- "There's nothing more reassuring than realizing that the world is crazier than you are."
- ―Erik Selvig
Doctor Erik Selvig is an astrophysicist and the teacher of Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis. He was a Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at Culver University. While working alongside Foster and Lewis, Selvig encountered an Asgardian named Thor. Shortly afterwards Selvig was recruited as a consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D. When Thor's brother Loki invaded Earth, Selvig was put under mind control which temporarily damaged his mind and gave him a mental breakdown. When he recovered, he worked with Thor once again during the Ultron Offensive and was recruited to work at the New Avengers Facility.
Being of Scandinavian origin, Selvig grew up hearing stories about the legends of Asgard such as Thor and Bifrost. After becoming a professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at Culver University, Selvig met Bruce Banner, a pioneer in Gamma Radiation, who mysteriously disappeared after a supposed encounter involving S.H.I.E.L.D.. He also befriended Dr. Hank Pym, who had dealt with S.H.I.E.L.D. before and warned Selvig to steer clear of them. During his tenure as a university professor, he met Jane Foster, whose father was his colleague.
Experiments with Jane Foster
Selvig was traveling with Jane Foster and Darcy Lewis to study thermonuclear astrophysics. While researching in the desert, a sudden mysterious weather event unexpectedly resulted in a powerful vortex before them. As they struggled with the zero-visibility conditions, the van collided with Thor, who stumbled out of the dust. Thor announced himself as an Asgardian god, to the "Mortals", but was injured when Lewis tazered him. They decided to take him to the local hospital shortly after.
- "For the first time in my life, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do."
"If anyone is ever going to find his way in this world, he has to start by admitting that he doesn't know where the hell he is."
- ―Thor and Erik Selvig
The following day, Jane Foster realized that the newcomer might be able to shed some light on the event; Selvig was more skeptical. So began a lengthy disagreement between the two, with Foster theorizing about the possibility of an Einstein-Rosen Bridge and Selvig insisting that everything Thor had been saying about gods and other worlds was nothing more than delusional talk based on old myths.
However, Selvig later befriended Thor, after agreeing to Foster's theory. Selvig was able to secure Thor's release from a temporary S.H.I.E.L.D. compound by claiming that he was Donald Blake after Thor had broken into the compound to retrieve Mjølnir. After being saved from the compound, he was later found drinking heavily with Thor at a town bar, causing Thor to claim that Selvig had "made his ancestors proud". Selvig even smashed his mug and loudly demanded another drink, earning laughter from Thor, who joined in the chanting. Selvig was later taken to Jane's camper to sleep off the alcohol. Though he didn't believe Thor was the god of thunder, they now had a good friendship.
The Destroyer Attacks
- "It's a beautiful theory, Jane. You won't be able to convince the scientific community of any of it. Not without hard evidence."
- ―Erik Selvig
Thor's adopted brother, Loki, was made king of Asgard, and sent the Destroyer after Thor to kill him. Thor's friends, Sif and the Warriors Three, came to help him. Thor was wounded by the Destroyer, but his bravery and heroics made him worthy enough to regain Mjølnir, which flew to his aid, healing him and putting him in his Asgardian armor. Thor defeated the Destroyer and he, with Sif and the Warriors Three, returned to Asgard.
Meeting Director Nick Fury
Later on, Selvig was ordered to the presence of Nick Fury after Thor returned to Asgard. Fury opened a storage case, presenting the Tesseract. When Selvig asked what it was, Fury replied that it represented a significant source of power, if only they could find a way to tap it. Selvig accepted the challenge of investigating the object, since his recent encounter with Thor and his studies into thermonuclear astrophysics. Loki, controlling Selvig, stared with intense interest with the Tesseract, since he had been controlling Selvig throughout the whole conversation.
