In the fallout from the massive comic book-themed explosion of San Diego Comic-Con, life starts to get back to normal for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. James Gunn and his crack post-production staff are whipping Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 into shape. Jon Watts, Tom Holland, Zendaya, and crew are back to work on principal photography for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Meanwhile, the Asgardian heroes are back to work on the set of Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok.
Although shooting began on the Thor trilogy-ender roughly a month ago, shots of the charismatic and ornately costumed characters have been slim for a reason: Asgard wasn't finished yet. Now, as one of the fabled Nine Realms nears completion, the real action can begin on set.
Recent shots of Asgard wrapping up have finally emerged from Australia (via CBM). However, the construction of at least one of the Nine Realms came with a smattering of controversy. As Asgard shapes up, Marvel reportedly let go a number of their Australian workers well shy of their purported six months of work. The move also fuels complaints of unfair treatment of Aussie workers as compared to their Kiwi cohorts (director Waititi is also from New Zealand).
Thus far, Marvel and director Waititi have not commented on the labor disputes and preferential treatment claims. Despite the controversial elements, production on Thor: Ragnarok continues unabated. With the main set looking sharp, the next few weeks will hopefully reveal more of our heroes in full regalia. Images of Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) new look may emerge, as well as shots of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Karl Urban’s Skurge or any of the other new cast members in the film.
Recent sneak peeks have given Thor disciples a look the humorous side of the latest film. Shown initially at Comic-Con, the director recently posted a ‘Thor drawing’ which humorously points to the Asgardian Prince’s investigation of “the purple man in the floating chair” (i.e., Thanos). The Comic-Con teaser also included shots of Hulk in Planet Hulk-esque gladiator apparel, and a first look at the goddess of death, Hela, (Cate Blanchette) and probable main nemesis Surtur. In addition to the teaser footage, shots of Valkyrie’s weapon of choice, Dragonfang, emerged from the Australian shoot.
Combined with the recent shots of what is most likely Asgard (although it could be another of the Nine Realms), Marvel devotees are getting the full scope of what Thor: Ragnarok entails. The action looks to be coming together on an epic scale, with the gods of Asgard butting heads with the underworld and Muspelheim, in addition to potentially dicing with a certain purple cosmic menace. Pulling in resources from around Asgard and earth (go Hulk!), Thor will need all his allies to combat the furious and wrathful forces seeking to bring Ragnarok to fruition.
In the long run, it will be interesting to see how Marvel and director Waititi merge the seemingly disparate elements of a buddy comedy, road picture, and world-rending battle. If done with the MCU’s customary wit and skill, Ragnarok could live up to its Nine Realms-shaking name.
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 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.