Whether the “most different” Marvel movie, or just a run of the mill cosmic superhero “buddy pic” about the end of the world as we know it, Thor: Ragnarok certainly has a lot going on. Chris Hemsworth’s Asgardian prince may have lost his main squeeze, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), but he’s gained a comrade in arms with the Hulk, some new Asgardian friends in Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Lady Sif, and a whole gaggle of new enemies – including Hela (Cate Blanchett), Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), and Skurge (Karl Urban).
Marvel’s presence at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 already revealed a strong connection to the “Planet Hulk” story arc, in the form of Gladiator Hulk armor displayed on the show floor. The MCU panel in Hall H rolled out a few jabs at the two heroes’ absence in Civil War, and some short (but intriguing) look at what’s coming when Ragnarok begins.
Starting things off, the studio clearly heard the complaints or questions about why the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe could be split down the middle without either Thor or Bruce Banner even weighing in on the matter. A short comedy sketch filmed just for those in attendance promised to “reveal” what the characters were up to while Civil War raged, but instead returned to the fish-out-of-water approach to the first Thor film. While Thor talked his roommate into sending “electronic mail” to both Cap and Tony Stark in hopes of being recruited, he revealed that he’d been spending his time off investigating their new enemy, Thanos (who “is purple” and “likes sitting”).
Once the comedy bits subsided, it was mainly concept artwork and pre-vis footage of the Hulk in his familiar armor. The actual filmed footage was a flurry of attacks and lightning-summoning from Thor himself, capped off with two shots that will get fans talking. First, a sequence in which Thor and Hulk (in armor) find themselves inside a massive gladiator arena, standing opposed, and rushing to slam into the other and begin combat. The two were already shown at odds in The Avengers, but there’s clearly more at stake in this showdown.
The assortment of shots also included a look at Hela (Cate Blanchett) in a predictably horned and intimidating headdress, but the final shot is the one that fans will keep in their minds over the coming weeks and months, featuring the presumed ‘big bad’ villain of the film: Surtur, the massive fire giant who, in the comics, actually brought about Ragnarok (the destruction of Asgard).
But things have changed for the film: this time around, it won’t just be Thor that Surtur emerges from his home realm of the fire-licked Muspelheim to do battle with – it’s the Hulk seen leaping towards him, hammer in hand.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.