This post contains possible major spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok
Marvel is still almost a full year away from releasing Thor: Ragnarok - the third installment in their standalone franchise about Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder - and it's already shaping up to be one of their most unique films to date. Not only does it feature an inarguably great lineup of returning cast members including Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Anthony Hopkins (Odin), and Idris Elba (Heimdall), but it also contains an exciting batch of new additions like Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Karl Urban (Skurge), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk/Bruce Banner), and of course, Cate Blanchett's villainous Hela. Taking all of that into account, along with the unique choice of bringing Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) on as director, and it seems like one of the studio's most adventurous and riskiest outings in their pre-Infinity War cinematic universe.
Now, a lot of attention has understandably been paid to the film's partnering up of Hulk and Thor, specifically with the Planet Hulk elements that are being incorporated into it, but as of late, a number of fans have begun to wonder what the overall story of Ragnarok may end up being, and how it could advance the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe forwards as it barrels towards Avengers: Infinity War in May 2018. Luckily, some brand new details about the film may reveal some answers to those big questions.
The news comes from ScreenGeek, which today released a large roundup of Thor: Ragnarok details, starting off with non-spoilerish details about the film. For instance, it will apparently have a tone similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, meaning it'll be very serious with only little moments of humor, which seems to go against some of the previous comments that have been made about its tone, and Waititi's direction of it. Again, the report plays into some previous rumors and speculation surrounding Ragnarok as well, mentioning that both Surtur and Fenris Wolf will indeed be making appearances, and that Hiddleston's Loki will play a large role in Bruce Banner ending up in the gladiator arena, under the watchful eye of Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster.
The site goes into some more spoiler territory, though, when they report that Thor will actually meet Valkyrie on that same planet instead of the presumed Asgard. Then, the report states Hulk, Valkyrie, and Thor will spend a large portion of the film searching for the Soul Gem in order to defeat Loki and Hela, after the latter helped the God of Mischief usurp the Throne of Asgard. According to the report as well, Loki will be working with Hela at the beginning of the film, before he's betrayed by her, and then agrees to help Thor and his allies defeat her in order to stop her from destroying the nine realms in the Ragnarok.
In addition, the report states that Karl Urban's Skurge will indeed be Hela's champion in the film, but under false pretenses, and will reportedly turn against her when he learns of her true plans, giving his life while helping the heroes stop/delay her armies. Siff, The Warriors Three, and Heimdall will all return apparently also, with the latter dying at some point in the film, which has been heavily rumored by fans ever since the character's somber role in Age of Ultron's dream sequences. The report also (needlessly) confirms a cameo from Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange, and that Anthony Hopkins' Odin has been living as a vagrant on Earth ever since Loki banished him at the end of Thor: The Dark World.
Finally, the biggest possible spoiler for the film comes when the report states that while Loki will play a large role in helping Thor, Hulk, and Valkyrie find the Soul Gem and defeat Hela, the film will end with him betraying his brother once again. Loki will reportedly give the Soul Gem to Thanos (Josh Brolin) along with the locations of the other Infinity Stones in exchange for his own protection when Thanos launches his invasion of the rest of the universe.
Now, a majority of these details have already been confirmed or reported on previously, with the inclusion of Fenris Wolf and Surtur seemingly confirmed in the film's SDCC footage, and Odin's life as a vagrant on Earth confirmed in set photos several months back. Doctor Strange's cameo was also basically confirmed in the film's recent post-credits sequence, with Siff, The Warriors Three, and Heimdall's roles in the film all being heavily speculated upon throughout the past few months.
The real (possible) news here is the report's details regarding Heimdall, Loki, Thanos, and the Soul Gem, which is the only Infinity Stone that has yet to be officially revealed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But with that being said, many fans have discussed the possibility that the Soul Gem is actually the small, amber colored gem in the center of Heimdall's armor, which could not only explain the character's immense power, but also his rumored death in Ragnarok, with the gem having to be extracted from him at some point before Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet is fully assembled.
So if these rumors prove to be true, then it seems like Ragnarok may be even more of a lead-in into Infinity War than some fans may have thought, especially if there's a scene of Hiddleston's Loki personally delivering one of the Infinity Stones to Thanos himself. Before anyone goes too far down that rabbit hole though, as usual, make sure to take all of these details with a grain of salt for the time being, no matter how likely/possible some of them may seem. So whether they're true or not will have to wait to be seen. But either way, at this point the one thing that seems certain is that Thor: Ragnarok is going to be (possibly) Marvel's largest and most ambitious film yet, which will make it, hopefully, one of the most suitable MCU films to come out just before Infinity War as well.