- Warner Bros.
- “Thor: Ragnarok” pulls off a rare feat for a movie: featuring a Led Zeppelin song. “Immigrant Song” can be heard in two fight scenes, but it wasn’t easy to get the band to sign off. Director Taika Waititi said it took a lot of time and a strong offer.
The latest Marvel movie, “Thor: Ragnarok,” isn’t just one of the most fun movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it also features one of the most memorable rock songs ever created.
If you’ve seen the movie, you already know what we’re referring to. “Immigrant Song,” the classic from Led Zeppelin’s “Led Zeppelin III” album, is prominently featured in two fight sequences in the movie. The song’s inclusion was a long time coming for director Taika Waititi and the Marvel executives.
Waititi included the song all the way back in the sizzle reel he made for his early meetings with Marvel in late 2015.
“I remember Kevin being really excited about the song right from the early meetings,” Waititi told Business Insider of Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige. “He was like, ‘We should explore that song because it could be perfect for the film.'”
- Paramount Pictures
With the song’s relentless guitar riff, squealing opening by lead singer Robert Plant, and mentions of Norse mythology in the lyrics, the track seemed perfect for the Thor franchise. But there was just one problem: Led Zeppelin is historically difficult when it comes to allowing songs in movies.
There has been the occasional breakthrough over the decades. Cameron Crowe (who used to cover Zeppelin for Rolling Stone) got the band to allow him to use “Kashmir” in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Richard Linklater had Jack Black beg on camera for the use of “Immigrant Song” while making “School of Rock” (it worked), and Adam McKay’s team had to track down Jimmy Page in a pub in the English countryside to get the OK to use “When the Levee Breaks” in “The Big Short.”
Waititi doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of anything insane taking place to get “Immigrant Song” for “Ragnarok,” as the movie’s music supervisor Dave Jordan did most of the heavy lifting. But he knows it did basically take all of production for the filmmakers to get the OK to use the song.
The breakthrough finally happened early this year when Marvel sent the band the teaser trailer, which featured the song, before it went live in April.
Here is the “Thor: Ragnarok” teaser that features “Immigrant Song”:
“When we had the first cut of the trailer and showed Led Zep they understood how perfect the song was for this character,” Waititi said. “I think it wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t start the conversation with them really, really early on.”
And there was something else Waititi felt was a deciding factor: Marvel Studios and the company that owns it, Disney, have some very deep pockets.
“I have a feeling if you want to entertain that idea of using their music, you have to have the money,” he said. “No negotiations. Offer it to them straight up.”
Waititi laughed before adding, “They are worth it!”
“Thor: Ragnarok” is now playing in theaters.