WARNING: This article contains potential SPOILERS for Thor: Ragnarok
Marvel may be set to finally do justice to the god of thunder in Thor: Ragnarok, but make no mistake: while the film will be a victory for Thor, it will also leave the Marvel Universe vulnerable to Thanos and the Infinity War close behind. Fans have known for some time that Ragnarok would set the stage for the next Avengers adventure, with star Chris Hemsworth going so far as saying you'll need to see Thor 3 to understand Infinity War. But what fans may not have considered is that beneath the carnage, the adventure, the destruction, and the cosmic rock and roll of Ragnarok is disarray, waylaid warriors, replaced royalty, and potentially massive death tolls.
By now Marvel has shown that their heroes will almost always come out on top, and better for having overcome their obstacles. But the same can rarely be said for the larger world of the MCU. The Winter Soldier reduced S.H.I.E.L.D. to rubble, Age of Ultron planted the seeds of doubt that made Civil War possible, dividing Earth's heroes and leaving their planet more vulnerable to an alien attack than ever before. And the ball is already rolling for Avengers 3.
Before Thanos makes his move, there's a realm called Asgard - a planet of powerful, godlike beings devoted to protecting Earth - to be dealt with first. And with Thor on track to become King of Asgard, the Asgardian army could arguably render the Avengers overkill for even the most fearsome alien menaces. Which is why Ragnarok seems to be removing another massive piece from the board... by destroying Asgard. At least, the version MCU fans have come to know so far.
Ragnarok is The 'Winter Soldier' of The Cosmic MCU
Marvel movie fans who've been keeping up with our coverage and interviews from the set of Thor: Ragnarok know that some BIG changes are on the way. And no, we're not referring to Chris Hemsworth's haircut. Director Taika Waititi has promised a journey and ending for Thor that Marvel can "never go back" from, while the rest of what we know about the film casts doubt on the idea that Thor will emerge purely victorious. As we've explained elsewhere, the evidence seems strong that a beloved Thor character will die in Ragnarok, demanding Thor bring order to the cosmos as the true leader of Asgard.
But just like Captain America: The Winter Soldier made Steve Rogers an even more accomplished hero, and left Earth more vulnerable, Ragnarok producer Brad Winderbaum says Thor's own step forward comes with a price. In this case, saying goodbye to the protection Asgard brought to Marvel's cosmic arena:
In Winter Soldier we broke down some of the real fundamental ideas about the MCU that you took for granted, specifically S.H.I.E.L.D.. I think that also in phase one, we established this cosmology that involved Asgard and Odin, and certain ideas of things that you just thought were eternal and could never change. And what this film does is it breaks them down in a very similar way [to how] Winter Soldier broke down S.H.I.E.L.D..
Much like Winter Soldier took a lot of ideas off the playing field to make it harder on the Avengers in Ultron, [Ragnarok is] a similar thing. The whole cosmic world of the MCU was… you had Thanos, and you had Chitauri, and you have threats from above coming. But you also have Asgard, you also have these protective forces out there too... we make it much harder for those protections to come help our heroes as we enter [Avengers 3].
Had the Marvel cosmic universe seen its guardians removed after Age of Ultron, Thanos would have a cake walk. Fortunately, Ragnarok's new Thor is smarter than ever before. As Marvel has now officially confirmed, Thor spent Civil War hunting Thanos and the Infinity Stones, gaining the wisdom of cosmic order, chaos, villains, and protectors that you would expect from the future King of Asgard.
It's possible that Thanos the Mad Titan has engineered the entirety of the fate which befalls Thor, Loki, Odin, and the people of Asgard. If that's true, then it's possible he's been clearing the board for his attack upon Earth and the cosmos at large for years. In which case... Thor's solo series relaunch may be short-lived.
Thor: Ragnarok advance tickets are now on sale wherever tickets are sold.
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