Dynamic Concept Art Reveals That Balder Was Once a Part of the MCU's Thor

Thor and Loki, the Odinson brothers who made the cut.
Thor and Loki, the Odinson brothers who made the cut.
Image: Marvel Studios

Watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s rendition of Norse mythology, one absence always struck me. Balder, one of Odin’s sons, is one of the more iconic figures in the myths. So where’s Balder?

According to Charlie Wen, former head of visual development at Marvel Studios, that was a question that very nearly had a pretty concrete answer. Lately, he’s been sharing some really beguiling concepts from the early days of the MCU, and now he’s revealed a wonderful concept portrait of a scene from Thor featuring Balder Odinson, along with some background details on what the character might have been like.


According to Wen, at one point Balder “had a pretty crucial role” that “[added] another layer of complexity to Thor’s relationships with Loki”. Thor already had a lot of heavy lifting to do, so it makes sense to see this child of Odin not make the cut.

Still, his absence is a bit of a glaring hole in the classic Odin-centric family tree of Asgard. Maybe at some point we’ll find out he’s been busy in the frost realm the whole time, and nobody mentioned him. That’s usually how these things go, right?

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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Zack Stentz

In our early drafts of Thor, Balder was one of the gang (Ken liked the idea of there being 7 warriors on the expedition) and there was a 15 page section in the first act that took place in Niflheim, featured Karnilla prominently and gave Balder stuff to do.

You can see little traces remain in the film that was made. Originally it was Balder who was wounded in the attack on Jotunheim (by a shard of mistletoe!). that necessitated their retreat, but a quick rewrite gave it to Fandral instead (as the handsome matinee idol of the bunch Fandral got most of Balder’s lines as well.)