EXCLUSIVE: Marvel Studios is getting close to naming a director for Thor 2, and I’m hearing they might go with a surprise: Patty Jenkins, best known for directing Charlize Theron to an Oscar in Monster, and also for directing the superb pilot for AMC’s The Killing. This would be a real surprise, because women directors aren’t usually high on the list for superhero movies. Let’s see how this plays out, but it looks pretty serious. Kenneth Branagh directed the original.

This is all expected to happen soon. Marvel and Disney have set a July 26, 2013 release date for the sequel, which brings back Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding superhero, and Thor co-writer Don Payne is writing the script. The original grossed $448 million worldwide and launched the star of Hemsworth, who is currently playing the latter title role opposite Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman for Universal.