Idris Elba to play Heimdall, Guardian of Asgard in Thor

Among the very last of the casting announcements for Thor, the Guardian of Asgard has finally found an actor. Idris Elba (RocknRolla, The Office) will be Heimdall!

Superhero Hype reports:

Elba will play Heimdall, the guardian of Asgard, who stands on the BiFrost Bridge ready to defend the city from intruders.

He joins a cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Jaimie Alexander, Colm Feore, Samuel L. Jackson, Stellan Skarsgard, Stuart Townsend, Ray Stevenson and Tadanobu Asano.

I like this casting. I find Idris to be uniquely intimidating and has a great presence. He will do fine with the role.

How big a role the gatekeeper will play is yet to be seen, but I am sure he will own it.

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68 thoughts on “Idris Elba to play Heimdall, Guardian of Asgard in Thor

  1. Beta Ray Bill Has a horse face people. He’s a character of the thor comics. Which means its all total fantasy. Race means nothing in the Marvel. The Universe. Idris has a powerful on screen presence. Though i much rather him be Panther

    1. But Beta Ray Bill was an alien. These are real pretend people that inspired superheroes.

      We have to get upset that a god that doesn’t exist and a character inspired by that thing that doesn’t exist is black.

      Call Chris Rock. We have more material for him to rant about.

  2. I think when they make the Black Panther movie, Roland Kickenger should play him. He’s built for the part, and has shown he can be an cation hero ( T4). And John Cenna (sp?) should also play Luke Cage,..he’s got the attitude, and physical presence needed. OR Daniel Craige. We have seen him do a great bond, he would be PERFECT for Bishop!!!!!!, and of course Eve Mendaz as STORM,,can’t wait to see her in the outfit.

  3. A black guy playing a Norse god is truly retarded.

    Just as casting a white guy as a mythical Asian deity would be stupid and considered offensive, as a person of Norwegian and Swedish heritage I find this casting “choice” to be offensive.

    My interest in this film has dropped to zero since it’s clear the creators don’t give a shit about any semblance of logic.

    1. What is retarded is that you (and others) want to make this an issue when it doesn’t matter.

      If this is all it takes to make you lose interest in a film, then you are doing yourself a disservice and no one else.

      Won’t bother me that you are ruining it over such a non-issue.

      1. Saying it doesn’t matter is forcing your views upon other people. It apparently DOES matter to some people. Now, I won’t avoid seeing the movie based on the casting for Heimdall but I think it is an incredibly bad casting choice and is an example of PC gone wrong. I would feel the same way they were to cast a white guy as the Black Panther.

        Expecting an actor’s race to match the race of an established character isn’t racist its common sense. Does anyone else remember the uproar when Peter Sellers was cast as Dr Fu Manchu?

      2. It isn’t forcing views on someone to say its fine both ways. Thats being open minded and willing to accept change. Saying there is only one way to do it is forcing your opinion.

        And no… no one remembers the uproar when Peter Sellers was cast as Fu Manchu and that is exactly my point. People might cry about it or disagree based on some narrow viewpoint that a character MUST be a certain way, but in the end no one will care and the world still turns.

        And casting a white guy as Black Panther would be incorrect because so much of who and what the Black Panther is involves his ethnicity. There is nothing in any of these character’s ethnicity that defines them. So its not a big deal.

      3. Okay, this will be my last post here. Not because of any negative vibes, I have enjoyed the discussion but because the topic is basically played out.

        No, a white guy could very well play Black Panther, all they would have to do is to turn him into a Tarzan type character and there you have a white guy growing up in Africa then moving to America. Any other aspect of the character could be ignored because, hey, its just an adaptation of a comic book character so what is the big deal? To say that Heimdall’s ethnicity isn’t important is like saying Buddha’s ethnicity doesn’t matter.

    2. A film with fantasy elements, loosely based on Norse Gods. Adapted from the comics.

      Let’s take a good look at that. There was something I actually forgotten about the Marvel Thor. There was a time where Thor’s fellow Asgardians shared a fate close to his: put in different bodies and spread out over the earth. Sure, later on Thor/Blake helps make a small piece of Asgard somewhere in the heartland of Oklahoma and logic flies out of the window…

      Your interest is turned to dust; mine has nearly reached the summit.

    3. At this point I am just hoping the film gets made so having Idris Elba as Heimdall is a non issue for me.

      I am not a fan of Sam Jackson but he isn’t going anywhere since they signed the 9 picture deal. So I have just gotten over it.

