Nikki Finke claims that Marvel has found Thor. Surprisingly, he was in the wreck of the USS Kelvin. Chris Hemsworth, who played George Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, will be Thor for director Kenneth Branagh when the film goes before cameras this year or next, (Thor‘s release date is June 17, 2011) and he’ll reprise the role in The Avengers in 2012.

Finke describes the casting process as one of those movie-worthy surprise success stories: young actor appears in almost two hundred episodes of an Australian TV series (Home and Away), is cast in a memorable role in a movie that turns out to be bigger than anyone anticipated, then quickly finds himself cast in the lead in a Red Dawn remake, and as Thor. You can read the whole thing if you want, or wait for the Lifetime movie. She says that once Marvel taped a test with Hemsworth it was “Oh my god,” but she might have just been quoting her source biting into a really delicious sandwich. It’s Nikki Finke, after all.

I liked Hemsworth as the elder Kirk, and as Thor? Sure. Without knowing what sort of shape the Mark Protosevich script is in right now, this one feels like a relative unknown. What is Branagh doing with the story of Asgard? He’s evidently telling the story of an old god coming into his own, but that could play out a lot of different ways. This evidently won’t be the bearded, old Thor that artists have loved to draw for the past few years.