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August 02, 2012

‘Thor: The Dark World’: Christopher Eccleston is villain Malekith

Posted in: Movies

In Danny Boyle's 1994 directorial debut "Shallow Grave," Eccleston, from right, Ewan McGregor and Kerry Fox play a trio of roommates who discover their fourth roommate dead of a drug overdose, and his suitcase filled with cash. (Gramercy Pictures)

The 1996 series "Our Friends in the North" followed four friends for 31 years, chronicling their lives as they weathered political and social changes. Eccleston plays anarchist-politician-photographer Dominic "Nicky" Hutchinson, a role that earned him a BAFTA nomination. (BBC)

Eccleston played opposite Kate Winslet in the 1996 love story "Jude." (Gramercy Pictures)

In 1998, Eccleston acted in "A Price Above Rubies," about a woman (Renée Zellweger) who feels trapped in her arranged marriage to a devout Jewish man. Eccleston played the woman's brother-in-law and lover. (Miramax)

Eccleston played the Duke of Norfolk, a conspirator to the throne, in "Elizabeth," the 2008 film that earned one Oscar and six other nominations. (Alex Bailey / Gramercy Pictures)

The 1999 film "The Invisible Circus," based on the novel by Jennifer Egan, follows a girl (Jordana Brewster) who goes to Paris seeking the truth about the suicide of her sister (Cameron Diaz) and ends up falling in love with her late sister's boyfriend, Wolf, plated by Eccleston. (Valerie Blier / Fine Line Features)

Eccleston played opposite Nicole Kidman in the hit ghost story "The Others" in 2001.

In Danny Boyle's 2002 zombie thriller "28 Days Later..." Eccleston, left, plays villain Maj. Henry West, a British Army veteran driven mad by the horrors he encountered during the epidemic. (Peter Mountain / Fox)

In the 2003 miniseries "The Second Coming," Eccleston played Stephen Baxter, the son of God sent to Earth to avert an apocalypse. The two-part series was written by Russell T Davies, who later wrote for Eccleston in "Doctor Who." (Carlton International/Red Productions)

Taking on a heroic role in 2005, Eccleston was the ninth in a long line of British actors to portray the Doctor, a time-traveling alien who defends Earth from aliens in the long-running sci-fi series "Doctor Who." (BBC)

Eccleston returned to sci-fi/fantasy in 2007 with his role in the popular TV show "Heroes." In the first season, Eccleston plays Claude Rains, a man with the power of invisibility. (NBC)

In "The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising" -- the 2007 adaptation of Susan Cooper's young adult fantasy novel series -- Eccleston plays the film's antagonist, The Rider. (Fox Walden Films)

Eccleston once again played a villain in 2009's "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." In the film, Eccleston plays weapons manufacturer James McCullen (a.k.a. Destro), the head of weapons company M.A.R.S. (Military Armaments Research Syndicate). (Paramount Pictures)

Eccleston embodied the iconic Beatles poet John Lennon in "Lennon Naked," BBC's 2010 biography. (BBC)

Eccleston took on a smaller role in 2011, playing Pod Clock, one of the 4-inch-tall little people living under the floorboards in a TV-movie adaptation of the classic children's book, "The Borrowers." (BBC)

Eccleston plays an unwilling cartel boss in "The Shadowline," a 2011 TV series about a murder being investigated by both police and criminals. (BBC)

Christopher Eccleston will play villain Malekith in 2013's "Thor: The Dark World." (Marvel Comics)

“Thor: The Dark World” has cast its villain. Christopher Eccleston, known for his work in “Doctor Who,” will play Malekith in next year’s sequel to the 2011 Marvel blockbuster that starred Christopher Hemsworth in the title role.

In the comics, Malekith is the ruler of the dark elves of Svartalfheim, one of the nine worlds of Asgard. The dark elves possess superhuman strength, stamina, speed and smarts. Malekith can also teleport, fly by transforming into mist and cast illusions. He is served by minions Bitterhand, Wormwood and Grendell.

Christopher Eccleston will play villain Malekith in 2013′s “Thor: The Dark World.” (Marvel Comics)

At one point in the comics, Malekith wields the Casket of Ancient Winters — a powerful weapon with the ability to summon primordial winter — which, as fans will remember, was wielded by Loki and much-coveted by the frost giants of Jotunheim in the first film. Malekith also strikes an alliance with Loki, but it remains to be seen how closely the film will adhere to the comics.

Eccleston will have to fill the evildoing shoes of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, who served as villain in both “Thor” and this year’s summer box-office smash “The Avengers,” but the British actor is no stranger to playing baddies.

In Danny Boyle’s 2002 zombie thriller “28 Days Later…,” Eccleston plays a British Army major driven insane by what he’s seen. His madness manifests as he attempts to execute a gang rape. And in 2007′s “The Seeker: The Dark is Rising,” he plays The Rider — the personification of evil.

With Alan Taylor (who has directed several episodes of the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones”) at the helm of the sequel, many are expecting Thor’s world to be grittier than the gleaming portrayal in the first film, directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Eccleston joins a returning cast that includes Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Natalie Portman (who plays scientist and love interest Jane Foster), Anthony Hopkins (god-honcho Odin), Stellan Skarsgård (Eric Selvig, who survived the events of “The Avengers”), Idris Elba (Heimdall) and Jaimie Alexander (lady warrior and Thor’s childhood friend Sif). Also returning in the sequel are the Warriors Three: Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun and Zachary Levi replacing “Once Upon a Time” star Josh Dallas as Fandral.

Click through the gallery above for a look at some memorable roles in Eccleston’s prolific career, and let us know what you think of the casting in the comments.

– Noelene Clark

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