Zachary Levi, who played Fandral in the second and third Thor films, says his character would’ve been snapped away by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War had he appeared in that film. While most know Zachary Levi as the star of the DCEU film Shazam!, Levi first appeared in a much smaller capacity in the MCU with Thor: The Dark World. He played Fandral, a member of the Warriors Three, a team of elite Asgardian warriors who were important characters from the Thor comics.
The character Fandral initially appeared in the first Thor film but was played by actor Josh Dallas. Dallas was ultimately unable to return for the sequel, which meant Levi was offered the role. Fandral’s time in The Dark World was brief but his time in Thor: Ragnarok was even briefer, with his and fellow Warriors Three member Volstagg’s deaths occurring almost immediately upon Hela’s (Cate Blanchett) arrival in Asgard through the Bifrost Bridge.
In a recent article from The Direct, which details Levi’s appearance this year at Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia, Zachary Levi reflected on his time in the MCU, including some of the frustrations that came with playing Fandral and his limited screen time. After Fandral’s role was significantly cut down in The Dark World (despite promises to the contrary) and his only appearance in Ragnarok was his death scene, a lesser actor might harbor resentment towards Marvel, but ultimately Levi seems thankful for the opportunity. Finding the silver lining with his bit part in Ragnarok, Levi said Fandral likely would’ve been turned to dust with Thanos’ snap anyway. Levi’s full quote reads:
“But at the end of the day, I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll go take a trip down to Australia, and I’ll get to go meet and work with Taika Waititi for a couple of days, because I knew even then that that guy was a genius. So that was worth it… And even if I didn’t die, they were probably going to snap me out of existence anyways, who am I kidding?”
Ultimately, of course, Fandral’s death was actually the best possible outcome for Levi. Had Fandral survived Ragnarok and gone on to appear with another small part in Avengers: Infinity War, Levi might not have been able to accept a role in Shazam! due to scheduling conflicts. While Levi seems grateful for his time in the MCU, he went on to criticize how Marvel handled the Warriors Three in the films, saying that, after seeing the first Thor film, he “didn’t really feel like The Warriors Three were used all that well.”
Levi may be maintaining a positive attitude about his time as Fandral, but his comments highlight a key issue that often comes from adapting comics or novels into movies, one that will never go away and always lead to some degree of fan disappointment. Due to movies’ limited runtimes, there will never be time to do justice to every aspect of a character or plotline from the written source material. In the comics, Fandral and the Warriors Three played larger roles and frequently had their own unique character moments, but in the Thor films there simply isn’t space to do them justice. When in the editing room, if a filmmaker needs to choose between an extra scene that highlights some supporting characters or a scene about the main character and their unique journey, the main character scene will win almost every time. Sometimes, to enhance the main story being told, scenes with supporting characters just have to be snapped out of existence.