US director Patty Jenkins has taken the reins of Thor 2, her second feature film after the highly acclaimed Monster, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award for best first feature in 2004 and Charlize Theron an Oscar for her performance as a prostitute and serial killer.
Australia's Chris Hemsworth will again play the title character of a Norse god and warrior who defends humans on Earth after being cast out of his world by his father.
The comic book powerhouse Marvel Studios has not said whether Anthony Hopkins is returning as Thor's dad but Natalie Portman will be reprising her role as scientist Jane Foster, who captures Thor's heart and teaches him to address his arrogance. Tom Hiddleston is also back on board as Thor's bad brother Loki.
The original Thor, the most recent film to be directed by Kenneth Branagh, grossed about US$450 million worldwide. It was one of a number of big comic book adaptations that audiences could choose from this year.
During the years since Monster Jenkins has directed episodes of Arrested Development and Entourage and earned an Emmy nomination for the pilot of the police series The Killing.
Monster also earned Theron a Golden Globe, a Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, and many other awards for her transformation from glamorous actress to a young abused woman in Florida. The film, based on a true story, also starred Christina Ricci.
Given Monster was made for less than $10 million – it grossed an estimated US$60 million worldwide – and the estimated production cost of the original Thor was $150 million, Thor 2 is a big step up for Jenkins in terms of scale.
Thor 2 will actually be the third time Hemsworth has played the character of Thor: in the not-yet-finished sci-fi picture The Avengers he is one of a number of super humans who get together to save the world.
Other not-yet-released US films featuring the Australian include a remake of the 1984 action adventure Red Dawn, the horror film The Cabin in the Woods, and Snow White and the Huntsman, in which he plays a man who takes Snow White into the woods to be killed but becomes her protector.
Before securing his first Hollywood role in Star Trek, Chris Hemsworth starred in Australian soap Home and Away and the 2006 edition of Dancing with the Stars. This year he won the award for Male Star of Tomorrow at ShoWest, the annual convention for US cinema owners.
Hemsworth's younger brother Liam has also forged a Hollywood career for himself and stars in the upcoming much anticipated film The Hunger Games and his older brother Luke has been in a number of Australian television series.