Marvel Studios for the first time in 2017 will be releasing 3 films in theaters, and that has fans pretty excited. We will be getting the much anticipated sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, which is shaping up to be a pretty great sounding sequel. Not only is James Gunn hard at work with Chris Pratt and the gang, but Spider-Man: Homecoming is also on the way, which will be the first solo Spidey film in the Marvel Cinematic universe. Tom Holland killed it in Captain America: Civil War, and we absolutely can't wait to see what he can do in a full length movie.
Amidst all of that excitement though is the looming conclusion of the Thor trilogy. Thor: Ragnarok was announced along with the rest of Marvel's phase 3 slate a while back and at the time it seemed unlikely that the movie would be able to rise above the noise being generated by every other awesome thing the studio has coming down the pipeline. The first Thor film was an enjoyable enough origin story, but Thor: The Dark World was something of a disappointment for some fans and many rank it pretty low down on their overall MCU rankings, so that may have tapered some excitement for the movie leading up to now. That being said, it is very possible that Thor 3 could wind up being the best Thor film yet and the most anticipated film for the studio in 2017.
Not only will Chris Hemsworth be returning to wield his hammer Mjolnir, but Loki and a whole bunch of bad guys are along for the ride as well. Oh, and Mark Ruffalo is totally going to be in at as the Hulk too. Kevin Feige and the rest of the team behind the film are clearly pulling absolutely no punches when it comes to closing out The God of Thunder's solo trilogy, and we are going to be better off for it. They have hired a very promising director, cast some amazing new talent and are adapting some very beloved, long craved for Marvel Comics source material. If you aren't excited yet, you will be, because here is everything we know about Thor: Ragnarok as the film gears up for production.
It would be near impossible, or at the very least nonsensical to do a Thor movie without Thor himself so of course, Chris Hemsworth is on board for the film. When we last left our hero at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, he had just started unraveling the mystery of the Infinity Stones thanks to that very strange hot tub scene. We think. So, he intended to head back to the cosmos and Asgard in order to seek answers, which will very likely tie into his motivations when it comes to what he will be doing in Ragnarok.
For those that may not know, one thing that wasn't touched adapted to the screen for Civil War, likely because Thor wasn't in it, was the Thor plot line that had Tony Stark and Hank Pym work together to make a robot clone of Thor. The clone was known as, you guessed it, Ragnarok. So, though we don't know exactly how that will factor into the plot of the film or even if there will actually be a robotic Thor clone, that is something worth noting. It is very possible that Marvel just used it as a cool title, but that is very unlikely. Hemsworth is perfect as Thor, but the character has seemed to fit better into the ensemble of The Avengers so far in the MCU. Ragnarok is the chance for Thor to finally have a truly great solo film, which has been sorely lacking from the Marvel Universe so far.
Though the complaints that have been lobbied against the MCU as a whole are few and far between, one of the main issues people tend to have is ver disposable, underdeveloped villains. There is one unquestionable exception to that, and that exception is Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Hiddleston has appeared in both solo Thor films as the trickster God and was also the primary villain in The Avengers. All three times, Loki has managed to steal the show to some degree or another.
Hiddleston will definitely be back for Thor: Ragnarok, which makes sense given that the last time we saw him was at the end of Thor: The Dark World. As it stands, he had managed to take on the appearance of Odin and is essentially running Asgard right now, even though Thor has no idea. Some time has passed since then, Loki has had a lot of time to do some damage. He will definitely not be the primary antagonist of the movie, but he will certainly be making his usual amount of trouble. The only potentially sad thing for some fans is that there have been very strong rumors that this will be Hiddleston's last time playing Loki, but that has yet to be confirmed. It is very unlikely that Marvel would kill the character off, unless it really served the story, but fans may need to be prepared to say goodbye to Loki in the MCU in one way or another.
The last time we saw Mark Ruffalo as Hulk was at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron when he was flying off in his random aircraft in order to sort of seemingly protect the world from his potential destructive nature. One way or another, we know he is making it to space because he is going to be in Thor: Ragnarok. This isn't going to be like Chris Evans quick appearance in The Dark World either, because it has been confirmed that Bruce Banner/Hulk is going to be one of the core characters of the movie. Ruffalo has said that Banner and Hulk will be at war with one another in the movie and ultimately, he and Thor will be teaming up. As for how he fits into Ragnarok? Well, that is likely going to be a very exciting thing for fans, but more on that in a minute. In any case, some of the best interactions in any of the Marvel films have been between Hulk and Thor, so the idea of them teaming up for an entire movie is very promising. We may not get a Hulk solo movie in the MCU for quite some time, but this will be a great way to tide us all over.
