If you thought Loki’s reign of terror in 2012’s “Marvel’s the Avengers” was bad, just wait until you get a load of Malekith, Kurse, and their army of Dark Elves. With a grudge 5,000 years in the making, the cast and crew of November’s “Thor: The Dark World” told MTV News during our set visit that these new big bads will make Loki look more like Dennis the Menace than the God of Mischief.
“I think other superheroes can fight bad guys in Gotham City, or can fight bad guys in Metropolis, or whatever,” director Alan Taylor said. “Thor is part of this epic [Asgardian] thing … going on. … [The Dark Elves haven’t] been around for 5,000 years. They’ve been pissed off since the Big Bang.”
“As far as anyone knows, [Thor’s father] Odin was a child the last time [the Dark Elves] were dealt with and believed to be wiped out,” producer Craig Kyle added. “So, when they return it’s not good news.”
Like any major force of fantastical warriors, the Dark Elves need a leader. Malekith (played by Christopher Eccleston of “Doctor Who” fame) fills that role with righteous rage. “[Malekith is] out to avenge something,” the director told MTV News.
Similar to Loki before him, Malekith comes packaged with a load of personal reasons for doing all of his dastardly deeds. Some of those reasons seem designed to pull audiences in and just maybe make them feel sympathetic toward an elf attempting to destroy the universe.
“You believe that they are truly fighting for what they believe is right, and that’s where people enjoy those kinds of struggles,” Kyle said. “If it’s just a guy twirling his mustache, then who the hell wants to watch the movie?”
By Malekith’s side is his right-hand elf, Algrim (played by “Lost” star Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who gets transformed into the monstrous Kurse during the film. But Kurse is no mere henchman: The two share a bond nearly as close as the one between Thor and Loki.
“With Malekith, it’s multilayered but, essentially, there’s a furiously loyal bond between us because we’ve been on the frontline together and we lost a lot, so it’s almost like a brotherhood — a very deep brotherhood,” Akinnuoye-Agbaje said. “[Kurse is] somebody who would lay [his] life on the line for a cause, and he feels that Malekith heads that cause, so they’re tight.”
The Dark Elves collectively provided another challenge for production designer Charles Wood and prosthetics designer David White, as their teams strove to create an opposing threat unlike any previously seen on the big screen.
“Initially, [Charles Wood] had about 20, 30 designs and they kind of went off in quite a few different kinds of areas,” White explained. “But the organic ones were the ones that we kind of warmed to because it was very prosthetic.”
This led to the elves’ armor resembling a creepy mix of shells and musculature.
“The basis of the Dark Elves is really they’re very tribal, ethnic, very earthy, and they have a lot of depth of soul to their … whole purpose, their whole way of life,” Wood said. “Everything about them has been made from scratch from our point of view.”
The world-building didn’t stop at just the armor and weaponry. Like the sci-fi- and fantasy epics of yore, a language was developed for the Dark Elves, designed to grab the attention of anyone who has read “Hamlet” in Klingon.
“There’s a language which I think is gonna intrigue you as much as it has me, because I’ve had to spend hours learning it. But I think you’ll get a lot of fun out of that because I think it adds a new dimension to not only the elves, but the movie,” Akinnuoye-Agbaje said. “It makes it very real.”
Any talk of Thor’s expanding rogue’s gallery has to include a word from his original arch-nemesis, Loki. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki finds himself forced to help Thor on this go-round, and he had a few thoughts regarding the evil Malekith. “There’s a degree of mutual recognition [with the villain Malekith], shall we say,” Hiddleston revealed. “It takes one to know one.”
“Thor: The Dark World” arrives on Midgard on November 8.