WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War
When Thor: Ragnarok killed off characters left and right, the god of thunder became a new kind of hero. So with Avengers: Infinity War, the trend has continued by taking out the supporting characters who managed to survive. Fans can debate how much Marvel lost or gained by killing off Loki and Heimdall in the opening scene - leaving the fate of Valkyrie and Korg in question - but for a warrior like Thor, death is a frequent visitor.
The movie doesn't offer many chances to truly stop, and take measure of how much the heroes have lost. But Thor gets the opportunity with some help from Rocket Raccoon, who tries to help the Asgardian realize how much he still has going for him. Unfortunately, his mother, father, and brother have all been killed, with even his best friend stabbed straight through the heart.
But wait... who is Thor actually referring to as his "best friend"?
The assumption is that Thor is referring to Heimdall, since the audience witnessed the Bifrost guardian's murder in the opening scene. Having escaped Ragnarok as one of the few heroic citizens of Asgard who survived Hela, it seemed that Idris Elba's place in the MCU could only grow. But those dreams were cut short when Thanos slammed a spear directly through his chest. He still managed to help Hulk escape to Earth so he could prevent... well, nothing in the end. But as Thor explains to Rocket, Heimdall is just one more casualty to the evil forces and supervillains he's encountered in his story.
At least... we think he means Heimdall. Because as that line of dialogue reveals, either intentionally or not, is that the list of friends who haven't been killed is short. The ones who have departed the realm of the living from a wound other than being stabbed in the heart is even shorter. Non-existent, really.
First off, there's Agent Phil Coulson, among the first humans met by Thor beyond his film's main cast, stabbed through the heart by Loki. Even though Thor and "Son of Coul" only have a handful of scenes together, the same could be said of just about every other MCU character by the time The Avengers rolled around (plus... he's Phil Coulson).
After his brother was stabbed though the heart and faked his death in Thor: The Dark World - after their mother, Frigga, was similarly run through with a sword by Kurse - things only got worse in Thor: Ragnarok. There was a time when audiences would have assumed that Thor's "best friend" would obviously be one of 'The Warriors Three,' his closest friends and brothers in arms.
Choosing a favorite would be difficult, so it's a good thing that all three are impaled through the chest by Hela upon her arrival to Asgard (Volstagg and Fandral immediately, Hogun after Hela has slain Asgard's army).
We would venture to guess that Marvel prefers the method of death since it leaves little doubt about that character's survival. However, Infinity War sees Tony take a similarly shocking injury and survive it without incident. Maybe the Asgardians aren't as strong as they're cracked up to be.
All we know is that being Thor's best friend may sound like a dream come true, but odds are he'll leave you with a... well, you get it.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018