While researching into the Tesseract for S.H.I.E.L.D. at the main facility of Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S., Selvig found an unusual energy signature coming from the power source. Selvig immediately alerted S.H.I.E.L.D. and all nonessential personnel were evacuated as the cube started to send of dangerous amounts of energy. When Nick Fury arrived in response to the alarms, Hawkeye suggested that, since the Tesseract is a multi-dimensional object, perhaps it was being manipulated from the other side of one of those dimensions, like a door.
Shortly thereafter, the Tesseract opened a portal and Loki appeared. He attacked and killed many of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents present and destroying much of Selvig's equipment. When Loki introduced himself and his plans to Fury, Selvig noted that Loki was the brother of Thor, much to the Asgardian's annoyance. Using his Scepter, Loki took control of Clint Barton and Selvig, immediately bending their will to serving his purposes before ordering Barton to shoot Fury and Selvig to pick up the Tesseract. Selvig and Barton helped Loki escape from the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, taking the Tesseract with them as the entire facility imploded.
Controlled by Loki
In a secret location away from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s control, Selvig worked to stabilize the Tesseract, constructing a framework based on information supplied through the cube itself. He spoke to Loki about the Tesseract's incredible power to give him knowledge beyond what he could have comprehended. Based on what he learned, Selvig sent Hawkeye to go acquire iridium to help stabilize the Tesseract when it created a portal to another world.
Selvig then took the Tesseract to the highest point of the Stark Tower, and used it to open a portal to the waiting Chitauri invasion army. When the Chitauri attacked Earth under Loki's command, Selvig was confronted by Iron Man, who attempted to stop the portal from opening. Selvig revealed to him that the force field surrounding the Tesseract was unbreakable, and that nothing could be done to close off the portal. However, Selvig was knocked unconscious when Iron Man tried to close the portal and blasted the force field.
When he woke up, Selvig found himself alone with the Black Widow, who was attempting to close the portal. With Loki's mind-control gone, Selvig told her that some part of his consciousness was still awake during Loki's mind-control, and that he inserted a flaw in the Asgardian's plan: the force field around the Tesseract could be undone with the Scepter. After following Selvig's advice, the Black Widow used the scepter to close the portal, after Iron Man sent the nuclear missile that the World Security Council sent to destroy the invasion into it to destroy the Chitauri Command Center. The missile hit the Command Center disconnecting the link between it and the Chitauri, killing them.
Later, when the now captured Loki was given to Thor, who took him back to Asgard to be put on trial for his many crimes against the galaxy, Selvig greeted his friend, and gave him the Tesseract to be taken back to Asgard since Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. decided it was too great a force for humans to mess with. Just before he left Thor touched Selvig's shoulder as a sign of respect and friendship. Selvig then departed home. Jane Foster later met him after the battle and asked where Thor was, only for Foster to quickly realize he had left again.
A year after the battle of New York, Selvig while free of Loki's mind control was still affected by having been under Loki's control for so long. In London, Selvig was arrested at Stonehenge after stripping nude and apparently harassing the bystanders with his lab equipment claiming he was trying to save them.
Having been arrested and transferred to a mental institution, Selvig continued to explain his theories about the Convergence to his fellow inmates, whether they wished to hear it or not. He was eventually rescued by Darcy Lewis and her new intern Ian Boothby. After witnessing the Convergence effect on a flock of ravens, Selvig took comfort in knowing that the world "is crazier than you are" and promptly threw his pills away.
Back at their apartment Selvig was greeted by Thor and Jane Foster who had traveled back from Asgard. Selvig quickly asked Thor if Loki was coming and found great relief after Thor informed him that Loki was dead but hid it for Thor's sake. As the group came up with a plan to stop Malekith from unleashing a powerful weapon known as the Aether on the Nine Realms Erik quickly realized that all the coordinates past civilizations had made relating to the Convergence lead to Greenwich.
The next day, Malekith and his army of Dark Elves arrived and began attacking Greenwich. While Thor fought them off, Selvig and Jane Foster got in a position to use devices made to detect gravitational anomalies, although Selvig did question whether or not the devices would work to create anomalies as they had been designed only to detect them. Once Darcy Lewis and Ian Boothby had placed the sensors in the correct locations Selvig and Foster used the device to teleport some of the soldiers away to different realms across the galaxy. As the battle continued, Selvig and Foster were forced to run from a small army of Dark Elves until Foster was able to teleport them away.