      I’ll spare Rodney and everyone else the reason why I don’t like Sam Jackson cause I know he is a fan, lets just say I am not.

      Go Thor!

      1. Its never been about me being a fan. Its a non issue that he is black. You can have a problem with the character if you would like. I don’t tell people what they are allowed to prefer.

        If changing his race is the problem then its your problem. If you just don’t like the character, that’s fine. Sam played the character the same way Fury acts in the books, so his presence works fine for me. His appearance has nothing to do with it.

  4. Saying that race is interchangeable IS an issue.

    Would you actually tell anyone that wasn’t white that their ethnicity doesn’t matter?

    Furthermore, would you care if Edward from Twilight was made black for the movies? Harry Potter? How about if the Matrix was remade and Morpheus was some white dude? What about if Morgan Freeman’s character from Shawshank was remade white?

    I’m sorry but just because Fury’s character wasn’t characterized by his ‘whiteness’ doesn’t mean that his ethnicity doesn’t matter.

    1. Funny, to anyone NOT racist it hasn’t been an issue.

      They made plenty of characters in film represented by an ethnicity that is not the same as the original character.

      But its been with characters where ethnicity was not a PART of that character.

      Interesting that you said Twilight because Laurent was NOT a dreadlocked black guy in the book and thats how he was portrayed in the movie. No issue.

      When it is CORE to a character that they are a specific ethnicity like say Black Panther then sure. It would matter. But in no way was Fury ever specifically white aside from always being drawn that way. There is nothing in their story about being white and how that affects who and what they are.

      Catwoman was black once (bad movie but not because she was black) and a black man played Kingpin, a depicted white sumo wrestling gangster.

      So interchanging it is a non-issue. More specifically its YOUR issue and you are the one who suffers for the narrow view.

      1. How is wanting a character in a movie to be true to character racist?

        I didn’t even mind when they had Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin, or this news about Elba, but because I don’t like the switch with Nick Fury I’m racist? I would be just as upset if they took a character such as Luke Cage and turned him white… but this whole nick fury thing is racist? Sorry Rodney, but you’re way off base.

        The fact is 4 years of an alternate reality book for tweens does not automatically erase 40 years of writing. The fact that you think it does really says something about your knowledge of comics if that’s what you side with.

      2. How is a character that is not defined by his race so important to be white?

        Bumblebee wasn’t a VW bug either. It worked. Prime wasn’t a cabover. We deal.

        His skin colour has nothing to do with his character or presence. That he has “always been” doesn’t have anything to do with it either.

        You still can’t address that.

        You have no problem with Kingpin, or Elba, but Fury is all wrong. You do realize the hypocracy in that right? Those characters have ALWAYS been portrayed as white in the books too. But Fury??? Nope. That isn’t acceptable.

        The fact is that Kingpin’s first appearance in Spiderman in 1967 and NEVER since then has he been depicted as anything BUT a massive white man, and MCD is ok?

        That erased 40 years of writing for you without a second thought, but Fury can’t be.

        You are right. It isn’t racist. Its just blind ignorance and hypocracy.

        And the fact that you try to challenge my knowlege of comics while you trip over your own ignorance just proves you know less than you pretend I do.

      3. Um… admitting one’s preferences isn’t hypocrisy. I said it didn’t bother me with Kingpin or with Heimdall… so I automatically have to feel the same with fury?

        Sorry but MCD didn’t bug me because daredevil as a whole sucked, and he’s a great actor and probably one of the better things in the movie when compared to the Bennifer fiasco.

        We’ve yet to see Thor so I cant’ really say that Heimdall is good or not- but the CHOICE certainty doesn’t bug me.

        I’ve always been a fan of fury and WAS disappointed that they chose the Ultimates version rather than the traditional version.

        So either you’re telling me we can’t judge roles on an individual basis, or that you just can’t get over the fact that I don’t like the choice for Fury. Which is it?

      4. Either it is ok to do it or its not.

        This isnt about preference or whether you prefer one actor over another doing it. You said it yourself that re-writing 40 years of history of the character was tossed away simply by making him black now. This has never been about your preference. You stated very early on that its NOT acceptable to change a character’s race because it re-writes everything about it.

        Liking the film has nothing at all to do with it, so discrediting the Kingpin thing is just you squirming because you can now hide it in a weak excuse of “that film sucked anyways”. But the point still remains that it didn’t suck because a black man played a white character. Catwoman sucked too, but it wasn’t because Halle Berry played Catwoman. The whole film did. It was still fine to have a person of a different ethnicity play the part.

