In the latest trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel’s made a big change to one of the marketing campaign’s most iconic moments: Hela destroying Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer. Is the result of the film’s reshoots?
A new TV spot released on Twitter for Taika Waitti’s Thor threequel caught most people’s attention for showing the God of Thunder sat on the Throne of Asgard (albeit not unchallenged). However, it also contained a change to what we’d seen before, with Hela’s shattering of Mjolnir moved from a New York back alley to a rolling, green landscape. You can watch the clip below.
The pivotal moment has been widely assumed to occur near the start of the film, just after Doctor Strange’s extended cameo. The location syncs with the expected role of the Sorcerer Supreme and both Hela and Thor look different to how they do for most of the film; he is still sporting his long-cut hairdo rather the trim he gets when banished to Sakaar, while she’s bedraggled and nothing like the fully-formed Goddess of Death we’re coming to fear.
Now, it’s possible that the Manhattan backdrop was only ever a placeholder and done in an attempt to mislead eagle-eyed trailer hounds – the setting came loaded with expectations due to the Stephen Strange connection, so fans would immediately theorize a backstory and take that as fact. That said, the scene has boasted incredibly intricate CGI from its appearance in the first teaser, whereas these green pastures betray much more wonky CGI. Really wonky CGI. This would also seem to nullify alternate solutions like it being a vision of destruction or part of some bigger sequence. It feels like something more is afoot here – changes have occurred.
Conversely, it could be a reverse marketing flip attempting to move attention away from the events in New York. Just last week we made the very convincing theory that Hela would regain her powers from the final Infinity Stone, which had been lying in plain sight all along. This hinged on footage we’d seen of the alley sequence, so shifting it about could be an attempt by the studio to deter fans. But digging deeper reveals something more: reshoots.
The live-action portions of the sequence appear to be the same, meaning for these shots it’s just a case of new background plates being used. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this location. Back in August, Chris Hemsworth’s personal trainer Luke Zocchi shared an image on Instagram of him on the Thor: Ragnarok set. In the background, you can see Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in costume and, quite clearly, this is Thor pre-haircut. This means that, whatever’s being glimpsed in the trailer, it was coupled with elements from the set.
This is a “Throwback Thursday” post, so in theory could be from any time during production. However, Zocchi specified the set was in Atlanta. While that’s normal for most MCU productions, Ragnarok’s principal photography took place in Australia; only its reshoots were in Georgia. This scene is the product of that period. We already knew that some early sequences were redone in pick-ups thanks to Hemsworth’s stunt double, Bobby Holland Hanton, sharing a picture of him and the actor in long-haired form, but this evidences an actual shift.
Thor 3‘s reshoots ran for three weeks and finished just before SDCC 2017. This collection of information suggests that these involved a major location switch for the inciting incident; the live-action shots of the hammer’s destruction remain the same, but those around them changed. Of course, what this means for the movie as a whole is unclear (and it’s worth stating the required disclaimer that reshoots needn’t be the sign of systemic problems). The New York version may have simply not worked in the assembly cut due to tonal or narrative reasons and so some alterations were needed to make the scene work at its best. But it could be indicative of a bigger shift to Hela’s rise to power, Thor’s banishment, or something further.
That, or Taika Waitti wanted a Hunt for the Wilderpeople crossover. We’ll have to wait until November and Thor: Ragnarok’s theatrical release to find out.
UPDATE: Entertainment Tonight have revealed more footage from the sequence, showing some wide shots of the trio and a new angle of Hela grabbing the hammer:
The angle change further suggests a new version of the scene has been shot. Curiously, however, the end of their clip includes the original alley-set destruction from the teaser. This may be an indication the sequence involves jumping between realms, but more believable is that it’s simply randomly reused footage.
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