Odin might sometimes be upstaged by his son Thor, but let’s not forget that The All-Father himself is one of the most important – and powerful – characters in the Marvel Universe. Not only is he the ruler of Asgard, but he’s got countless powers and abilities that are under the radar of even the most die-hard geeks. Oh, and did we mention, he is a literal god? When a character is this awesome, it’s surprising he takes less of a lead role a lot of the time. Sure, he’s often simply a device used to generate conflict for Thor, but we think that Odin deserves more.
In our effort to give some of Asgard’s spotlight over to Odin, we’ve decided to to dig a little deeper into Odin and find out more about him. What makes the character tick? What fascinating bits of trivia remain unknown about him? And what the hell is up with the eye-patch?
If you have questions about Odin, we have answers. So keep reading to find out 15 Things You Never Knew About Odin.
15. Mel Gibson turned down the role of Odin
To get an actor to convincingly play a god, you need a Hollywood legend; someone who is already idolized to an extent and has experienced fame and power. And it certainly helps with box office. It seems that Marvel were keen to draw in money by hiring big names for the Thor movie, and thought Odin’s character would be a good chance to pull in an older Hollywood legend. We can all agree they did a pretty good job of landing Anthony Hopkins to play the part. He plays the part with Shakespearean gravitas, and he’s certainly a big star.
But what might surprise you to learn, is that Anthony Hopkins wasn’t originally who they wanted. Their first choice was actually Mel Gibson. With films like Braveheart and Lethal Weapon, it’s easy to see why they wanted him. Despite his controversial actions in recent years, he’s had a successful career in blockbusters and action movies that would make him perfect for a role in a superhero film with a mythical twist.
14. Odin has different stories about losing his eye
Those of you with an eye for detail might have noticed something about Odin. One thing that stands out about him is his right eye, or rather his lack of one. Odin only has one eye and covers the other with an eye patch. However, the reason he lost his eye is… well, kind of complicated – primarily because there are a bunch of different stories behind it, and the stories contradict each other.
There are at least four known stories given to explain his missing eye. One of them says that he has sacrificed his eye to Mimir in exchange for wisdom, and another similar one says that he sacrificed his eye to Mimir for an answer to his quest to save Balder and prevent Ragnorak. However, some are not even remotely similar.
For instance, one says that he lost his eye at some point during the Aesir/Vanir War. And another completely different story says he sacrificed his eye to Yggdrasill to gain wisdom and defeat his brother Cul. Anyone else think he’s making these up to hide an embarrassing story?
13. Odin gets help from animals
It seems that, despite all his wisdom, no one’s ever told Odin you should never work with children or animals. In fairness, though, these aren’t just any ordinary animals. Odin quite rightly seems to only choose the best animals and those with special skills.
The animals Odin uses include two ravens and two wolves. The first raven is called Munin and has powers like enhanced strength, endurance, and agility. He is highly intelligent and capable of speech, as well as being able to travel across dimensional barriers. Odin has used him by having him fly through the Nine Worlds to gather information. His other raven is called Hugin and was supposed to do the same job, however was somehow killed while investigating Surtur’s latest plot against Asgard.
His other animals include Freki and Geri, his two intelligent wolves that serve him. He shows a lot of respect for his wolves and often lets them eat from his plate at the table. It seems that wolves are a god’s best friend.
12. He can communicate in all languages
Odin has all kinds of crazy powers and abilities, from the typical super strength to the more unique Odin Force. However one of our favourites is his ability to speak in pretty much any language. He can speak all languages of the Nine Realms, all Earth dialects, and a whole bunch of different alien languages. It sounds pretty cool, and it means he can understand or communicate with just about anyone effortlessly.
Odin is a next-level polyglot thanks to the Allspeak (or All-Tongue) which gives him the ability that whatever he says is understood by every species in their native language. This ability, reminiscent of what the TARDIS does in Doctor Who, is one of the abilities that all Asgardians possess. This means that that Asgardians never even have to bother learning other languages; they just naturally understand them. It’s certainly a good way to get out of French class.
