'Thor 2' will introduce brand new villain; Who could face the God of Thunder?

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With "The Avengers" still bringing in the big bucks at the box office, eyes are starting to turn to what Marvel has planned for the future. One of the officially announced projects is "Thor 2," which will once again star Chris Hemsworth as the titular demigod.

Small bits and pieces of information have emerged about the project, which will be directed by Alan Taylor ("Kill the Poor"). The sequel would seemingly explore some of the other realms besides the three seen in the first film. The biggest question, however, has surrounded the villain.

Actor Mads Mikkelsen, best known as the baddie from "Casino Royale," will be playing the villain of the film but exactly what character he'll be playing has not yet been revealed. However, Marvel CEO Kevin Feige has eliminated one possibility: According to AceShowBiz.com, Feige confirmed the villain will not be Thanos.

Thanos, also known as the Mad Titan, was introduced in a mid-credits sequence in "The Avengers." This clearly indicated that the death-worshiping being would be making an appearance in Marvel's cinematic universe. It's most likely he'll be saved for "The Avengers 2," but since the character's signature weapon was seen in Odin's Vault in the first "Thor," it seemed plausible that Thanos would turn up in the "Thor" series first.

With Thanos off the table for the time being, the question is what character will Mikkelsen play? Thor's signature villain has always been his brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston. Loki is said to be returning, but it makes sense to not have him be the film's villain; he's already been defeated twice now, so a fresh threat is necessary. While Feige wouldn't state who the villain actually will be, there is a candidate that fits in nicely, based on earlier reports.

Bleeding Cool had reported previously that the Enchantress would be a featured villain in "Thor 2." The report of Mikkelsen playing the bad guy would seem to negate that, but there is a way the previous information could still be accurate.

The Enchantress is often accompanied by Skurge the Executioner, a role Mikkelsen could inhabit. Skurge is actually an honorable warrior but his adoration of the villainous Enchantress put him in direct confrontation against Thor and other Asgaridians on multiple occasions.

If the Executioner is going to be the villain, it opens up the possibility of the character appearing in the sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger" as well. In the comic books, Skurge and the Enchantress were banished to Earth, where they teamed up with longtime Captain America foe Baron Zemo.

Of course, at this point there's been no indication who the villain will be in the next "Captain America," but Zemo is easily Cap's best known adversary aside from the Red Skull, who featured in the first film.

Now that "The Avengers" has tied together these various characters more tightly, there may be much more direct crossover from one franchise to the other. The use of the Executioner could come to exemplify that.

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