It’s safe to say that there has never been quite as much excitement for a Thor film than there is for the upcoming threequel, Thor: Ragnarok. While the thunder god’s previous outings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were well-received fantasy films, Ragnarok looks to be a balls-to-the-wall, heavy-metal-themed, cosmic road trip. This new direction, topped with director Taika Waititi’s emphasis on humor, is a great combination and only further makes Ragnarok one of our most anticipated films of the year.
Marvel’s big marketing push is right around the corner, so in preparation for the hype, let’s take a look at what we know so far. For this list; we’ll be addressing major rumors in detail, from what we already know for sure, to what we hope to never see. As with most big franchises, rumors and speculation around this film have run rampant — some great, and some not so great. This includes whispers of new characters and places, story beats, cameos, loose ends from other Marvel films, and plenty more. One thing we know for sure though? This movie looks crazy.
From a gladiator planet, to a giant wolf, to the debut of the overly-eccentric Jeff Goldblum, there is a whole lot to look forward to this coming November. Here are 15 Rumors Confirmed To Be True (And 5 We Hope Aren’t) About Thor: Ragnarok.
16. Confirmed: Planet Hulk
The return of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is highly anticipated. It isn’t just some extended cameo, either. Marvel Studios has brought the Green Goliath to the cosmos with intent. This might be old news for comic fans, but Ragnarok is a hybrid of several storylines, including one tremendously popular comic arc in particular. Ragnarok producer Brad Winderbaum confirmed that the movie will portray its titular Thor storyline, but also loosely adapt Planet Hulk.
Planet Hulk sees Bruce Banner’s alter-ego trapped on a cosmic world, and made to fight as a gladiator. Naturally, Hulk becomes a star combatant, and eventually sparks a rebellion against his captors. Think Spartacus, but bigger, angrier, and in space. The trailers have already teased the story’s adaptation with the Hulk in gladiatorial armor, and glimpses of his punch-out with the Odinson himself. Fans have been calling for a Planet Hulk film for some time, and while the Jade Giant won’t be getting another standalone film any time soon (thanks to certain rights issues with Universal Studios), we don’t think anybody is going to complain about this.
15. Confirmed: Dark World Ties
Thor: The Dark World is often recognized as one of the MCU’s weakest entries. It’s not a terrible movie by any means — just a mediocre, passable sequel that didn’t thrill audiences. Just because it was underwhelming, however, doesn’t mean that Marvel has tossed it aside (like a certain Hulk film that has gone largely disregarded). Ragnarok will apparently have close ties with The Dark World, according to producer Brad Winderbaum.
During Screen Rant’s visit to the Ragnarok set, Winderbaum confirmed that the film’s events are a direct consequence of The Dark World’s ending. Loki’s tenure as king of Asgard (disguised as Odin) has set off a chain of events that leads to the imminent danger that is Hela and her arrival. His comments were vague so as not to spoil the film’s plot, but it’s safe to say that Thor’s so-so sequel hasn’t been forgotten.
14. Unconfirmed: Thor’s Future
The first two Thor films aren’t exactly the MCU’s best entries, but the trilogy is coming to an end. Ragnarok could be the last time we see the God of Thunder on a solo adventure, or it may even result in a new take on the character altogether. Waititi even directed with that philosophy in mind, and although his comments aren’t specific about Thor’s future, we can definitely expect to see something fresh and unique from his third standalone film.
Waititi’s comments are indeed vague, though. The Thor franchise could go the route of the Iron Man trilogy and relegate its lead to team-ups only, or it could kick off an entirely new set of films. While it’s safe to assume that Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston will appear as the Asgardian brothers in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War, fans of the soon-to-be Thor trilogy might have cause for worry, as we may not see much more of Thor and Loki in the MCU.
13. Confirmed: Thor’s Big Breakup
It’s no secret that Natalie Portman will not be returning as Jane Foster. The first two Thor films focused heavily on their relationship — often a comic book staple as well — but that relationship is no more. According to Chris Hemsworth, not only will Jane be MIA for Ragnarok, but the film will also explain their falling out. The removal of Jane Foster doesn’t leave the film completely void of romance, however, as Thor will apparently develop a fondness for Tessa Thompson’s character, Valkyrie.
The writing on the wall for Portman’s exit from the franchise has been apparent for quite some time. Rumors of her dissatisfaction with the franchise date back as early as the making of The Dark World, when director Patty Jenkins was removed from the project during development. Details on the breakup, as well as its emotional toll on Thor (if any) have yet to be revealed, though it’s nice to see that this romantic subplot won’t simply be tossed aside due to Portman’s absence.
12. Confirmed: Ragnarok In The MCU Timeline
Thor has been gone for quite some time in the MCU. The last time audiences saw the Odinson was with his 2015 appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. At end of that film, he departs Earth for Asgard in search of Infinity Stone-y answers, and has been away ever since. A lot has happened on Earth since then, of course. Lately, various rumors have been circulating regarding Ragnarok‘s official setting; whether it takes place soon after Ultron’s defeat, or much closer to the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.
