Joss Whedon Helped Chris Hemsworth Land ‘Thor’ with Comic Books and a Recommendation

Joss Whedon might be in the headlines these days for a slew of rather unsavory reasons, but for nearly a decade, he was one of the biggest creatives in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). As the showrunners for the blockbuster Avengers film, which was released in 2012, Whedon received acclaim for his brilliance at telling a story that involved multiple strong characters. One of the most popular characters in the movie is Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth. The Australian-born actor and Whedon go way back, with Whedon being influential in his casting as the iconic comic-book hero. 

How did Joss Whedon help Chris Hemsworth land the role of Thor?

'Justice League' filmmaker Joss Whedon standing in front of step and repeat
Joss Whedon | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Hemsworth made his MCU debut in Thor, released in 2011. While it might be impossible for any Marvel fan today to imagine a different actor playing the Asgardian hero, there was a time when Thor director Kenneth Branagh wasn’t sure about casting Hemsworth. According to Screen Rant, Whedon intervened after Hemsworth “blew” his audition for Thor

Whedon, who was working with Hemsworth on the horror flick The Cabin in the Woods, knew that Hemsworth could be great as Thor – and personally reached out to Branagh to ask him to reconsider Hemsworth. As Hemsworth himself later recalled in a biography of Whedon by Amy Pascale: “‘I was about to go back for the audition for Ken and Joss called him just, you know, without me even knowing and just said, ‘Hey look. I really like this guy’ and ‘He’s talented and fights for the right things,’ Hemsworth said. “Ken really respected his opinion, and I’m sure that helped me get the job.”

Joss Whedon suggested special comic books for Chris Hemsworth to read

Whedon took things a step further after Hemsworth landed the role of Thor. The director helped to prep Hemsworth for the part by suggesting a slew of comic books for him to read, according to Collider. Even the director of The Cabin in the Woods got on board, working with Whedon and Hemsworth to ensure that the Australian-born action star would be able to perfectly inhabit the role. 

Of course, as Marvel fans now know, Hemsworth blew everyone out of the water with his rendition of Thor Odinson. Not only did Thor receive critical and commercial acclaim, but he went on to act in multiple other big-name Marvel films and is now considered to be one of the studio’s biggest assets.

What did Chris Hemsworth say about working with Joss Whedon?

Whedon has been the subject of controversy in recent years, with actors like Ray Fisher coming forward to claim that Whedon exhibited unprofessional behavior on the set of his films. According to Far Out Magazine, Whedon was also accused by actor Gal Gadot, with the star claiming that Whedon “threatened” her on the set of Justice League and that he made her experience “miserable.” Whedon went on the record to deny all the accusations, blaming the backlash on his ex-wife. 

As for Hemsworth, he’s always spoken positively of Whedon, giving him credit for helping him to get the role of Thor. He’s also been open about his own experiences working with Whedon, according to IndieWire, claiming that he had a great time filming The Avengers, even when his antics exhausted Whedon. Although some fans might be conflicted about Whedon, there’s no doubt that everyone loves Hemsworth’s work as Thor – and that might be enough to cast a positive light on his legacy in the MCU.

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