11. His means of transport
When you’re the ruler of Asgard, you only take the best methods of transport. Forget the bus or subway, and you can even forget Uber. This King has the coolest vehicles, and one of them is Sleipnir, his loyal steed, who is eight-legged and can fly through the air at incredible speeds. Now that is a majestic way to get around. Odin often rides Sleipnir around the Nine Realms and has known him since he was a child, when he sought to tame him.
His other mode of transport is pretty kick-ass too. It’s called Skipbladnir and is a Viking-style long boat with enchanted sails and oars that are capable of navigating and sailing through the seas of space. This means that, thanks to its mystical properties, Odin can ride it through the vacuum of space without the need of any protective outfit. It also has the ability to shrink to the size of a fist.
10. Odin has died multiple times
Pretty much every comic book character has died at some point, and almost all of them have a habit of not staying dead for too long. Name any hero or villain and we could probably find a storyline that involved them seemingly dying and then somehow returning later on. And even Odin, with his god status, is no different.
In fact, it’s become a bit of a habit of his as he has “died” multiple times. One of his most notable deaths is in the comic book issue Thor #40 – By Fire Born. Parts of this comic were later reprinted in Thor #1: The Death of Odin. In Thor #40 – By Fire Born, Odin died when he and Thor were fighting against Surtar.
9. Odin once married Jane
Odin and Thor have had quite a few clashes over the course of their Marvel history, most of them coming from Thor being hot-headed and Odin always trying to impart wisdom and patience to him. But in What If #10, Marvel decided to give the bickering father and son duo a little more to fight about – and that’s when Odin ended up marrying Thor’s long-time love, Jane. Yeah, kind of a dick move. Especially coming from your own father.
To make things all the more complicated, Jane Foster had also become Thordis in that issue, as she had found the hammer of Thor. After some instances of her helping Asgard fight against Loki and an alien invasion, she was promoted to a goddess and the hammer was given to Donald Blake, as it was meant to. And then, on top of that all, she married Odin. It’s exhausting just reading about it all!
8. His first comic appearance was in Journey Into Mystery #85
Odin is now a staple character of Marvel comics, and a semi-regular character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe too. It’s hard to imagine that there were ever Thor comics without Odin being in them. But Odin didn’t actually make his first comic book appearance until 1962 with the issue Journey Into Mystery #85. That’s over ten years after Thor’s first comic book appearance in Venus #11 back in 1950.
In Odin’s first appearance, Asgard was finally shown in the comics for the first time as Thor and Loki went head to head. Odin’s appearance played a key role in the story, and he’s become an important character and a plot-driver ever since. Odin has gone on to appear in a current total of 1096 issues, which just goes to show how successful he’s become. He might not always be the main character, but he’s certainly proved to be an important one.
7. He helped found the Council of God Heads
Being a king, Odin isn’t one to shy away from leadership or power, but even he knows that solidarity and unity are a massive advantage, and he values other powerful people too. He proved just that when he founded the Council of God Heads. The Council of God Heads is also known by other important-sounding titles like the Council Elite and the Council of Skyfathers.
The Council of God Heads is a loose committee of leaders of the Earth’s pantheons of Gods, designed to handle situations that none of the Gods can take on alone. Odin founded it when he found out about the threat of Celestials and they have been active ever since.
Its team leaders include Odin, Zeus, and Vishnu. And yes, that is technically an ancient Greek god, an ancient Nordic god, and a Hindu god all together in one committee. Other members have included the likes of Hercules, Thor, and Athena. So yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.
6. He’s weighed up to 700 lbs
Odin is without a doubt a big guy. He stands at a incredibly tall 6’9″; a height worthy of a god. He must get a lot of “how’s the weather up there?” jokes. But his height isn’t the only thing of mammoth proportions. Let’s not forget that with his super strength he has some pretty big muscles too. But what’s the most insane is his weight – he weighs a whopping 700 lbs. Now that is heavy! We certainly wouldn’t want to give him a piggy back. What’s surprising is that he doesn’t look that massive, though there might just be a reason behind that.