Ragnarok’s place in the MCU is purposely vague — another detail confirmed by producer Brad Winderbaum. He told Screen Rant that the events of Phase Three are not as tightly packed as the previous phases of Marvel films, and that Ragnarok simply occurs sometime during his absence on Earth. Maybe it’s during Captain America: Civil War, maybe it’s during Spider-Man: Homecoming, maybe both, or even none of the above. All the detail-oriented fans who were hoping Ragnarok had a concrete spot on the scroll that is the Marvel timeline might just be out of luck this time, however.
11. Unconfirmed: Doctor Strange’s Screen Time
If you stayed until the very end of Doctor Strange, you’re probably aware of his next appearance. The end credits scene, which had Thor pay the Doctor a visit, suggests that Doctor Strange will have an extended cameo in Ragnarok to help the Odinson find his earthbound father and brother. Seeing the two Asgardians (especially the latter) as threats to Earth, Doctor Strange agrees to help Thor find them so that he can safely remove them from the planet.
Despite this added scene, set photos, and confirmation of his inclusion, his presence is noticeably absent from Ragnarok’s western marketing. This is likely just a way of keeping the fun cameo under wraps, but Earth itself has also been omitted from marketing material, raising questions about how much of Doctor Strange is actually in the film, let alone the sequences on Earth. Nobody wants his cameo to drag out and become distracting, but one so short isn’t satisfying either — especially since it would be so easy to work cameos of other Avengers into the film’s time on Earth. Hopefully, the good doctor will be utilized just right, as we can’t wait to see him again in the MCU.
10. Confirmed: Lady Sif And The Warriors Three
As Thor’s closest allies, it felt safe to assume that Lady Sif and the Warriors Three would be appearing alongside their best bud in his coming adventure. However, they’ve made no major appearances in the trailers and marketing thus far. Since Ragnarok involves the death of many prominent figures in Norse mythology, rumors have begun to circulate about Sif and the Warriors’ probable demise, or their absence from the film entirely.
If you’re a fan of these characters, then don’t panic just yet. Producer Brad Winderbaum also confirmed their appearances in the film, though he was tight-lipped on all the details. Thor’s BFFs will show up, but to what extent is unknown. While their deaths cannot be ruled out, fans should take comfort in knowing that they haven’t seen the last of Lady Sif and the Warriors Three — or perhaps they will this November?
9. Confirmed: The Shortest MCU Film Ever
Since most of the MCU films run slightly over two hours, it was rumored that Thor: Ragnarok would be of a similar length. Director Taika Waititi seems to have confirmed a much shorter run-time without giving an official hour and minute count. Over the summer, Waititi revealed it would be roughly 100 minutes. He has since thrown out an even shorter runtime at 90 minutes total, via a wonderfully sarcastic tweet.
While the official run-time hasn’t been confirmed, the director has made it clear that the film will be much shorter than most other MCU entries. For comparison, the longest film in the franchise is Civil War at 146 minutes. The shortest is The Incredible Hulk at 112 minutes, though Ragnarok may soon take its place. Here’s to hoping it’ll be 90 minutes well-spent!
8. Unconfirmed: Another Lame Duck Villain
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had an unfortunate track record of underwhelming, forgettable antagonists. Marvel has a huge collection of A-list villains, but when they’re adapted onto film, they’re often the aspect least focused on. Thor’s last antagonist, Malekith, was one of the MCU’s most forgettable villains of all, and many fans fear that his third villain might suffer the same way.
With that said, Thor: Ragnarok’s Hela is a powerful and intimidating Marvel character, and she is being portrayed by the ultra-talented, Oscar-winning A-lister Cate Blanchett. Not only would an underwhelming use of Hela waste the character’s first on-screen appearance, but it would be a waste of Blanchett’s immense talent. Judging by the trailers alone, Blanchett seems charismatic, and will hopefully have an intense presence as the goddess of death. Her acting skills, combined with her excitement and passion for the role, will hopefully make Hela stand out amongst the MCU’s evildoers.
7. Confirmed: Asgardian Improv
Marvel films have become known for their sense of humor, even amidst galactic wars and world-endangering crises. Ragnarok already appears to follow suit with some pretty great jokes and one-liners, but don’t be surprised if the comedy is turned up to eleven in this one. The film is apparently heavily improvised.
As per Taika Waititi’s typical filmmaking style, the director relishes in collaboration and improvisation. Like his hit film What We Do In The Shadows, Waititi focused on humor that felt natural and fun, while still adhering to the basic beats of the script. His touch of improv seems to work well with the cast — especially considering the complemental chemistry between its leads. Not everyone enjoys the comedic aspects of the MCU films, but fans of its witty and light sensibilities look to be in for a treat.
6. Confirmed: Origins Of The Grandmaster
When Jeff Goldblum was revealed as the Grandmaster, he was met with skepticism. Goldblum’s inherent eccentricities, along with his crazy-colorful costume and makeup, made it seems as though Marvel’s casting and visual design might be teetering on camp, rather than their usual modern-yet-comic-accurate aesthetic. Since then, details about the character have surfaced, revealing a an origin that’s mostly faithful to the source material.
