'Thor' Franchise & 'The Simpsons' Writer Don Payne Has Passed Away
by Ethan Anderton
March 27, 2013
After bringing the God of Thunder to life on the page for Thor and Thor: The Dark World, screenwriter Don Payne is sadly no longer with us. Thor co-stars Kat Dennings and Jaimie Alexander were the first to alert us to the sand news and Deadline has confirmed Payne's death, though no details about how he passed have been revealed. Payne was also behind the scripts for My Super Ex-Girlfriend and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but more importantly, he was an engaging writer who took the time to understand and discuss criticism for some of his work, always with an open mind and humility.
When Dennings tweeted about the sad news, she said, "A wonderful, beautiful man has passed away. Don Payne, I am lucky to have known you. You are so missed." Meanwhile, Alexander tweeted, "My heart is broken. You were a wonderful funny man who helped change my life and I will always love you. The world is less today. Don, may you rest in peace and may peace and love be with your family. You are in my heart always.
#forAsgard I love you."
Though I never met Payne personally, I had several e-mail exchanges with the writer following Thor and leading up to Thor: The Dark World. Many other writers like myself were touched by his generosity, with no expectations for preferential treatment or critical protection. HitFix points out that one such writer, Scott Weinberg, had the privilege of touring the offices of "The Simpsons" while Payne was a writer there (where he earned four Emmys and six Writer's Guild Award nominations), and he tweeted, "Don and I had nothing to "gain" from each other. He was a good friend." There were several other writers out there who had sparked a friendship with the writer and sung his praises.
Payne has one final project in development right now, and that's an adaptation of James Patterson's young adult novel Maximum Ride. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this difficult time, and we're glad Payne's legacy will live on as being an integral part of one of many comic book franchises that has brought so many fans around the world joy. Here's hoping Marvel will be dedicating Thor: The Dark World to his memory when the sequel hits theaters this fall. Rest in peace.