2016's Captain America: Civil War will kick off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but two core members of the Avengers -- Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) -- will not be involved. We know that the two of them will be reunited in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, which will be a kind of buddy adventure focusing on the two of them.
Phase 3 will introduce a slew of new heroes to the MCU (Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, an all new Spider-Man) but will also see several major characters teaming up for Civil War and even in sequels like Ant-Man & The Wasp. Thor: Ragnarok continues this interesting Phase 3 trend, but it will also set up the cosmic dealings of the two-part Avengers: Infinity War.
Given the potentially massive changes Thor: Ragnarok will have caused -- given the subtitle's world-ending meaning in Norse mythology -- there is still the question of how some of the supporting characters still fit in. One of the most famous and crucial of these has been the scientist Erik Selvig, played by Stellan Skarsgård (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) in Thor, its sequel Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers, and Age of Ultron.
Skarsgård elaborated a bit, saying:
"I don't know what decisions they'll make, but they have an option on me for the next Thor movie."
Skarsgård stars as the title character in the Netflix series River as a brilliant police detective haunted by victims of past murder cases. A veteran actor who has been seen in films ranging from Good Will Hunting to Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves, Skarsgård never fails to entertain as Selvig (particularly in The Dark World), even if the character is generally used to relay or parse some kind of exposition. He went on to describe his experience being part of a larger cinematic universe, saying:
"When you're standing naked at Stonehenge, you don't think of the enormousness of the universe you're in. You think of the cold and how small your d*** will be, if Disney is allowed to show it! But I worked with very good directors and I've had a lot of fun doing it. Of course, doing Selvig is not as challenging as it is to do River, but it doesn't mean it's boring. I'm having a lot of fun doing it."
Skarsgård also addressed his scenes in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which saw Hemsworth's Thor seeking out Selvig's help in divining visions which included glimpses of the Infinity Stones. Selvig and Thor enter the Norn Cave to utilize the magical Waters of Sight. According to Skarsgård: "I wasn't supposed to be in [the movie] in the first place."
He went on to say:
"Then they called me and they'd written a couple of scenes, and I went and did them and you did not know if they were going to end up in the film or not. I want them to make as good a film as possible. I don't care if I'm in it or not."
None of this confirms that the character will show up in Thor: Ragnarok. As underused as Skarsgård has been in the past, as a scientist intimately involved in the global -- and cosmic -- superhero antics of the MCU, Erik Selvig could have a much larger role to play. For instance, we still don't know how or why Mark Ruffalo's Hulk leaves the planet for Ragnarok. Having Selvig involved in getting the Hulk to Asgard would be both convenient story-wise and a reason to bring the always-welcome Skarsgård back to the MCU.
As for Skarsgård's comments on Age of Ultron, we know that the scene shown in theaters was truncated from a longer version, but these details from Skarsgård seem to indicate that the cave scene is another example of the powers that be at Marvel tacking on somewhat extraneous references to the larger universe -- sometimes at the expense of the narrative at hand (see Iron Man 2 and the reasons Edgar Wright left Ant-Man). We can expect more of this type of thing and not less, so we'll have to see if next year's massive ensemble event Civil War ends up being as self-contained as many fans believe it should be.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
Source: Digital Spy
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