After a long battle between him and Thor, Malekith arrived at the center of the Convergence and prepared to unleash the Aether on the Nine Realms as Selvig, Foster, and Thor watched from a distance. Selvig claimed that they could not get close to use the devices; Thor, being the son of the Allfather, could however, so he grabbed the devices and threw them at Malekith, teleporting his body away as Thor collapsed from exhaustion. Malekith's ship began to fall. As Foster attempted to move Thor out of harm's way, Selvig teleported the ship to Malekith's location causing it to fall on and kill him.
Days after the defeat of Malekith, Selvig, Jane Foster, Darcy Lewis and Ian Boothby sat in Foster's apartment eating breakfast, Foster reassured them that Thor would return after he got done talking to his father, noting that he had committed treason when he had left. Selvig later witnessed Thor's eventual return where he rekindled his relationship with Foster, this time with the intent of remaining on Earth with his friends.
Called to Assist
- "This may be dangerous."
"I would be disappointed if it wasn't."
- ―Thor and Erik Selvig
As Selvig was leaving a college lecture he had given, Thor was waiting for him outside dressed in a hoodie to disguise his identity. Thor informed Selvig that he needed his help, but it was dangerous, to which Selvig replied that he would be disappointed if it was not and agreed to help as they both got into his car.
Thor then took Selvig to the secret location of the Water of Sights where Thor could continue the vision he started having when Scarlet Witch messed with his mind. Thor entered the water and the spirits inside took over his body, and gave him a more detailed vision where he saw the potential of the six Infinity Stones, one of which was housed in Loki's Scepter. Selvig watched from a distance as Thor was nearly killed by the water, losing control of his body and firing lightning. Thor survived the experience and used what he had learned to battle and destroy Ultron.
Selvig was recruited by the Avengers due to his continued work along side the team and his vast knowledge of Asgard and science. Selvig was relocated to the New Avengers Facility in Upstate New York to work as one of its key consultants with his own team of scientists working under his supervision and leadership as they began their work to assist the Avengers in keeping the world safe from threats. Selvig would often work with his pants off, however.
- Master Scientist: Selvig is a world-renowned astrophysicist, specialized in the field of Theoretical Astrophysics. He gained a position as Professor at Culver University, and once he discovered the existence of the other worlds, he became one of the world's most important experts in Wormholes and cosmic energy. For his work, S.H.I.E.L.D. requested his services as a consultant in the study of the Tesseract, leading Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. He was also able to understand the true nature of the phenomenon known as the Convergence before the world witnessed its most notable effects, and gained a position as a university professor in England before becoming one of the major scientists working for the Avengers at their new facility.
- Erik Selvig was later introduced to the mainstream comic universe due to the character's popularity, in the comic Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill. In the comics, Selvig is a Danish scientist, unlike his movie counterpart, who is Norwegian.
- It is implied that Erik Selvig may be aware of the Earth-616 universe, which is the main earth in the Marvel Multiverse
Behind the Scenes
- Originally, his name was going to be Andrew Ford, but was changed.
- Skarsgård stated that he was not initially familiar with Thor. As to why he took the part, Skarsgård remarked, "I chose Thor because of director Kenneth Branagh. The script was nice and we got to rehearse and talk to the writers and do some collaborating in the process to make it fit us. So I had a very happy time on it. What I always try to do is immediately do something I just haven't done so I get variation in my life. I've made about 90 films and if I did the same thing over and over again I would be bored by now. I try to pick different films, I go and do those big ones and having done that I can usually afford to go and do some really small obscure films and experiment a little."
- J.E. Johnson and Charlie Brewer were stunt doubles for Stellan Skarsgård in the role of Erik Selvig.
- Bob Kaye was a stand-in for Stellan Skarsgård in the role of Erik Selvig.