        And its completely acceptable to do that with other characters, just not Fury.

        You have already painted yourself into a corner with your contradictory statements. There is no point in trying now. You are just backpedalling.

      5. saying that you didnt mind kingpin like you did fury, fucked your whole argument up. you have no point and just wasted some bandwidth.

  5. I don’t have much of an issue with this since it will be taking place in a society separate from our own and doesn’t have the same cultural significance.

    It did bother me with Nick Fury, however. Nick Fury’s first appearance was in 1963. The fact that they made him black completely rewrites his character and who he is at the core. It is completely ignoring the fact that if he was black in ’63 it would be in the middle of the civil rights movement and let’s face it- he just would not be given the position as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    If the character can have the exact same back story and circumstances then I’m fine with changing the race, but to completely ignore the cultural background of the character for the sake of faux diversity is just ridiculous.

      1. “The Ultimates comics re-wrote their history.”

        And how does that NOT change the history of the characters inside the story? That makes no sense.

        Also, saying ‘get over it’ doesn’t simply end a debate. You’ve said that twice to people with completely legitimate and on-topic comments.

        Having Fury black DOES rewrite his history- very much in the same way that if you were to take Luke Cage and make him white it would change HIS history.

      2. It is accurate.

        The films never been shy about admitting they are adapting the Ultimates variation of the Marvel Universe history.

        And you do need to get over it. Using an actor of a different ethnicity when ethnicity doesn’t matter is a non-issue.

        If a legitimate and on-topic concern was brought up, that wasn’t somone CREATING a problem where there isn’t one, I wouldn’t be saying “get over it.”

        Having Fury Black doesn’t re-write shit. He is black in the comics they are trying to adapt. If Luke Cage was white in the Ultimates book it would be the same thing. It isn’t part of Fury’s history that he is black or white. He is a soldier who rose through the ranks and was given command over the active field agents of SHIELD.

        Its a non issue.

      3. boy are you going to be pissed when you find out all of the white nick fury’s were androids and the black fury is the real one in both comics.

  6. I’m still trying to picture Sam Jackson in this.
    I know he’s Fury and all but I’m still under the impression that this movie takes place (mostly) on Asgard so I’m expecting another cameo at best BUT having a credit among this diverse cast makes me wonder to what capacity and if there gonna spend more time on earth.anyone eye the screenplay yet?

  7. Great actor but odd choice. Heimdall is referred to as “the whitest of the gods” or “the White God” in Norse mythology. I’m with Yote on this one. Yes it’s mythology – its NORSE mythology. It would be similar to have Jesus portrayed by an asian actor.

    1. And this is not even the “real” mythology. Its marvel comics characters inspired by mythology.

      The very word mythology means that they didn’t really exist and therefore there is no “real” thing for it to have white skin.

      Its a god. A myth. A legend. And its a comic book’s version of it.

      It doesn’t matter that he is black. He is playing a guardian warrior, and this man has the presence to make that role convincing. So what if he is dark skinned.

      1. It matters that he is dark skinned because he is portraying a Norse character. Whether they existed or not has no meaning, these are widely known Norse myths and the actors should match the roles they are playing. If it was some part that had some leeway in its interpretation it wouldn’t be an issue but but there is none. BTW, there are still people who subscribe to the Norse religions and to them they aren’t myths, so how about a little sensitivity?

      2. No, he is playing a MARVEL COMICS character inspired by Norse mythology.

        This is like when people cry over Twilight because those are not “real” vampires.

        According to the myths, Thor himself is a redhead. Yet the Marvel version is blond. He is cast down to midgard and is bound to a mortal man in North America. Gee, what part of the Norse mythology does that represent?

        Its not sensitivity. Because the very characters represented here are not going to offend the REAL Norse Gods.

        Get over it.

      3. Oh what is wrong with us……why can’t we just get over the fact that Thor is an adaptation of a comic book and this is not Troy 2 or something.

        I love Idris Elba btw.

  8. Okay, lets look at it this way. Jim Carrey is cast to play an African god. Would that make sense? No. BTW, Heimdall is known as the ‘White God’ (not a racist statement but a descriptive one). Also, Heimdall has gold teeth. Is Idris going to show up with a mouth full of bling? There is no way to defend casting a black man as Heimdall, period. Idris is a fine actor but come on!

