WARNING: This article contains potential SPOILERS for Thor: Ragnarok
When the world first met Marvel's Thor he was on his way to becoming the King of Asgard, but when Thor: Ragnarok ends, he may finally claim the throne - just in time for the Infinity War. It's been no secret that, despite all its colorful, trippy, cosmic adventure action, Ragnarok will leave Thor a changed man. With director Taika Waititi going so far as saying there's really no way Marvel can undo or take back the progress Thor makes - and knowing the larger forces and foes on their way to torment the Marvel Cinematic Universe - one answer seems to be making more and more sense.
During our visit to the set of Thor: Ragnarok, the message was clear: not only would the third film in the solo franchise have the attitude to make it the biggest Thor movie so far, but it would be a more important adventure than fans expected. Ragnarok would bring real change, real character growth, real trauma for its hero, and in the end, introduce a new Thor to Marvel's Universe. Judging by our interviews with cast and crew, that means a Thor finally worthy of leading Asgard.
And from the looks of it, Thor ascending the throne as King of Asgard may be what's needed to bring an end to Ragnarok. How much of the kingdom will remain, and for how much longer... isn't so easy to predict.
Thor Has Become an Expert on The Cosmic MCU
It's been years since Chris Hemsworth's 'Thor' has seemed anything less than a superhero, but his cinematic story began with him being distinctly unworthy of his own power. Introduced as an entitled, warmongering champion, it took the first Thor movie to learn true humility, compassion, and the temperance befitting a king. Yet when Ragnarok's director suggests that the Thor movies may have let their hero down - or at least given the spotlight to other characters - his case is easy to see. Since the first Thor taught its hero to be a worthy king... not much else has happened.
He's fought some memorable battles (and less memorable enemies), and chosen to delay his ascent to the throne to protect Earth... and keep in touch with his girlfriend. Since then, 'delayed' he has remained, in terms of character development. But according to Chris Hemsworth, the glimpse of powers and forces far beyond Asgard or Earth seen in Age of Ultron has kept him busy:
A lot of Thor’s story is about, as you see from the first film, being the rightful king and earning that right to take that position of power, and taking on responsibility. At the end of the second film he’s pulling away from it. I think there’s still kind of a reluctance with it all.
I think he’s spent a lot of time on earth, he’s part of that team now and that world. And we ended Avengers with him saying 'There’s something going on out there. There’s some bigger questions I need answered.'
Thor missed out on Civil War for good reason, we learned on the set. While Ultron may have kept most of Thor's revelations from the audience, he understood more than enough to get him started. By the time Ragnarok starts, Thor has spent "years" on Thanos's trail, with one problem or challenge leading into the next. But before he can return to Earth in search of Avengers back-up, Thor has Asgardian business to set right - and is in for more than one surprise.
Thor Has 'No Choice' But To Return Home
Director Taika Waititi may have cooked up a comedic explanation for what Thor's been up to since Age of Ultron, but the truth is that the hammer-wielding hero has arguably become the greatest hero of the Marvel Universe off-screen. Spending the close to two years searching and battling his way across the cosmos (a fight with Surtur of Muspelheim included), Thor has been trying to make sense of his vision - and prevent the death of the gods that Heimdall claimed he was responsible for in the same fantasy.
He may not know his true enemy yet, or what his intentions with the fabled Infinity Stones truly are, but his experiences have made him tougher, wiser, and more determined than ever. Unfortunately, if that leads fans to think that Ragnarok sees him return to his Asgardian duties by choice... they would be mistaken. As Hemsworth explains, his home is in need of him:
So he’s on this personal journey to do his own discovery, you know: find these answers for himself. And then his, what would you call it, his origin or his home calls him back, or has drawn him back now and he’s drawn to this thing. So there is a reluctance. It’s not necessarily him trying to now become the king. He has no choice, I think.
The most obvious explanation for Hemsworth's comment will be the emergence of the Asgardian goddess of death, Hela. And Cate Blanchett's villain truly is an enemy that will prove to be Thor's most challenging opponent yet. But even before she begins her conquest of Asgard - and Thor begins his journey to the gladiator planet of Sakaar with Hulk - Thor will have his future decided for him.
With what we gathered from the filmmakers and cast, and what's already been teased in Thor: Ragnarok's trailers and set photos, the answer is clear. Thor doesn't get to choose to take the throne of Asgard - he becomes the only living Asgardian up to the challenge.
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017