Last year's Thor: Ragnarok culminated in the destruction of Asgard - but what if the real Ragnarok requires Thor's death, and will arrive in Avengers 4? Ragnarok's title alludes to the important, cyclical apocalyptic event in Norse mythology (and a crucial storyline in the Thor comic books of the mid-00s). As in the myths, Asgard was ultimately destroyed by Surtur - albeit with the twist that the demon was actually unleashed by Thor as the only way of stopping his wayward sister Hela, the Goddess of Death.
Yet, as one savvy Redditor has pointed out, the ending of Thor: Ragnarok has the God of Thunder stating that Asgard is a people, not a place. With Ragnarok being a prophesied event - both in actual Norse mythology and within the Marvel Cinematic Universe initially - the question of whether the prophecy has fully come to pass remains open. In the original mythology, all the Norse gods die, including Thor, only to later be reborn (symbolizing the end that winter brings and the new life which dawns in the spring).
Although many Asgardians fall to Thanos and the Black Order in the opening salvo of Avengers: Infinity War, Thor is left alive (as are at least half of the other Asgardians, as partially confirmed by Tessa Thompson's character Valkyrie surviving the events of the movie). Could it be that, with Thor still breathing, Ragnarok hasn't fully come to pass? Thanos' casual murder of the Asgardians aboard their refugee vessel could have even been a continuation of the prophecy, with Thanos as an unwitting accomplice. As he says during that scene, "Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same." So, can we expect Thor's eventual death and the culmination of the Ragnarok prophecy in Avengers 4?
- This Page: Avengers 4 Could See the Conclusion of Ragnarok
- Page 2: Why Thor Could Die in Avengers 4, and Why He Should Live
Ragnarok Happened in the MCU... Sort Of
Ragnarok as an apocalyptic event for the Asgardians was initially hinted at in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when a badly-behaving Scarlet Witch subjected the team to horrifying visions preying on their fears in order to tear them apart. Thor was given a vision of himself destroying Asgard, or rather, its people - exploding them left and right with bolts of lightning. This included his friend, Heimdall. Loki was also originally meant to appear in this scene, but test screenings found his appearance confused audiences.
Whilst this vision may have been a blueprint as well as a teaser for the then-upcoming third Thor movie, it wasn't exactly the Ragnarok that was ultimately delivered. Thor was responsible for destroying Asgard, but not its people, just like vision in Age of Ultron. Elisabeth Olsen, who plays Scarlet Witch, has also gone on record stating that she doesn't believe the visions that the Avengers were subjected to necessarily culminated in what was seen in Infinity War. That said, Thor's actions in Ragnarok could be viewed as leading to the Asgardians' eventual demise at the hands of Thanos, as it made them vulnerable, all grouped together on one small ship, distinctly lacking in protection.
When considered as such, Thor destroying his fellow Asgardians himself in the Scarlet Witch's vision might be seen as a metaphor, but it's a tenuous link. After all, Thanos was probably heading to Asgard itself regardless of whether Surtur destroyed it or not, as he knew the Tesseract was stored there. His domination of them would've been the same regardless of where they were.
Yet if Asgard is truly defined by its people rather than a physical place, then Ragnarok has not fully come to pass. There are still Asgardians out there (Ragnarok no-show Sif being one of them, Thor and Valkyrie being the two obvious characters left alive), and for Ragnarok to be completed the scripture dictates that all the gods must die.
Avengers 4 Returns to Asgard In Some Form
Certain scenes have potentially been filmed for Avengers 4 in Durham Cathedral in the UK, a decidedly 'classical' location that could easily serve as an Asgardian setting. Chris Hemsworth's appearance during these scenes also indicates that we'll see a return to Asgard in some way, shape or form in Avengers 4. It could be with a flashback or time travel motif, as many cast tidbits and fan theories seem to suggest.
It could equally be a 'present day' setting, as it wouldn't be hard to dress up Durham Cathedral as a ruin. Avengers 4 could see Thor visiting the discarded remnants of the Realm Eternal, still floating aimlessly in space. The fact that a stand-in for Rocket is present during these scenes implies that another mission is underway for the God of Thunder and his 'rabbit' friend; either that, or it was a scene excised from Infinity War, what with the same characters having adventured together to Nidavellir to forge a Thanos-killing weapon. Time will tell what the reason for the Durham shoot was.
Will Avengers 4 Continue Ragnarok?
If Avengers 4 does indeed continue the Ragnarok plotline, resulting in Thor and the remaining Asgardians dying in battle against Thanos - or perhaps an additional enemy - the prophecy will be complete. As previously mentioned, if Asgard is its people and not a place, then those people need to all be removed from existence to fulfill the prophecy. It also doesn't necessarily mean the end for Thor, as Ragnarok is a cyclical event and always results in the return of the gods from the death they are consigned to (endlessly, for eternity).
It might be that Ragnarok was one-and-done with the events of Thor: Ragnarok. Asgard was destroyed by Surtur, and that was that. The glimpses of Thor seen in photos from the set of Avengers 4 show Hemsworth with long hair, implying there'll be a fair amount of flashbacks, or time travel - which could result in the preservation of Asgard in the future, undoing Ragnarok. This also strangely fits with the motif of the Norse apocalypse, as it is as much about rebirth as it is about death.
At this point it's unclear whether Avengers 4 will continue the Ragnarok subplot, but there are enough theories about Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel continuing Thor's new trilogy to imply that it is not yet fully over.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019