Thor’s Hammer Will Drop Again in 2013, Sans Kenneth Branagh

Or July 26, 2013, to be exact.

That’s the date that Disney has set for Marvel Studios’ sequel to their surprise hit “Thor” (and admit it, you were surprised the film did so well, given the whole Norse God themes) according to Deadline. Chris Hemsworth, of course, is expected to reprise the titular Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder who, last we left him, was stuck back in Asgard after defeating evil step-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

After opening large, “Thor” has gone on to earn $437 million worldwide, with $259 million of that coming from overseas.

The 2013 release date will put “Thor 2″ in good companion. Marvel/Disney also has Shane Black’s “Iron Man 3″ scheduled for May 3, 2013, which gives Marvel two major pics for the year. Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers”, of course, is set to dominate 2012 all by its lonesome, but since that movie boasts not one, not two, but four major movie superheroes, I’m pretty sure it’ll be up to the task.

Not expected back is director Kenneth Branagh, who has made it publicly known that it’s one-and-done for him on the big-budget comic book franchise. So … who wants to direct a big-budget movie about the God of Thunder?

Updated: Deadline has added to their story — screenwriter Don Payne has been hired to script the sequel. Payne has plenty of superhero scripting credits, including “Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer”, “My Super Ex-Girlfriend”, and more recently he penned a live-action “Lobo” for Warner Bros.