Odin’s weight can be partly explained by one of his bizarre super powers. Odin has superhumanly dense tissue, which comes with a whole range of advantages, like helping with his strength and durability. However since his skin, muscle and bones are all three times denser than humans, it means that he is packing a few extra pounds on him. Well, he’s certainly looking good for it!
5. He is immune to all Earth diseases
Being the almighty ruler of Asgard and father of Thor isn’t exactly the easiest job, so it’s that Odin would eventually get run down and need to take a sick day every once in a while. However, he’d need to be a really great faker to skip a day of work, because, as it turns out, Odin is immune to just about everything that can bring down a human. Sure, being a god is cool and all, but so is never being stuck in bed with the flu or sneezing all over everything because of hay fever.
Odin is literally immune to all known Earth diseases and infections. That means he’s never once been inconvenienced with tonsillitis or the flu – or even a common cold. Not to mention he’s never had to get vaccination of any kind – he’s never known the pain of getting shots! Now if that doesn’t sound like a perfect life, we don’t know what does. And on top of all of that he is a king and a superhero. Some guys get all the luck.
4. He tried to break up Thor and Jane
Some parents can be a bit suffocating when it comes to love, and Odir is definitely a little pushy, to say the least. It seems that for Odin, not just anyone is good enough for his son. To be fair, his son is a superhero, a prince, and a god – he’s quite the catch.
While most people would consider Jane Foster to be a good match for Thor, Odin certainly didn’t. And he wasn’t afraid to butt his nose in, and actually went to great lengths to try and break up their relationship. These great lengths included getting Loki to persuade the Enchantress to go to earth to seduce Thor. This plan didn’t end up working, though, which made Odin resort to travelling to Earth himself to interfere. He ended up learning not to mess with love, though, as karma got him pretty bad when Loki stole his throne while he was gone.
3. He created humans
So this one’s a bit controversial when taken into the grand scheme of world religions, but it’s important to remember that Odin isn’t only a Marvel superhero – he’s also an actual god from ancient Norse mythology. As such, it make sense when you consider the myth of Odin and the fact that he is in fact the creator of all human life. That at least helps explain why Thor is so obsessed with saving humanity – he’s just continuing what his dad started.
In the Marvel version of the myth, the story goes like this: Odin went to Aesheim to create the humans. This displeased his father Bor and so Bor afflicted the humans with suffering. Well, thanks a lot, Bor! Anyway, although we’re not too happy with Bor it seems like we owe quite a lot to Odin. Maybe it’s about time we gave him his own movie to say thank you.
2. Odin once exiled himself
Odin isn’t exactly the most chill guy on the plant, and he’s certainly not known for his lightness or sense of humor. In fact, he’s actually kind of anal about punishment and doing the right thing, which is why it makes perfect sense that he’s no stranger to coming up with severe punishments – even when it’s him who’s being punished.
One punishment Odin is definitely not afraid of inflicting is exile. Exile is a pretty severe punishment – it isolates you completely. The only thing worse than getting exiled would be feeling bad enough that you exile yourself. And that’s exactly what Odin did.
When Thor died in a battle, it left Odin feeling incredibly guilty for not saving his family, and as a result he exiled himself to Asgard space. Surprisingly, it ended up being Loki who freed him from his self-exile. Geez, man, go easy on yourself.
1. Odin wears the Draupnir
We’ve covered many things about Odin so far; his many known powers, his work in battles and personal endeavours, and even what animals he gets to help him. However much we know about him, though, there are still some things that remain a mystery. Naturally, these are perhaps the things that make him most interesting.
One such mystery is the Draupnir, otherwise known as the Odinring. Odin wears this ring as a symbol of his supremacy. It’s a fairly humble looking golden band and has also been owned by Frigga in the past.
Any other details about the ring remain a complete mystery. The specific properties of the ring still remain unknown, meaning we don’t know if it possesses any powers or special abilities. Although, it’s hardly like Odin would need any more powers. Still, the mystery surrounding the ring definitely makes it intriguing. There’s got to be more to jewelry that’s fit for a god, right?
Do you know any great Odin facts? Let us know in the comments.