Steve and Bucky would've been good. Rocket and Groot could've had another moment. [Black] Panther and Okoye, even Hope and Scott Lang. Lang in many ways is the driving force of this story. He didn't get time to really have a moment with Hope."

Could Agent Carter Return Following Peggy's Avengers: Endgame Cameo?

Agent Carter was one of Marvel Television's first failures as it was cancelled after just two seasons (even though Marvel Studios was reportedly creatively involved). So, with Hayley Atwell reprising the role in Avengers: Endgame, is there a chance the TV show could make its return on Disney+?

"From your lips to Bob Iger’s ears," McFeely explains. "I don’t know. It was an expensive show. You’re doing period as well as you can in Los Angeles. I don’t know how big the fanbase is, but what it is is really dedicated. And we love the character. So I don’t know, I just don’t know."

How Do They Feel About The Mixed Reaction To Black Widow's Death?

Since Avengers: Endgame was released, fans have expressed some disappointment with the decision to kill off Black Widow (despite how well it was handled). Asked about that, Markus offered some insight into why he believes it had to happen and elaborated on the end of her journey. 

"I understand she was a beloved character and none of us want our heroes to die. But that is the natural end of her journey and it is the sort of apotheosis of who she is becoming. She started out as a very dark character. Even before the movies begin, she’s a spy, she’s an assassin. She has red in her ledger and to take her all the way to that sacrifice point is where her character is headed. And to not let her do that seemed a disservice to her as a hero."

McFeely went on to explain why they didn't let any possible backlash hold them back:
"Right. We couldn't be afraid to kill her simply because she was the most important and the first female character. Again, the goal with all these things is just to put these people on a journey or continue or end their journeys. Steve Rogers goes from selfless to slightly more self-interested. Tony goes from selfish to giving himself for the universe. Thor goes from obligated to letting go of that obligation. And Black Widow goes from a woman with red on her ledger to clearly wiping out all that red."


What Deleted Scenes Do They Think Should Have Been Included?

"You never know what’s actually going to make it out into the world," Markus says when quizzed about scenes which didn't make it into that lengthy three-hour runtime. "We did have a scene illustrating more actively what the Hulk had been up to in terms of being a hero, as opposed to just starting it in the diner and explaining things. But it didn’t give you anything that you didn’t get from just sitting in the diner eating pancakes. And it came off more as noise than as content."
"It takes us forever to learn these things," McFeely adds. "But if the scene is not doing more than one thing, it’s probably not worthy of being in the movie."

Was It Important To Address Thor: The Dark World In Avengers: Endgame?

Thor: The Dark World is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most disappointing movies in the eyes of most fans, so it was surprising to see it play such a pivotal role in Avengers: Endgame

Asked if it was important for them to address those criticisms here, McFeely explains that that had nothing to do with it; instead, it was about what was best for the epic superhero ensemble's story.

"No, it wasn't important to address it, it’s just where one of the stones was. That second act [of 'Endgame'] is going back into the other movies and finding the stones. Other than a brief moment where it would've been with Benicio del Toro at his Collector's Museum, it was in Asgard during the movie. And we’d already seen Benicio del Toro in ['Infinity War'].
"I think the bar is set high for Marvel," Markus adds when asked about the reaction to the 2013 sequel. "We share a credit on that movie, we came in to help out, so it’s on our résumé. Listen, there are 22 movies. One’s going to be first and one's going to be last. I think there’s plenty of delightful things in it."

How Did They Decide The Way Iron Man Would Die?

"We always knew we wanted him to bring it on himself as opposed to being killed by Thanos," Markus reveals. "Because it’s really the one thing left for him to do, in a way. The five-year jump allowed him to become this fully realized human: He married Pepper, he had a child, he basically retired from public life and lived a very peaceful existence out there in the country."

"We knew he was going to die but we wanted to put it in his hands as opposed to someone else’s," the writer continued. "We didn’t always know that the Infinity Stones were going to be what caused it, but once we worked out the mechanics of it with the nano particle suit that both the gauntlet and his suit were made out of, it all worked too perfectly not to do."

Where Did "That's America's Ass!" Come From?