    1. Then you are limiting yourself if you think there is NO WAY that a black man can play a mythical figure. He could be wearing white armour and white robes and still be described as the White God.

      There is nothing defining the character by his description that means he MUST be white.

  9. Since when did black people come from Scandinavia?

    Isn’t this like having some white guy play Martin Luther King Jr. in a movie?

    1. Since when are the Norse gods from Scandinavia? I didn’t realize that the gods were people who were born there and transcended to a higher plane of existance.

      Martin Luther King was a person. These are myth. You have no point.

      1. Since when are the NORSE gods from Scandinavia? Really? It’s in the name, Norse meaning North, meaning Scandinavia, or to be precise Norway, which incidentally is in Scandinavia. You really should know better than this.
        It’s like asking: “Since when are the Greek gods from Greece?”

      2. Since, you know, the religion was started in Scandinavia and pretty much exclusively followed by Scandinavians.
        And it sort of says that in the name “Norse Gods”.

      3. First of all, justifying the choice of Sam Jackson because it was that way in the Ultimates would be like choosing a puppet to play Angel in an Angel movie because he was a puppet that one episode.

        Fury has been white since 1963. He was remade into the Jackson persona in 2005. I’m sorry, but it was super lame to go with Jackson, and ignores 40+ years of history.

      4. But it DOES justify that they are adapting the character by your own rules.

        They are adapting the Ultimates version so by your own narrow standards they HAVE TO make him black.

        Fury wasn’t black in just one episode, he has always been black in the Ultimates.

        Your Angel analogy is weak and does not apply to this at all.

        You make it sound like comics have NEVER re-written their own history either says you are ignorant or never read comics. Fury is more than the colour of his skin and never once in his history or character has his ethnicity been an issue. So its a non issue here too.

      5. First of all, I have been reading comics since I was a kid- and second of all just because it’s in the Ultimates doesn’t mean it’s gospel.

        The ultimates is not even in the main Marvel universe for Christ’s sakes! It’s in an alternate universe where everything is different. So how about we make Reed Richards 20 years old in the next Fantastic 4 Movie. Peter Parker a webmaster? Come on Rodney, anyone who is a true fan of Marvel pretty much regards the Ultimates as complete bull teen marketing.

        Sam Jackson is no more Fury than Zack Effron would be Reed Richard.

      6. It does mean its gospel when they are admittedly adapting that version.

        The word adapting MEANS change.

        It doesn’t matter what race they are as long as it works. And Fury works.

        That you don’t think so is YOUR problem. That you think that race is an issue is YOUR assumption.

        Welcome to the world this side of the 1860s.

        Sam is Fury and has played him in more films than anyone else has played Fury. That you don’t like him isn’t going to change anything, and doesnt hurt the film or the comic.

        You are making a mountain out of a mole hill. Fortunately its your OWN mountain and you get to climb it. The rest of the world with open eyes doesn’t care.

      7. Sorry Rodney, the fact that this is coming from a guy who freaks out when someone questions people wearing shirts or not in one of your films means little to zilch.

        Someone being white in fiction for over 40 years and then black for 3 years does not make it gospel. Especially when they are totally not adapting it straight from the ultimates, since if they were Tony Stark would be flying around in this:

        http://ultimatecomics.free.fr/ultimates/images/14.jpg

      8. The only questioning over wearing shirts was a troll comment saying Twilight was nothing but softcore porn for little girls and that they were topless just to get girls to see it.

        And as typcial in debate when you cannot make a point you attempt to attack the character of the person you can’t make your point to.

        SOmeone being white in fiction for all of eternity and black for 3 years just means it doesn’t matter. At all.

        If anything was adapted straight from a comic then there would be a frame for frame screen play from an issue. Things change.

        There is nothing about Fury saying his history revolves around his ethnicity. His character is his job, his role and his views. None of which has to do with his skin colour.

        You still don’t address that aside from repeating the same “but its always been that way”. Sorry Brandon. Things change. And strangly changing his skin colour did nothing to change his character.

        This is not an issue.

      9. Brandon, while I, too, frown upon the Ultimates line, I have a slightly different view that most die-hard comics geeks. My view is simply adaptation. Is the adaptation favorable? Is it the essence of a character? Does the actor playing the character do at least a decent job?

        In the case of Nick Fury, in this debate we have an ace in the hole. Using your argument, were you dismayed when David Hasselhoff played the character in the 90’s TV film?

        See the above criteria; it failed on all three counts.

