Over the course of eight years and 13 films, Marvel Studios has assembled the largest franchise in the existence of Hollywood. Not only are the amount of connected films being made impressive, but they have consistently made money and/or been well-received. As the universe continues to get new additions each year, the storylines of said movies have continued to try and connect to the larger universe in some way if possible. This can be simple things such as references to Ultron in Ant-Man or bigger connections such as finding out what happened to Hulk at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron when he appears next in Thor: Ragnarok.
While the people behind-the-scenes at Marvel Studios know exactly what happened to Hulk, there are few people that know the complete connectivity that these movies will have. Hulk's appearance will be one of the connections to the larger universe in Ragnarok, with possibilities remaining for potential references to Doctor Strange, Thanos, Infinity Stones, but not an appearance by John C. Reilly. As it turns out, director Taika Waititi is ignoring the previous Thor films and the rest of the MCU too in order to make his movie.
Waititi took part in an AMA on Reddit to discuss Ragnarok and many fans wanted to know his approach to making a film set within the larger universe. Instead of directly worrying about how his movie fit in line with what has and will come, Waititi has set out to make the movie he wants. Obviously, Marvel knows what these plans include and should not be a problem once editing begins, but his comments are interesting nonetheless:
I made an effort to ignore the fact there are other Thor films.
I honestly know NOTHING outside of what I'm doing. I'm trying to ignore the rest of the universe and just make my own awesome movie.
Marvel hired Waititi specifically for his unique sense of humor and undoubtedly knows exactly what he is planning for this movie. Still, this should not be taken as Ragnarok not having any connections to the larger universe. Even if Waititi did not focus on that, the writers and producers were certainly making sure that everything that happens will line up with continuity and set up the characters for appearances in the future.
While successful, the Thor franchise has arguably been the most divisive franchise in the MCU and has yet to have a true home run. Fans and Marvel Studios are hoping that Ragnarok will be just that, and Waititi seemed to win fans over instantly with his short mockumentary of Thor's life during Captain America: Civil War. Not only is Waititi loving shooting the actual movie, but he would be up to shoot more of these shorts should Marvel let him:
That would be a dream come true. I'd love to actually make a bunch of them.
Based on the reaction from the first short, it could be smart for Marvel to allow Waititi to continue to make these, not only for his film, but other MCU movies as well. Marvel has been lacking in this department of fun shorts ever since they stopped making their One-Shots, something they continue to say could come back. While fans wait to see if that ever is the case, short mockumentaries of various characters in the MCU would be great viral marketing for the universe and special features on home releases.
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; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.