In one of Avengers: Endgame's funniest moments, Iron Man pokes fun at how Steve Rogers' ass looks in his 2012 era costume and Ant-Man butts in (no pun intended) to declare it, "America's Ass."

Asked where it came from, McFeely says: "Chris Evans has never been comfortable with that outfit from the first 'Avengers' movie. And so in the rearview mirror, it’s a little way to wink at how that was then and this is now. And then it sort of just built from there. By the time we got to the fight scene where he defeated himself, his butt is on the ground and was just sitting there for a callback."
Why, like most fans, does he not like the costume? "I think it’s the color, but also his ears are covered in that outfit. When he puts on the helmet, he has these little Princess Leia dents over his ears and it throws the whole thing off. You wouldn't normally think that an ear is an important part of an outfit but it balances everything in a way that when they go, you look dorky."

How Did They Come Up With Those Big Lebowski Jokes About Thor?

"We knew we wanted him to kind of get a little schlubby and be hanging around the house," Markus says. "And Lebowski is sort of the world's primary reference for a guy in a bathrobe. So we gave our ideas about it to the costume and art department and they came back with Thor in a bathrobe with sunglasses and suddenly it all clicked." That concept art is going to be fun to see!

Who Did They Most Enjoy Writing A Conclusion For In The Movie?

"We’ve been with Steve Rogers since his first movie and to see him finally get some measure of peace," Markus says. "I mean, as upright and upstanding a character and as relatively positive as he is, he’s had nothing but sacrifice. He has put himself aside at every turn. And to feel that satisfaction of him finally going back and getting with Peggy and experiencing that makes me very happy."

What Would They Like To See From The Next Three Phases?

"It’ll be fascinating to see what Kevin Feige does with the properties he’s now getting from the Fox merger with X-Men and Fantastic Four," Markus teases. "And to see what the MCU version of those things is, because I very much doubt it will be something that resembles what you’ve seen before. So that will be very exciting."
McFeely adds: "And streaming is really interesting [in terms of] longer-form storytelling. The MCU is one big long-form story, but to be able to spend six or eight hours with Falcon and the Winter Soldier getting deeper into that story, I think that is really intriguing."
"They used to make Marvel shorts — two, three, five minutes of a little side story that you could follow — and now you can follow for 10 episodes instead of five minutes, and boy, you can go anywhere," Markus concludes. With any luck, we'll find out what Marvel Studios has planned for the next few years at Comic-Con this July. 

Many thanks to The Los Angeles Times for the quotes used in this article. 

Hit the "View List" button for a ranking of Avengers: Endgame's deaths from worst to best!

10. Ebony Maw

The Black Order returns in Avengers: Endgame thanks to the 2014 era version of Thanos, but if you were hoping they would get more to do than the last time we saw them, expect to be disappointed!

Ebony Maw is present in the final battle and very nearly gets his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet to give to Thanos, but by the time all is said and done, he simply turns to ash alongside the rest of the Mad Titan's forces. It wasn't the worst death scene in fairness as he can be seen stumbling towards his master, no doubt looking for help or comfort in his final moments. 

The rest of The Black Order fare a little better, but we'll get to that a little later. 

9. Akihiko

Westworld's Hiroyuki Sanada plays Akihiko in the movie, a mysterious Yakuza leader who Clint Barton (now known as Ronin) tracks down in Japan. 

While his role is minor, his exchange with the man formerly known as Hawkeye sheds a lot of light on Ronin's mission and why he's intent on now killing those he doesn't believe should have survived the snap. This is really cool and unexpected fight sequence for a Marvel movie, and the way he's taken out by the Avenger is downright badass - not to mention shockingly brutal. 

Because of that, he definitely deserves a place on this list. 

8. Proxima Midnight And Corvus Glaive

These two barely get a couple of lines between them in Avengers: Endgame and they don't get a huge amount to do in the final battle. Glaive ends up being skewered through the chest by Okoye but seemingly survives that, because if you look closely in the distance when Thanos' forces are being dusted you'll see Midnight cradling him (presumably as he lays dying from his fight with the Wakandan).

In the comics, they were a married couple, but that's not something we've ever seen explored in the MCU. As a result, this allusion to that relationship should definitely be appreciated by fans. 

