Chris Hemsworth will reprise his role in superhero sequel

Kenneth Branagh will not return to direct Thor 2, it has been confirmed.

Chris Hemsworth has signed on to reprise his role as God Of Thunder in the sequel to this year’s Marvel superhero epic. But despite initial signals that the Shakespearean actor would come back on board, the studio will be looking for a new director.

The decision for Branagh to step down is said to be “mutual and amicable”, according to Deadline.com. He is expected to remain on board in a production capacity.

Thor 2‘s release date has been set for July 26 2013, following on from Iron Man 3, which is due to hit cinemas on May 3 the same year. Before that, both characters will appear alongside Hulk and Captain America in the all-star superhero movie The Avengers, which is due next year and directed by Buffy creator Joss Whedon.

Thor has so far grossed $437 million (£272 million), making it the most successful superhero movie of the summer.