Early concept art for Avengers: Infinity War shows that Thor met didn't only meet with the Dwarf King Eitri, but multiple dwarves during his trip to Nidavellir. This suggests that Thanos didn't wipe out every Dwarf during his attack, as was suggested in the movie.
After Thor meets the Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time in Avengers: Infinity War, he recruits Rocket and Groot as shipmates as he embarks on a quest to find a "Thanos-killing kind" of weapon. They seek the help of the Dwarves in order to construct what will eventually turn out to be Stormbreaker, but discover that only a single Dwarf has been left alive following an attack from the Mad Titan himself. Thanos gave Dwarf King Eitri (Peter Dinklage) no other choice but to construct the Infinity Gauntlet, ultimately killing all remaining Dwarves regardless. However, an earlier vision of Avengers: Infinity War featured what appears to be survivors of Thanos' attack.
In Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War - The Art of the Movie, some early concept art from the movie features Thor, Rocket and Groot meeting several Dwarves, as opposed to only one. However, while it would have given Eitri some company - who may have likely aided in the construction of Stormbreaker - it paints a very different picture in terms of Thanos' moral principles. Nidavellir's destruction, as well as the death of the Dwarves, was a key plot point in regard to how Thanos took no chances in the pursuit of his ultimate goal, so it's curious to see that Eitri wasn't the sole survivor. Then again, it's possible that these Dwarves weren't located on Nidavellir during Thanos' attack and had arrived at a later time.
The art book also reveals several other versions of Thor's journey to Nidavellir. One iteration had Eitri unable to forge Stormbreaker by himself, which led to Groot playing a more direct role in its creation. Another image shows an entirely different journey that Thor, Rocket, and Groot embark on involving a version of Stormbreaker that has already been forged by the time they find it.
Dwarves no doubt play a significant role in the Avengers' plan to defeat Thanos, but it's possible that Eitri may play an even larger role in Avengers 4. Not only was another Gauntlet shown in Nidavellir during Avengers: Infinity War, teasing a potential return in the next movie, some other concept art suggests that the Dwarf King may also create yet another weapon for Earth's Mightiest Heroes - this time for Captain Marvel to wield. Though the comic book origins for this weapon are significantly different, Marvel Studios has taken plenty of creative liberties in the past, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that a similar approach is taken in this case.
Source: Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War - The Art of the Movie
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019