        Let’s take a look at the Sam Jackson Fury thus far. Thus far it succeeds on all three counts. Jackson’s Fury (Jackson’s Fury, I like that) also is only currently a cameo to a minor supporting role.

        By the way, when it comes to comics and Nick Fury, Fury nearly holds the record for the most retcons. We are talking one of the worst fiction continuities known to man, so be very cautious when you defend “40 yrs of history” regarding Nick Fury.

      10. Gutpunch, Since when does it say that the Norse Gods were actually mortal Norweigans who became gods. Oh wait… they are not.

        All cultures describe their gods with their own cutural likeness. It doesn’t mean they have to be.

        And in case you missed it, this is an adaptation of the MARVEL comics characters who are inspired by (but not exactly like) the fictional gods of norse mythology.

      11. Well, being from Denmark and having grown up on with a Norse mythology heritage, it seems odd to cast a black man to play what is essentially a super Viking. By your reasoning anyone or anything could be playing every fictional character, ever. (Since you like to point out when people have no points)

        If this is written right, it can absolutely make sense, and I’m sure he’ll do a bangin’ job – but I don’t want to spend my time wondering how a Norse god can be black. I want to get absorbed by the movie. So unless they have a specific reason for portraying Heimdall as black, I think it’s a bad casting call.

    1. Then its a good thing this isnt a documentary about Norse Mythology.

      Its a marvel comics superhero inspired by them. Those enthusiasts would also be the first to point out that Thor doesn’t speak in olde english, or have blonde hair.

      1. Thor is supposed to have red hair actually. Regardless, this is ridiculous. Did they seriously do this on purpose, to have a black man play ‘the white god’ Heimdall? What were they thinking? He’s a good actor and all, but there is no way this wasn’t done to make some sort of statement. Since when are vikings black? It doesn’t even make any sense, fictional or not.

        That’s like having a white Green Lantern, I would be just as upset.

      2. Thor in the marvel comics has NEVER had red hair. So why would they make the character a red head in a Marvel film?

        People are confusing the traditional myths to the versions presented in the comics.

        Marvel is not “official” Norse mythology, nor has it ever claimed to be.

        Any more than having a black guy play “The White God” be any more ridiculous. He wasn’t called the white god because of his fair skin or Caucasian heritage. He wore white armour.

    2. And yes, they are very upset and they feel as though this movie is taking a big dump on their heritage. I kinda feel the same way, pretty disgusting if they did this just to make a statement.

      1. Then they shouldn’t read comic books because while inspired by the Norse mythology, this is in no way claiming to rewrite their heritage.

        This “they” you speak of is your assumption. This will not impact any culture whatsoever and there is no world movement or radical group attacking this.

        If they did, they would look stupid. Thor has been in the comics (looking just like this) for decades now. This doesn’t impact Norse culture at all.

      2. Thor is indeed a fictional character and having blonde or brown hair won’t change or harm the character. However, if Thor (A VIKING) were black it would be kinda confusing and harmful to the character in the comic. That’s like casting Nacho Libre as a black guy, while he may be a good actor the character no longer makes any sense. I never said they were filming a documentary.

        I never said he was called ‘the white god’ specifically because of his race but it certainly makes it ironic. There are many reasons why he is called that, however he is described as being ‘whitest of the aesir’.

        It was not an assumption. ‘They’ meaning the general heathen population are very upset with their god being portrayed as something he is most definitely not. Look it up. This is very offending.

        Here’s a good question, why DID they cast Idris Elba?

      3. Again, this “They” is still an assumption. I tried the most reliable way of looking it up online (Google) and so far NO ONE on the internet is personally offended that a black man was cast to play a fictional character.

        Considering Heimdall was also the biological son of nine different mothers (presumably all sisters) I don’t think you can bring any biological argument for race into this discussion. A man was cast to portray a fictional norse mythological personality. It is not offensive that he was a black man.

        And I can only assume he was cast to play the part because they liked how his audition went.

  10. Haha, I’m sure Snorri Sturluson (google him) wouldn’t have approved of having a black guy playing a norse god. I’m sure it will be awesome!

  11. More and more I get the funky suspicion that “Thor” isn’t just coming down to Earth realm, but that it will be on a near epic scale and there’s a big epic battle within Midgard that spills over into the world of Iron Man and The Hulk.

  12. I’m not to familiar with Thor. Is he a good choice for the role? I always liked his performance in The Wire and the small part he played in 28 Weeks Later. The casting looks great. I look forward to seeing this.

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