Going back to how Hulk is going to fit into Thor: Ragnarok, it has been confirmed that the MCU is finally going to adapt the much beloved Planet Hulk storyline. Though it won't be beat for beat, it seems like the bulk of the story that people loved from that story and the main beats of it will be in place. This is something that fans have been clamoring for basically ever since Marvel started connecting their films together. For those that may not know, in Planet Hulk, certain members of The Avengers ship Bruce Banner off to what they think is going to be a peaceful planet for him, but he winds up on a planet where he is forced to fight other crazy space creatures in the style of Gladiator. So yes, the idea of seeing Thor and Hulk fighting together in an arena style battle is very tantalizing and we now know for sure that this is something we are going to get to see. And it has also given the MCU an opportunity to bring in another excellent bad guy.
Grandmaster and Skurge
Thor: Ragnarok is shaping up to be a massive ensemble film on a very grand scale, and that being the case, the film has added a couple of very cool bad guys to the roster. For one, Marvel Studios has cast Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, who will be running the arena games from the Planet Hulk storyline. Essentially, Grandmaster is an ancient being who has lived for so long that he is very bored and creates games for his own enjoyment. Goldblum seems like he was born to play the character and the way he fits into the story is great. Not only that, but Marvel has also cast Star Trek and Dredd star Karl Urban as Skurge. The character, also known as Executioner, is of Asgardian decent but eventually makes his way to being a very large and imposing supervillain who uses a very cool double bladed axe. It seems like a perfect fit for Urban and should be another very cool bad guy to fit into the ensemble. But, not all bad guys are guys, as it turns out.
At this point we should probably just stopped being surprised at the level of talent Marvel is able to attract to their films, but Cate Blanchett is a true credit to any movie she is in and her inclusion as Hela in Thor: Ragnarok bodes very well for it. Blanchett will reportedly be the main antagonist of the movie and that makes sense, given that she is an incredibly talented, award winning actress. Marvel is not going to want to waste her talents on a total throwaway villain. The character of Hela is the Asgardian goddess of death in the comics and is based on the Norse goddess Hel. She has been a major foe for Thor in the comics over the years and was created by the classic comic duo of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. To make matters even more interesting, at least in the comics, she was actually the daughter of Loki. Whether or not Marvel decides to change that for the film is unclear, but they can surely play with that relationship in one way or another to make the character more interesting. In any case with the character's history and an actress like Blanchett playing her, Hela could wind up being a very memorable villain in the MCU.
Tessa Thompson had a massive breakout year in 2015 with her performance in the Oscar nominated Creed and that was enough to put her on Marvel's radar, because she landed a huge role in Thor: Ragnarok. Thompson will be playing Valkyrie in the movie, who is a fearless and powerful warrior of Asgardian decent and was a long time member of both The Avengers and The Defenders at various points in Marvel Comics history. Plus, she was an ally and a love interest for Thor, so that could make things interesting, especially since it has also been confirmed that Natalie Portman will not be appearing as Jane Foster in this movie. In the comics at least, Valkyrie was white and Thompson is of course not, so Marvel was clearly not afraid to make some changes to the character and seemingly went with who they thought was best for the role. Given some of the heat that the studio has taken for whitewashing recently, it certainly can't hurt anything. Thompson is a very talented up-and-coming actress though and very likely was not cast just to meet some diversity quota. Make no mistake, she is going to help elevate Ragnarok and fans should be excited that she is on board.
The Thor franchise is going to be the only franchise in the MCU that will see a different director in the chair for each installment of the trilogy. Alan Taylor, who directed Thor: The Dark World is not returning and has been somewhat vocal about not having the best experience making the movie. So, Marvel instead turned to What We Do In The Shadows director Taika Waititi to helm Thor: Ragnarok. What We Do In The Shadows was a sleeper hit last year and most people who saw it absolutely loved it, but it wasn't exactly the type of movie that one would think lends itself to setting up Waititi to take on something of the size and scope of Ragnarok. Marvel has never cared about that though. They care about talent and by all accounts, Waititi has it. Long before he moved to directing features, he worked on Flight of the Conchords and early buzz on his new movie Hunt for the Wilderpeople is very high. Waititi is a very interesting choice that could make for a great change of pace, much in the way that James Gunn was on Guardians of the Galaxy. We'll have to wait and see, but fans who may not know his name should have confidence in Waititi.
Lastly, with everything that is in the melting pot that is Thor: Ragnarok, it could maybe be hard to tell what to expect from the movie. Even in the early stages Ruffalo and others from the cast have teased that it will have a "buddy cop" vibe ala Lethal Weapon with Hulk and Thor ultimately teaming up to take on the Hela and the other threats that Ragnarok presents. There is certainly going to be some dark and heavy elements to the movie, but the idea that it will ultimately be a road trip movie with an "Odd Couple" vibe is very interesting and exciting. One thing that the Marvel movies have always done well, even in the darkest films, has been adding much needed levity. From the descriptions we have heard, it sounds like Thor: Ragnarok is going to give both Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth plenty to play with on both ends of the spectrum.
We still have more than a year to go until Thor: Ragnarok actually hits theaters, but we already know an awful lot and as things continue to progress, we will surely know a lot more. This seems like a great start and hopefully we can finally get the Thor movie we all want and deserve. Thor: Ragnarok drops on November 3, 2017. Be sure to stay tuned for updates as we will be sure to keep you up to date as we learn more.