7. Cull Obsidian

Cull Obsidian went out like a chump in Avengers: Infinity War when Bruce Banner (decked out in the Hulkbuster armour) sent him rocketing into Wakanda's shield where he quickly blew up. 

Things are a little cooler here, though, because not only does he get stabbed in the back multiple times by Drax during the course of the final battle but just as he's about to attack Spider-Man and Iron Man, Giant-Man comes out of nowhere and completely squishes him into the ground.

It's a satisfying and funny moment which deserves to live on forever as a reaction GIF. 

6. Nebula (2014)

The villainous version of Nebula is extremely interesting to follow and the Russos do a great job of showing just how conflicted she is as she serves her father Thanos, despite knowing that her future self turns on him. While it appears as if Nebula toys with the idea of helping Gamora and her future self, she can't quite escape Thanos' grasp at this point and turns the gun on her sister. 

This leads to the present day version of Nebula gunning her down and ensures that we won't see two versions of the same character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward. There's also something poetic about the Nebula we've grown to love putting an end to her dark past once and for all.

5. Thanos (2014)

After Iron Man uses the Infinity Stones to wipe out Thanos' forces, it seems as if the Mad Titan finally accepts that he's been defeated. While he knows that his future self wins, he also knows that he fails in a way, hence why he wants to create a lush new universe where no one will remember him wiping out half of all life (making himself a God in the process). 

Tony Stark bests him, of course, so all that's left is for this past version of Thanos to remove his armour, sit down in the battlefield and turn to ash. He's now dead and gone and defeated by Earth's Mightiest Heroes in what serves as a poetic ending, especially after what he did in Infinity War

4. Clint Barton's Family

Marvel chooses a very unique way to kick off Avengers: Endgame, as Clint Barton (wearing an ankle monitor because he remains under house arrest) spends the day with his family. 

However, things head in a horrifying direction when Clint turns around for a second only to then look back and see that his daughter has vanished. As he then goes to see if she's with her mother and brothers, they too have gone and we just see ash floating in the air knowing all too well what it means. 

It's a horrible moment, as the sheer panic the character must feel in this moment is easy to relate to.

3. Black Widow

Considering a Black Widow movie is being released next year, none of us could have predicted that Scarlett Johansson's stint as the character (in the present day, at least) would wrap up with Avengers: Endgame

While on Vormir alongside Hawkeye, they quickly realise that one of them must leap off the cliff so the other can get the Soul Stone and while Clint tries to take the figurative bullet, Natasha won't let him and instead sacrifices herself in a hearbreaking and genuinely quite shocking moment. 

The fact that the Russo Brothers show her body (with blood coming from her head) and it's later confirmed that the nature of the Soul Stone closes the door on her return means she's officially done, and that's beyond upsetting.

2. Thanos (2019)

The present day version of Thanos really doesn't last long in Avengers: Endgame and his death comes as a genuine shock during the first fifteen minutes or so of the movie. Confronted by Earth's Mightiest Heroes in "The Garden," he admits to having destroyed the Infinity Stones and is clearly weakened by the toll that took on his body.

While he gloats about his victory over the team and how he managed to succeed in his mission to wipe out half of all life in the universe, Thor takes his advice from Infinity War and goes for the head.

Using Stormbreaker to slice the Mad Titan's head clean off, the broken down God of Thunder doesn't take much time to enjoy his victory as The Avengers have failed and this moment won't be forgotten.

1. Iron Man 

Heading into Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man and Captain America were the most likely candidates to die and it's the former who ends up making the ultimate sacrifice in a bid to put an end to Thanos.

After successfully getting the Infinity Stones from the Mad Titan, Tony Stark declares "I am Iron Man" in response to the villain's line about being inevitable, and snaps his fingers to unleash their power and wipe out Thanos and his forces once and for all. It's a kick-ass way to go and makes sense for the hero, especially after his interaction with Doctor Strange a little earlier on. 

What follows is a touching and tear-inducing sequence in which the broken Tony barely manages to bid farewell to War Machine, Spider-Man, and Pepper Potts before passing away in her arms. 
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