The Marvel Cinematic Universe first launched in 2008 and has been growing ever since, developing a massive shared superhero world that spans more 14 films and multiple television series at various networks and streaming services. Last year, Phase 3 of the MCU launched with the premiere of Captain America: Civil War, which began the lead-up to Avengers: Infinity War and Untitled Avengers 4, the final movies planned for this particular phase. This year will see another milestone for the MCU as it's the first time three film entries in the universe will hit theaters: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok.
For its part, the third installment of the Thor series - featuring returning stars Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder and Tom Hiddleston as the God of Mischief Loki - is the last to hit theaters this year. As a result, we haven't seen much from Thor 3 while Marvel has focused on promoting Guardians 2 and Homecoming. Now though, we have our first glimpse at two of the threequel's new characters as well as a look at Thor's makeover for his latest solo installment.
EW debuted the first look at Thor, the Goddess of Death Hela (Cate Blanchett), and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) as part of their new cover story about Thor: Ragnarok. The cover image is full of color - likely in keeping with the '80s-inspired logo for Thor: Ragnarok that Marvel debuted during Comic-Con International in San Diego last summer - and features all three fully suited up as their characters. Take a look:
Thor and Thor: The Dark World were directed by Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella) and Alan Taylor (Terminator: Genisys) respectively, while Taikia Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) took up the reins for Ragnarok. It's unclear how Waititi's influence will change the course of the Thor series - which has been on the darker, more somber side of the MCU spectrum - since he has predominantly worked in comedy or comedy/drama. But, Thor: Ragnarok is said to include the funniest version of Thor yet, which fans may likely welcome since Hemsworth has proven to be adept at comedy - and Thor's moments of humor in previous installments, as well as the Avengers films, have been generally well received.
In terms of Hela and Valkyrie, their costumes in this EW cover are heavily inspired by their comic book counterparts, as is the case with the majority of Marvel's big screen heroes and villains. Although Valkyrie's purple-tinted costume is perhaps the biggest divergence - and the fact that she has pants instead of the comic character's leotard-style armor - it's certainly striking. While it's unclear how exactly these two characters fit into the plot of Thor 3 since an official synopsis has yet to be made available, Hela will force Thor to Sakaar where God of Thunder will become a gladiator and reportedly run into Valkyrie - as well as Sakaar's greatest fighter, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
All in all, this EW cover previews an interesting new installment to the Thor series, and not simply because the God of Thunder has traded in his long hair for a shorter 'd0. Fans have many reasons to look forward to Thor: Ragnarok - whether for Waititi's influence or Thor's team-up with Hulk or the new characters like Hela and Valkyrie. But, with Marvel still focused on promoting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming, it may be some time before we get the first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok.
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