As an Elder of the Universe, the Grandmaster is part of an ancient race of obsessed cosmic entities. Sound familiar? Guardians of the Galaxy introduced Benicio Del Toro as the Collector, an eccentric weirdo and Elder of the Universe obsessed with collecting… well, everything — including sentient lifeforms. The Grandmaster is obsessed with games: playing them, hosting them — you get the idea.
As the ruler of Sakaar, he hosts the giant gladiator tournament that we get glimpses of in the film’s trailers. This also gives him tenuous familial connection with the Collector; one that’s almost brotherly. How much they address this connection and backstory in the film remains to be seen. Honestly though, doesn’t Jeff Goldblum’s casting sound perfect now?
5. Unconfirmed: The End Of Asgard
Since Ragnarok is essentially an apocalyptic story and sees the death of many powerful mythological figures, it has given rise to rumors that suggest this film will (likely) be the last we see of Asguard and its characters. While it is safe to assume Hemsworth and Hiddleston will appear in Infinity War, Asguard may indeed bite the dust.
The Thor films might not consist of the most beloved cast of characters, but fans will undoubtedly be sad to see such a massive corner of the MCU go to waste. Asgard is a huge part of Marvel Comics, and despite the two (soon three) films that take place there, it has barely been explored as a facet of the cinematic universe. Odin, Heimdall, Sif and the Warriors Three — they’re all up for grabs if Hela isn’t messing around. Of course, it is still the apocalypse caused by the goddess of death, so…maybe expect some death.
4. Confirmed: The Intelligible Hulk
As soon as Planet Hulk was in the film’s discourse, rumors about Hulk’s ability to speak spread like wildfire. Like in that comic, the mean green machine is able to speak with extensive verbal and grammatical knowledge. While he isn’t that articulate in Ragnarok‘s trailers, the Hulk on screen has never spoken nearly as much before.
Back at SDCC, Mark Ruffalo revealed that Hulk can finally form sentences, due to being Hulked-out for so long. Banner’s alter-ego has started to retain some of his intellect, making him substantially smarter (and likely funnier, if his “puny god” moment is any indication). Taika Waititi was always fascinated with a verbal Hulk, which leads us to believe we’ll get to see quite a bit of his new talent in Ragnarok.
3. Confirmed: Motion-Capture Korg
A deep cut for comic book fans: rumors were not only confirmed about Korg’s appearance in Ragnarok, but that the being would be played by Taika Waititi himself with motion-capture technology. The director jokingly praised his own acting and directing skills in a report earlier this month, again highlighting his partiality to improvisation.
Korg is a Kronan, a giant rock creature in the Marvel universe similar to the one that cameos in Thor: The Dark World — hence the need for motion-capture. Korg appears in the Planet Hulk storyline as one of Hulk’s closest gladiator allies, so it’s likely he’ll play a similar role in Ragnarok. Knowing Waititi and his stylistic sense of humor, this character’s brief appearance might make for quite the fan-favorite character.
2. Unconfirmed: Heimdall And The Soul Stone
Of all the deaths that Ragnarok could bring the MCU, Idris Elba’s Heimdall may be the most probable candidate. It’s already clear that the very nature of the story could kill off major characters, but Heimdall may have something that Hela wants — something she’ll kill to acquire.
Avengers: Infinity War will likely see the formation of the infinity gauntlet and its six infinity gems (or stones, as they’re known in the MCU). Marvel fans are well aware of these powerful artifacts by now, as they’ve been littered throughout different entries in the franchise: Vision has the mind gem, Asgard houses the space gem, the Collector has the reality gem, Doctor Strange has the time gem, and the Nova Core has the power gem (thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy). The remaining infinity gem is the soul gem, and it may or may not belong to Heimdall.
Heimdall’s ability to “see souls” throughout time and space has been vaguely explained in the past, but with only one stone left to debut, his possession of the soul gem would explain a lot. Of course, if this theory is true, he likely won’t give up something so powerful without a fight. If Heimdall does have the soul gem, expect him to protect it, but probably die in a blaze of glory. Hela might already be powerful, but why not use the soul gem to cause all that Asgardian death and save herself the energy? Or maybe Heimdall is just really good at seeing through time and space. Everybody needs a hobby, right?
1. …Matt Damon?
Now this one is bizarre. Cameos are business-as-usual in the MCU, but… Matt Damon? Apparently so, according the Weekly Planet podcast. They report that Matt Damon, who currently has no role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe whatsoever, will appear as an Asgardian actor in Ragnarok.
Audiences may get a look at Asgardian theater, where the events of the first Thor film are being portrayed on stage for the sake entertainment. One of the thespians will apparently be Matt Damon, no doubt hamming it up in a cameo that
is was even more secretive than usual. His role? Loki himself!
It might sound weird, but it would be pretty fun to see Matt Damon do an over-the-top impression of Tom Hiddleston. Maybe he’ll even get his own silly antlers! Regardless of whether or not it’s true, it’s probably the craziest rumor we’ve heard about this film so far.
What are you looking forward to in Thor’s next feature film? ? The big fight between Thor and Hulk? The return of Loki’s silly antlers? Leave a comment and tell us what you’re most excited about!
Thor: Ragnarok is in theaters on November 3, 2017.
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