Among other hints of the future, Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, recently stated that THOR will be less fantastical and more rooted in reality. The stated reason being that it’ll keep the film more in line more with the tone set by IRON MAN.
Striking such a balance has traditionally been a concern for the thunder god, who, aside from Dr. Strange, was the only magically-powered character created during Marvel’s Silver Age. Me, myself -- I've never had a problem reconciling “science” and “magic” in the Marvel Universe, because it's all fantasy in the end. I remember STAN LEE’S MUTANTS, MONSTERS & MARVELS, an extended interview conducted by Kevin Smith, where Lee admitted he’d used radiation as a cure-all McGuffin since. By his own admission, he knew little-to-nothing about science, so gamma rays might as well have been rainbow waves. Although, amusingly, he also stated he wanted to give Thor a more scientifically-plausible method of flight. Superman just flies with no visible means of propulsion, whileThor flings Mjolnir and goes along for the ride.
I suspect the issue of making pagan characters more palatable to mass audiences might factor into this, although it’s something that’s already been addressed numerous times in the comics. I don’t know who did it first, but I remember the Ellis/Deodato run from the 90s putting forth the idea that the Aesir are, in fact, shapeless aliens who reinvented themselves according to Norse beliefs. That notion was taken a step further in the EARTH X trilogy where Loki actually “woke up” from his role as an evil trickster god. I highly doubt that the movies going to get into much of that - - one thing at a time, of course.
--Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.