Movie Reviews

Idris Elba Felt His Heimdall Character Was Underserved in the Marvel Universe

Marvel once recruited actor Idris Elba to portray the Asgardian Heimdall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a character Elba felt great pride in playing, especially since he believed the character’s role could’ve been expanded on in the superhero franchise.

Idris Elba included Heimdall as one of the many superhero characters he enjoyed playing

Idris Elba talking to someone in a green suit at the 'Luther: The Fallen Sun' premiere'.
Idris Elba | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Elba has portrayed a couple of super-powered characters during his time in the spotlight. The actor initially found himself in his first superhero movie with Thor, where he played the Asgardian gatekeeper Heimdall. He was aware that his character only had a small role in the feature. But Elba took the part anyway because he was eager to work with director Kenneth Branagh, who shot the first Thor.

“This is a man that’s an amazing actor. Just hearing him giving his take on how to mold me as an actor. This is a man that called me up personally and said, ‘I know this isn’t a big role, but I would really love to see you play it.’ It’s Kenneth Branagh. I was like, ‘Definitely,’” Elba once told Entertainment Weekly.

Elba’s character would enjoy a bit more screen time as the series went on. But the character wasn’t given nearly the same amount of attention as some other Marvel heroes. So although Elba was fond of his time as Heimdall, he also felt he wasn’t as utilized as some of his other roles.

“Well, I have two characters that I love playing – [Suicide Squad’s] Bloodsport and [Hobbs and Shaw’s] Brixton – and I played Heimdall, who I think is underserved in the Marvel universe. If you want some thrills and spills and some f***ing badassery, Brixton is the guy. He’d slap Luther to death – he’s a monster. I really love that character. Bloodsport has got a lot of potential in that superhero space, too,” Elba said in an interview with Time Out.

Why Idris Elba once considered being in a Marvel superhero film torture

Elba’s time with the Marvel franchise wasn’t always fun. There was one occasion where the actor found it challenging dealing with the conditions of a superhero film. Elba had just finished filming his Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela, and had to do some extra work for Thor: The Dark World.

“I’d just done eight months in South Africa. I came to England and the day I came back I had to do reshoots on Thor 2.” he once told Telegraph. “I was like, ‘This is torture, man. I don’t want to do this.’ My agent said: ‘You have to, it’s part of the deal.’”

Elba specifically remembered a stunt he had to do for the feature that left him extremely uncomfortable.

“I’m actually falling down from a spaceship, so they had to put me in harness in this green-screen studio. And in between takes I was stuck there, fake hair stuck on to my head with glue, this f***ing helmet, while they reset,” he said. “And I’m thinking: ‘24 hours ago, I was Mandela’. When I walked into the set the extras called me Madiba. I was literally walking in this man’s boots. [Within] six months, the crew, we were all so in love with this film we had made. I was him. I was Mandela, practically.”

The realization that he was doing something completely opposite to Mandela was devastating.

“Then there I was, in this stupid harness, with this wig and this sword and these contact lenses. It ripped my heart out,” he said.

How Idris Elba reacted to his possible return to the Marvel universe

Elba’s Heimdall recently made a brief appearance in the most recent Thor film Love and Thunder. Speaking to People, Elba confided that he was more than excited to be a part of the Marvel family again, and reunite with his castmates.

“It was a big surprise for me to be asked, and Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth are like my brothers, really in the film industry and in life. So it was a joy to be there,” Elba said.