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When Marvel confirmed that 'Thor' director Kenneth Branagh would not be back for 'Thor 2,' fans were a bit puzzled. After all, although Branagh -- best known for his work directing and acting in Shakespeare adaptations -- was initially considered a surprise pick to helm the superhero movie, he ended up turning 'Thor' into a box-office smash worldwide. Over the weekend, Moviefone spoke with Branagh about why he wasn't doing 'Thor 2' and whether it was, as Deadline reported, an amicable decision between both parties.

"[It was] simply timing," Branagh said. "I loved doing the movie, I'd love to do another movie for Marvel, and it was just timing. The requirement for me was just to get back in the saddle so swiftly that it wasn't really feasible, but it was a decision [Marvel] understood."

Not only are there no hard feelings about the decision, but Branagh is even supportive of 'Thor 2' director Patty Jenkins.

"I, along with a lot of other people, are very excited about the appointment of Patty Jenkins," he said. "I think that's a great choice to direct the movie. I know that Kevin Feige and all the people I worked very closely with, who were absolutely parts of the creation of that movie, are keen to produce a great second picture. So it was the right decision for me and for them and I am really looking forward to see how the second one develops."

Jenkins is perhaps even more of a surprise pick than Branagh was. She is best known for directing the 2003 drama 'Monster,' starring Charlize Theron as the serial killer Aileen Wuornos (a role that won Theron her Oscar), a film that doesn't exactly translate over to the superhero genre. Whether Jenkins can meet Branagh's expectations won't be known to moviegoers until the summer of 2013, when 'Thor 2' is scheduled to hit theaters.

Make sure to check back with Moviefone later this week for the full interview with Branagh, where he discusses 'Harry Potter' (he played Gilderoy Lockhart in 'Chamber of Secrets') and gives his thoughts on portraying acting legend Sir Laurence Olivier in the upcoming 'My Week With Marilyn.'

[Photo: Getty]



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