Home Entertainment Patty Jenkins on why she left Thor: The Dark World: “You can’t do movies you don’t believe in”

Patty Jenkins on why she left Thor: The Dark World: “You can’t do movies you don’t believe in”

4 min read

As we heard yesterday, Wonder Woman 1984 has been delayed to August due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m sure it will be worth the wait though, based on how incredible 2017’s Wonder Woman was. And a lot of that incredibleness was due to director Patty Jenkins who took a comic book property that many old Hollywood fogies were saying was unfilmable for some reason (read: sexists), and made it look easy as the film went on to receive massive critical acclaim and broke box office records. That this was only Jenkins’ second feature film after the Oscar-winning Monster in 2003 made that feat even more impressive.

Of course, had things played out differently, Jenkins would have made the jump to the comic book movie world much sooner in her career as in 2011 she had been hired by Marvel to direct Thor: The Dark World. Following The Avengers, the second Thor movie was supposed to delve more into the Marvel superhero’s mythological aspects, introducing one of his most iconic enemies in the form of the Dark Elves. Three months before any cameras started rolling, Jenkins quit the production amid “creative differences” and Game of Thrones TV director Alan Taylor was brought on board to give us a film that I personally don’t think is as bad some claim but is admittedly a fine effort devoid of any distinct creative vision.

But why did Jenkins step away from the Thor sequel? It was the biggest gig of her career to that point and would have landed her in the history books as Marvel’s first female director. Jenkins spilled the beans in an interview with Vanity Fair:

I did not believe that I could make a good movie out of the script that they were planning on doing. I think it would have been a huge deal—it would have looked like it was my fault. It would’ve looked like, ‘Oh my God, this woman directed it and she missed all these things.’ That was the one time in my career where I really felt like, ‘Do this with [another director] and it’s not going to be a big deal. And maybe they’ll understand it and love it more than I do.’

Back in 2017, while talking about how she pushed for and eventually got the Wonder Woman job, Jenkins revealed that her initial plans for what would become Thor: The Dark World was to make it a “Romeo-and-Juliet-esque space opera that hinged on the separation of Thor and Jane Foster.” That is most definitely not the direction that Marvel – who Jenkins had an amicable split with – wanted to go at the time though.

You can’t do movies you don’t believe in. The only reason to do it would be to prove to people that I could. But it wouldn’t have proved anything if I didn’t succeed. I don’t think that I would have gotten another chance. And so, I’m super grateful.

I really have nothing but positive things to say about Marvel, because, honestly, they gave me that chance in the first place and it was not en vogue to do so.

Funnily enough, not even Thor himself, actor Chris Hemsworth, was that impressed with what Marvel eventually delivered, saying publicly that he thought Thor: The Dark World was “meh”. Hemsworth would change his tune completely though for Thor: Ragnarok, the massively entertaining and irreverent third Thor film that gave the entire franchise its biggest jolt of life yet. And all of that was down to director Taiki Waititi who Jenkins also has nothing but praise for and thinks is the perfect person to be guiding the thunder god’s adventures.

They found Thor’s rightful director. Taika’s so good for Thor. Oh my God, I love that movie. His tone with Thor was just masterful. That felt like pure Taika to me.

And it can easily be argued that Jenkins is Wonder Woman’s rightful director. Had she stayed on Thor: The Dark World she probably would never have gotten that job and we would have been poorer for it. And now we will hopefully get to see just what she and star Gal Gadot have managed to pull off for this much-anticipated sequel when Wonder Woman 1984 hits cinemas on 4 August 2020.

Last Updated: March 26, 2020


  1. Caveshen Rajman

    March 26, 2020 at 13:27

    I like to think of the MCU as three distinct chunks, phases if you will. Phase one, when it was a tight, neatly packaged set of origin stories that proved they could do comic book movies faithfully, this ended with Avengers 1. Phase two, when they made their point and realised they now had to flesh out their worlds, and it was super hit or miss, and this ended with Civil War. And phase three, when they realised they could just stop worrying and have fun with it, because it’s all downhill from there.

    It really, really, really shows. I can’t bring myself to watch a lot of the Phase 2 stuff now (except for Guardians) – but the Phase 1 and 3 stuff I can watch on repeat.


    • Kervyn Cloete

      March 26, 2020 at 14:20

      How could you forget Winter Soldier? HOW, CAVIE?!


      • Caveshen Rajman

        March 26, 2020 at 21:17

        Phase two, hit or miss. It’s right there. xD


        • Kervyn Cloete

          March 27, 2020 at 07:52

          But you said you can only rewatch Guardians and that cuts me and my fellow Winter Soldier fanboys deep!


          • Caveshen Rajman

            March 27, 2020 at 10:16

            Coincidentally I think I watched Winter Soldier more recently than both Guardians movies. Small comforts!

  2. For the Emperor!

    March 26, 2020 at 15:02

    Glad she did WW and Waititi did Ragnarok. Loved both movies!


  3. Guz

    March 26, 2020 at 13:41

    I cant even remember the plot to dark world….but Ragnarok was brilliant I haven’t laughed like that very often during a movie


  4. RinceThis

    March 26, 2020 at 17:34

    Yeah I really didn’t enjoy Dark World. Not because of the main plot, but because of some seriously irritating side characters who made me cringe. I enjoyed WW, but we can’t pretend the last 1/3 was pretty generic crap.


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