Taika Waititi And Tessa Thompson Point Out A Strange Mistake In Thor: Love & Thunder

The old adage about moviemaking is that you write the movie three times: in the script, during the shoot, and in the edit. Making the movie that you exactly set out to make when you signed up for a project rarely occurs. Sure, there are similarities, but filmmaking requires constant evolution based on casting, locations, lighting, time, light, and a host of other factors. On big Hollywood blockbuster franchises, that ever-changing nature is even more apparent. A lot of these movies are given release dates before anyone has even been hired to work on the movies, let alone have developed a full story for them. Take the "Mission: Impossible" films, in which writer/director Christopher McQuarrie openly talks about how they are essentially making those movies up as they go along to string together the action set pieces in a satisfying way.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" evolved quite a bit from its conception to the final product. Characters were cut, motivations changed, and Taika Waititi's improvisatory comedic style naturally upended the traditional method of making a movie. Sometimes people can wrangle that unknown into something spellbinding, as McQuarrie does with the "Mission" films, but this ramshackle approach can often lead to pictures feeling rather disjointed. Such is the case with "Thor: Love and Thunder," which can never settle on a satisfying tone or push its characters forward in particularly meaningful ways.

You can even see vestiges of abandoned ideas in the movie that make little to no sense in the final film. Luckily for us, Taika Waititi and star Tessa Thompson pointed out one of these vestiges and completely owned up to the mistake.

An unexplained flinch

After Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher has attacked and kidnapped the children of New Asgard, Thor, Jane Foster, Valkyrie, and Korg try devising a plan to save the day. One shot in that sequence is rather odd. It is a simple two-shot of Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman. In that shot, Tessa Thompson briefly flinches as if something has suddenly startled her. Keep in mind, this just happens in the middle of a normal dialogue scene. Nothing happens that would lead someone to have a reaction like that. 

In a installment of Vanity Fair's "Notes on a Scene" video series, Tessa Thompson talks about the reasoning behind her odd facial twitch:

"Okay. There's one little funny thing that happens in this. See this shot, where I go [flinches]. It's because it used to be when he would wake up. That was my reaction shot, but you just left it there, randomly."

Waititi fully admits that he never noticed the reaction before she pointed it out to him that second. They can laugh about it, and the shot is so quick that you probably did not even notice it in the theater. I know I didn't, but now I will be unable to not see it.

This raises so many questions about the evolution of that scene. Why was Thor asleep, presumably standing up? Did they have some sort of narcolepsy subplot they thought was funny but turned out wasn't? Maybe it wasn't Thor initially, but Korg? In the video, they say the scene was shot three different times over the course of shooting, so the final product is some assembly of all three versions. More often than not, editors can really hide when scenes get cobbled together like this, but in this instance, they let one tell slip by.