Very mild spoilers for the start of Thor: Ragnarok.
The rumors are true – Matt Damon does indeed have a cameo in Thor: Ragnarok. And he’s right there alongside Sam Neill. Here are all the details.
Ragnarok is full of cameos. Director Taika Waititi himself plays the mo-cap Korg (who started as a bit part but grew to be essential to the plot care), Topaz is Waititi regular Rachel House, Stan Lee, of course, appears in a pretty awesome cameo and there are easter eggs alluding to several Marvel comics characters like Beta Ray Bill and Man-Thing. But none of them come close to the ever-game Damon.
When Thor first returns to Asgard at the start of the film, it’s to a world ran by Loki, who disguised himself as Odin at the end of Thor: The Dark World. And it’s as egocentric as expected: Loki has a giant, aggrandizing monument before the palace and spends his days watching a play of his supposed “death”. Titled in proper Shakespearean fashion, it reframes the events of the previous two Thor films as a tragedy; we see the end of Loki’s death fake-out from The Dark World, where the God of Mischief is presented as heroic and repentant – and looking very familiar.
Matt Damon is An Actor Playing Loki
The Loki in the play is Matt Damon, here an Asgardian actor. He acts out a somewhat gallant death, stands in shock as “Odin” is revealed as his real character in disguise, then isn’t seen again for the rest of the film.
The role is really a meta highlighting of how Loki views himself (or wants to be viewed); he’s not just changing the narrative, but casting himself as one of the most popular, handsome actors working today. Of course, it being Damon has some particular importance. He’s a star who fans have dependably theorized to play major roles in the series from its inception, so having him play Loki in-world neatly sends that up. It’s also a throwback to Dogma, Kevin Smith’s Catholic-baiting comedy, in which Damon also played a version of Loki; prior to the MCU the trickster’s most famous big screen version.
Of course, the real explanation is that Damon’s a real-life friend of Chris Hemsworth, making this whole thing a big in-joke between friends.
Sam Neill Plays Odin
It’s not just Damon who’s in the play. You may have also wondered if that was Sam Neill playing Odin. Well, it is!
Related: Thor: Ragnarok Review
Neill previously worked with Waititi in Hunt for the Wilderpeople where he played injured survivalist Uncle Hec, and after that sleeper hit was revealed to have a small part in the director’s MCU debut. Details were kept very tight, but there were a lot of far-reaching theories about the actor playing some essential MU character with greater Cosmic importance, or at the very least him getting a Jurassic Park reunion with Jeff Goldblum. This wound up not being the case, with him being Odin to Damon’s Loki.
Luke Hemsworth Plays Thor
The actor playing Thor, however, may be a little harder to spot. And that’s kind of the joke; it’s none other than Luke Hemsworth, the less-recognizable elder brother to Chris and Liam. He’s perhaps best known for Westworld, but the joke always tends to be he’s the “other Hemsworth”.
All three “actor” characters only appear in this one scene, but presumably would have survived the events of the film, leaving the door open for similar quick gags in Avengers 3 or 4 – something that would hopefully bring in a few more famous faces into the mix.
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