'Thor' Franchise & 'The Simpsons' Writer Don Payne Has Passed Away

March 27, 2013

Don Payne

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.

Find more posts: Obituaries



Very sad news to hear. I loved 'Thor' and am eagerly anticipating 'Thor: The Dark World'. He and his talents will be missed. R.I.P.

Chris Groves on Mar 27, 2013


This blows. What a talent, too soon taken from us. Great writer, you'll be missed...Thor was one of the better marvel scripts, not a moment missed or wasted.

Linkfx on Mar 27, 2013


My deepest condolences to the Payne family. Thanks Don, for leaving us your legacy! May you rest in peace!

Spider on Mar 27, 2013


Man, that sucks.

Nielsen700 on Mar 27, 2013


The link for Maximum Ride takes you to an old TDKR post...

Matt Peloquin on Mar 27, 2013


A great talent taken away far too soon. Thanks for all the great work....

Scopedog on Mar 27, 2013

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