With Marvel set to kick off Phase 3 of their Marvel Cinematic Universe in just a few short days, focus has shifted to what this third phase has in store for the Marvel heroes we’ve come to know and love.
Although we will be introduced to a few new heroes this time around — in the form of Spider-Man, Black Panther and potentially others — there’s still a bit of story left to be told for the original members of Avengers before they do battle with Thanos in the upcoming two part adventure, Infinity War. The God of Thunder himself, for one, will get to complete his trilogy of films with the fall release of 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok.
The term Ragnarok has a number of meanings, especially in regards to Marvel. Here we are going to break down its origins, as well as what it means and how it might relate to the upcoming film.
Here are Screen Rant’s 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Ragnarok.
11. It’s From Norse Mythology
Every mythology has its own version of Armageddon, and Norse Mythology is no different. Ragnarok foretells a great battle which will bring an end to a number of Norse gods, including Odin, Thor, Freyr, Tyr, Heimdallr, and even the trickster Loki.
After the “everlasting winter” also known as Fimbulwinter, the Giants and the inhabitants of Hel, with Loki as their commander, will rise up and do battle with the Asgardians. The battles will be hard fought and brutal. The main players on both sides will basically all kill one another, until finally the Fenris Wolf, who just happens to be Loki’s son, swallows Odin whole. This leaves the fire demon, Surtur, to burn the Nine Realms and kill most of it’s inhabitants. The damaged land will then sink into the sea and vanish.
10. It Not Only Means The End Of All Things, But Also The Beginning
But not all is not lost. After a time, the submerged world will resurface, fresh and renewed, and the new gods, and those that survived the bloodbath, will gather and repopulate the world using two human survivors. A new generation of gods, the children of Odin, Thor and Sol specifically, will take the place of the old ones as the cycle of the world starts anew.
The mythos considers everything cyclical, so the cycle of Ragnarok repeats over and over again. Instead of the creation and destruction of the world being on opposite ends of a straight path, Norse mythology sees them as points opposite on a circle.
9. There Was A Recent Comic Book Arc Based On The Concept
The most recent Ragnarok comic storyline involves Thor receiving the Odinpower after his father dies and turning into a bit of a tyrant. When he finally comes to his senses and realizes what he’s done, he travels back in time to fix all the damage. In the meantime, Loki gets his hands on the mold that was used to create Mjolnir and fashions powerful weapons for his army. With Surtur, the fire demon by his side, Loki defeats Thor by breaking Mjolnir and basically destroying Asgard.
Given that we have no idea if Odin is even alive, given the end credits bit in Thor: The Dark World, these story beats could very well come into play in the new film. Loki is definitely up to something and creating magical weapons and then using them to destroy Asgard, so no one else can have it, would be right up his alley.
8. Thor Dies In The Comic Book Adaptation
So then, what happened to Thor in the comics? Well, after Asgard’s destruction, Thor went in search for the full wisdom of Odin, which wasn’t an easy task, by any means. Thor learned that the hard way when he was forced to pluck out his own eyes and then hang himself from the world tree. Epic questing is not for the squeamish.
Through this, he found out that Ragnarok was being manipulated by Those Who Sit Above in Shadow, and had been for aeons. In order to break the cycle, he sacrificed himself. He only survived because of his ties to his human form, but in the meantime, was left floating in a void.
It’s pretty much a given that the MCU Thor is not going to die in the film, because Chris Hemsworth is contracted through both Infinity War films. If, for some reason, they do decide to kill off the character, manipulating this storyline would probably be a good way to accomplish that.
7. There Is A Marvel Character With The Name
While all this was going on, Tony Stark, with the help of Hank Pym and Reed Richards, was able to clone the presumed dead Thor using some of his hair, which he just happened to have kept (but not in a creepy, kind of stalker way or anything). They fused the cloned DNA with Stark technology, creating a cyborg Thor, who eventually named himself Ragnarok. He was initially introduced in the 2006 Civil War storyline.
He was used to battle anti-mutant registration heroes, but was defeated when his own hammer was used against him. The villain was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times, and was mostly affiliated with the Dark Avengers. At this stage in the MCU, it is highly unlikely that we will see this character make an appearance, as he’s not really a good fit with any of the current story arcs, but never say never.
6. He’s Not Exactly Like Thor After All
Being a clone of the God Of Thunder means that Ragnarok has all of the knowledge and god-like powers of the original, including super strength, god-like stamina, superhuman reflexes, as well as enhanced agility and an immunity to all earthly diseases. It makes him hard to kill, although not completely impossible, and he seemed to get defeated quite often, before being brought back for some nefarious plan.
