Thor: The Dark World is a 2013 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
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It is the second Thor film following 2011's Thor and the eighth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Alan Taylor, with a screenplay by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and features Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins reprising their roles from the first, with newcomers Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Zachary Levi and Clive Russell joining the cast.
Development of Thor: The Dark World began in April 2011, when producer Kevin Feige announced plans for a sequel to follow the crossover film Marvel's The Avengers. In July 2011, Kenneth Branagh, the director of Thor, withdrew from the project. Brian Kirk and Patty Jenkins were considered to direct the film before Taylor was hired in January 2012. The supporting cast filled out in August 2012, with the hiring of Eccleston, Dennings and Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Principal photography began in September 2012 in Surrey, England with filming continuing in Iceland and London, before wrapping up in December 2012. Thor: The Dark World was converted to 3D in post-production.
Thor: The Dark World premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on October 22, 2013. It was internationally released on October 30, 2013, and is scheduled to be released on November 8, 2013, in the United States.
Eons ago, Bor, father of Odin, vanquished the Dark Elves led by Malekith, who sought to return the universe to its state before creation using a force called the Aether. Fighting off Malekith's enhanced warriors the Kursed, Bor contains the Aether within a stone column. Unbeknownst to him, Malekith, his lieutenant Algrim and others escape into suspended animation. In the present, in Asgard, Loki stands before Odin in shackles and is sentenced to prison, while Thor, alongside warriors Fandral, Volstagg and Sif repel invaders from Vanaheim, home of their comrade Hogun; it is the final battle in a two-year war. In London, astrophysicist Jane Foster, who has not seen Thor in that time, attempts a lunch date with a man named Richard (Chris O'Dowd) but is interrupted by her intern Darcy Lewis. She takes Foster to an abandoned factory where the laws of physics are upended in spots and some children have found that objects thrown down a stairwell reappear above them or else vanish. Foster also learns her colleague Dr. Erik Selvig has apparently gone mad and has been detained after attempting to conduct scientific experiments at Stonehenge naked. Foster, after bringing her own scientific equipment to the factory, is sucked into a vortex where the Aether enters her.
The Asgardians learn a rare alignment of the cosmic Nine Realms is imminent, and at spots where the Realms touch, as at the factory, passages are created. When Heimdall tells Thor that Foster is no longer on Earth, Thor begins a search for her there. She has awakened in the factory after hours in the other realm, and finds herself releasing powerful energy when a police officer on the scene touches her. Sensing the force's unearthly nature, Thor brings Foster to Asgard, but its physicians, including Eir, cannot remove it. Odin realizes she is the Aether's vessel and this heralds a catastrophic prophecy. Frigga — Odin's wife, Thor's mother and Loki's adoptive mother — takes Foster under her wing. In holographic form, Frigga visits Loki in his cell to convey her love and disappointment.
Malekith and his forces, awakened by the release of the Aether, attack Asgard and turn Algrim into a Kursed. Malekith and Algrim find Foster in Frigga's chambers, and kill Frigga. Foster there is only a hologram, however; the real Foster is with Thor, who has been ordered to remain and protect Asgard, not pursue the retreating invaders. Following Frigga's funeral, Thor reluctantly teams with Loki, who knows a secret passage out. With Volstagg and Sif guarding his flank, the two commandeer a Dark Elf spaceship and escape with Foster. With Fandral's help and a separate flying boat, they escape pursuing Asgardian forces.
On Earth, Lewis, who has tried in vain to reach S.H.I.E.L.D., has Selvig released from a hospital's mental ward with the help of her own intern, Ian. Thor, Loki and Foster confront Malekith and Algrim on Svartalfheim, where, after a hoax in which Loki appears to betray Thor, Loki evidently sacrifices himself to keep Malekith from retrieving the Aether. It is to no avail, as Algrim batters Thor and Malekith takes the Aether from Foster. Thor and Foster return to Earth after stumbling to a portal between realms. The battle shifts to London, where Malekith, in a towering space-vessel, will use the Aether at the exact moment and place of the Nine Realms' convergence to destroy the universe and restore the dark-energy state in which the Dark Elves thrive. As Thor battles Malekith, Foster and Selvig use devices they've constructed to shift energy where the Nine Realms meet. At the last moment, they transport Malekith and his ship back to Svartalfheim, where the crumbling ship crushes him.
In Asgard, Thor declines Odin's offer to take the throne and tells Odin of Loki's sacrifice. As Thor leaves, the image of Odin reverts to the true form of shapeshifter Loki, who, disguised earlier as a warrior, has usurped the throne.
In the first of two post-credits scene, Volstagg and Sif visit the The Collector and entrust to his care the Aether, commenting that - with the Tesseract already in Asgard - having two Infinity Stones so close together would be dangerous. As they leave, the Collector remarks "one down, five to go." In a second coda, Foster and Thor reunite on Earth.
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