During the early stages of the MCU, Marvel was gearing up to release Thor, which would introduce us to the cosmos and have plenty of set up for The Avengers. The combination of Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddelston as Loki were easily the highlights of the first Thor movie, but it also was responsible for giving some unexpected characters more screen time. The people responsible for making this work into the overall story were writers Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz.
Stentz recently was on Kevin Smith‘s Fatman on Batman and his work on Thor was obviously talked about. As stated earlier, there were two characters that made appearances that Marvel did not originally plan for. Those characters were Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Stentz explained the process of getting Coulson into this movie, and how it was completely their idea thanks to not being able to use Nick Fury.
This was a page one re-write, based very loosely on story beats that they gave us… there were beats that they had, and beats that they didn’t have, and we were kind of working them together. At one point it was like “Okay we want S.H.I.E.L.D. to be in there” and they’re like “We can’t have S.H.I.E.L.D. as the bad guys! No, not the bad guys, just the people opposing Thor; they’ll be the good guys by the end, trust us.”
And then they’re like “Well, you can have S.H.I.E.L.D., but Sam Jackson’s holding us up in negotiations so we don’t know if we can have Nick Fury. And we’re like “Well, how about that Clark Gregg guy from the first Iron Man, he was great and he popped! Can we have Coulson?’ And they’re like “Coulson, Coulson, Coulson… oh him! Yeah, you can have him.”… They ended up giving him a bigger role in Iron Man 2 because they liked how he was popping in Thor. Clark Gregg actually sent us t-shirts as a thank you.
It’s almost comical how Marvel was not planning to use Coulson that much, and now he has his own TV show (that they ignore). However, just as Gregg thanked the writers for giving him an expanded role, Renner apparently has not. In fact, Marvel was weary to allow them to write Hawkeye into the script because they had not yet cast the role.
You want to know who owes us and hasn’t said ANYTHING? Part way through [the script] there’s ‘the S.H.I.E.L.D. Sniper takes aim’ and we identify ‘Barton’. And [the producers said] “But if we get Hawkeye, we’ll have to get a real actor.” And then they realized we can just shoot the A-Side, and then when we cast for The Avengers we’ll just go back and shoot a thing with that actor. So, Jeremy Renner: You’re welcome!
Hawkeye’s appearance is obviously short, but is a nice intro to the character prior to his appearance in The Avengers. These two changes to the original script gave Thor the true feeling of being a part of the MCU, and went a long way in developing the inner-connectivity of the universe. Stentz is currently busy working on various DC projects, but if the opportunity arose I’d like to see him return to another Marvel project. Let us know your thoughts on his comments in the comment section below!
Source: Fatman on Batman.