While he also carries a hammer, it is not enchanted like Mjolnir, meaning that others, who may or may not be worthy, are able to wield it. It’s constructed of a vibranium and adamantium alloy, with circuitry in its head that allows it to absorb and discharge lightning. While there’s no doubt that Tony could build not only the hammer, but the cyborg as well, again, it’s unlikely that we’ll see this incarnation of the character in the MCU anytime soon. It just feels a bit too much like Superman IV: A Quest for Peace to us.
5. The Comic Book Story Arc Had Serious Consequences
The Ragnarok storyline in the comics led directly into the Avengers Disassembled storyline, which broke up the original team of Avengers and paved the way for new ones to form. The New Avengers and the Young Avengers titles sprung from this series, and it is considered a major catalyst for a number of popular storylines, such as House Of M, Planet Hulk and Dark Reign.
Although we don’t yet know the consequences of Captain America: Civil War, it’s unlikely that Thor: Ragnarok will lead to the breakup of the team, because it’s not going to be a team film. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to have huge consequences for the MCU (more on that in a bit) but the team is going to have come together again to deal with the Thanos threat in Infinity War Part I, which is the next team-up release after Ragnarok. It won’t be surprising if the Avengers come out of that particular conflict looking very, very different, however. Whether that leads to adaptations of any of these other iconic comic book story arcs remains to be seen.
4. Thor And The Hulk Will Be Teaming Up In The Film
This new movie will be a buddy picture featuring the God Of Thunder and the Hulk. The last time we saw the the big mean green, he was flying the Quinjet to parts unknown. Somehow, Bruce and his alter ego are going to end up in one of the other Nine Realms, where he and Thor will run into one another. How this all occurs has yet to be revealed, but it sounds like the two will then head out on an adventure of sorts, as the world falls apart around them.
The two behemoths have an interesting relationship, to say the least. One of the best scenes in The Avengers is when the two of them go toe to toe on the Helicarrier. It will be interesting to see how the two come to an accord and decide to work together, as well as just how much of the film will consist of Mark Ruffalo being Bruce Banner and how much will be The Hulk. Either way, it will be awesome to see these characters swath a path of destruction across the Nine Realms.
3. Another Female Hero May Be Introduced Into The MCU
News broke in recent weeks that Creed actress Tessa Thompson had been cast in the film, and although her character hasn’t officially been announced, she is rumored to be playing the character of Valkyrie. Also known as Brunnhilde, she is an Asgardian by birth, one who was chosen by Odin to lead the Valkyrior, a group of warrior goddesses who would comb the battlefields to pick which of the fallen were worthy of entering Valhalla.
She is an ally of Thor and is thought to be the God Of Thunder’s new love interest, given that Natalie Portman will not be returning to the role of Jane Foster in the film. Rumors are also abound, that if she is playing the character of Valkyrie, the character will play a bigger part in the MCU moving forward, which is great, because the universe needs a few more female heroes.
2. Cate Blanchett Will Be Playing The Film’s Villain
Casting has never been an issue with Marvel, and they continue to go after A-list talent for their roles. This is no more evident than in the studio casting Academy Award winning actress, Cate Blanchett, as the villain in this film. Blanchett will reportedly play Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death and the ruler of Hel and Niflheim. In the comics, she is one of Thor’s main adversaries, and the two have a long history of basically killing one another and then being brought back to life to start the fight all over again. Over the years, she has also teamed up with Loki in numerous attempts to bring both Odin and Asgard down.
While not much is known about the character or the storyline of the film, you can bet that she and Loki will have plenty of on-screen time together. A rumor is swirling that Hela may actually replace the character of Death in the Infinity War films, making her the being that Thanos is in love with. Besides the fact that it would be amazing to have Blanchett become a staple big bad in the MCU, it also makes sense to use a character that has already been introduced to audiences, instead of debuting someone new.
1. It’s A Big Deal In The Marvel Cinematic Universe
For many folks, the Thor films are thought of as the weakest links in the Marvel chain. They rarely top anyone’s list of best MCU films, and for a pretty solid reason. The best parts of them are the things that happen outside of Earth, yet for some reason, everyone always ends up on Midgard. That is set to change with the release of this new film, where most of the story is rumored to be happening in space.
The studio is also treating this film like a huge stepping stone. “This is a very important movie for us in Phase 3,” stated Kevin Feige when announcing the movie. “We plan on taking Thor to another level. It picks up where we leave Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron and impacts everything that comes after.” He also confirmed that, in the context of the film, the word Ragnarok means “the end of all things” and that the film will have a similar impact on the MCU that the The Winter Soldier did in 2014 with the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, indeed.
Hopefully this list gives you a better understanding of what exactly Ragnarok is, and what it means to Marvel. Have we left any stones unturned? What are you hoping to see in the film? Let us know in the comments!