Cameras are expected to roll Monday in Queensland, Australia, for Marvel Studios‘ “Thor: Ragnarok,” which sees stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins reprise their franchise roles.
The third “Thor” film is set to shake up the series, as Hemsworth is joined by his “Avengers” co-star Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/the Hulk for a story that’s rumored to draw elements from a popular Marvel Comics storyline. Presumably they’ll be woven in amid the Norse end of the world.
Directed by Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Hunt For the Wilderpeople”), “Thor: Ragnarok” also stars new additions Cate Blanchett as Hela, Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Karl Urban as Skurge.
Before any details, or any more photos, leak out of Queensland, here’s a run down of (virtually) everything we know so far about “Thor: Ragnarok.”
10. Thor and the Hulk Are Cosmic Buddies
Mark Ruffalo has characterized “Thor: Ragnarok” as “a universal road movie” that centers on the relationship between Bruce Banner and Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder, but the key word here is universal: The third “Thor” film will largely leave Midgard behind.
“There are only a couple of scenes on Earth in this movie,” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said. “Eighty to 90 percent takes place in the cosmos.”
That would seem to lend credence to a report that the movie draws influence from “Planet Hulk,” the 2006-2007 Marvel Comics storyline in which the Incredible Hulk is rocketed from Earth to a violent planet, where he’s forced to take part in gladiatorial games. According to the rumor, it’s there that Thor encounters the Hulk, fighting for the amusement of the Grandmaster (played by Jeff Goldblum).
Of course, none of that may be true, but it certainly makes sense.
9. “Thor: Ragnarok” Will Have Humor (But Not TOO Much)
Following Chris Hemsworth’s comedic turns in “Vacation” and the upcoming “Ghostbusters,” director Taika Waititi hopes to put that ability to use. “It’s silly not to use that,” he said. “He’s so good.”
That’s an approach that suits Hemsworth just fine. “I think [‘Thor 3’] needs to be injected with that sort of smart wit and unexpected kind of humor, kind of what James Gunn came in and did with ‘Guardians,'” the star said last fall. “It was like off-center and unpredictable, and I think we can definitely use a dose of that, you know?”
However, if the title is any indication, “Thor: Ragnarok” probably isn’t going to a laugh-riot. In fact, one report indicated that Marvel hired Waititi to help inject a bit of levity into an otherwise-dark script by franchise veterans (and frequent comic book collaborators) Chris Yost and Craig Kyle.
Besides, while Waititi is known for the offbeat “Flight of the Conchords,” “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Hunter for the Wilderpeople,” he’s more interested in exploring Thor’s character than using the thunder god for laughs.
“As much as I love action and spectacle, I think my strength and what I’m really interested in mostly is character,” he said. “It’s a hard balance, because you’ve still got to blow shit up.”
8. Hela Will Be Marvel Studios’ First Major Female Villain
Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett is excited to play Hela, the goddess of death (and frequent Thor foe) introduced in 1964’s “Journey Into Mystery” #102. Her big-screen debut in “Thor: Ragnarok” will be the first time a Marvel Studios film features a female character as a primary antagonist.
“I’ve only done action a couple of times. It feels like a … departure is too strong a word, but it certainly feels like a change for me,” Blanchett said in March, before her role was confirmed. “I’m looking forward to getting really fit, and wearing lycra, and hoping to earn a bit of a street cred from my kids.”
Her character Hela has already earned admiration, of sorts, from co-star Mark Ruffalo. “She plays the worst of the worst,” he said. “So evil … She is going to kill us. It’s such a great part she gets to play.”
7. Hulk Will “Probably” Fight Thor (and Maybe Banner)
Much has been made of comments by Mark Ruffalo that Thor and the Hulk “will probably fight,” and that Bruce Banner is on a “collision course” with his alter ego in “Thor: Ragnarok.”
“What’s exciting about Bruce at this point,” the actor said, “is the arc he’s ultimately making and his relationship to the Hulk. And how that is going to resolve itself. No one’s really gone to that place. They’re coming for a collision course with each other. I think could be pretty exciting if we could find a way to do it, multi-dimensionally.”
If that is, indeed, the case, director Taika Waititi isn’t saying. “I can’t reveal that information,” he told Wired. “He’s just going to do Hulk stuff. Hulk-y things.”
He did, however, confirm that Hulk will “smash.”
6. The “G” in Grandmaster Stands For Goldblum
Fans of Jeff Goldblum’s work in such films as “Jurassic Park,” “Independence Day” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” will probably find a lot to like in the Grandmaster. That’s because it sounds as if the Elder of the Universe is essentially going to be … Jeff Goldblum.
“He’s a hedonist, a pleasure-seeker, an enjoyer of life and tastes and smells. I thought, ‘I can do that, I’ll bet!'” Goldblum said, adding, “[Director Taika Waititi] is encouraging me to improvise and make it my own, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I hope he doesn’t throw me out on the first day!”
Waititi added, “When I met him, I realized that all of his characters are just him. So what else could I say to him besides ‘Just be yourself’?”
5. The Hulk’s Big Arc Begins in “Ragnarok”
Although we’re not likely to see another standalone Hulk movie, Mark Ruffalo insists “Thor: Ragnarok” begins a character arc that should satisfy fans.
“We’ve worked a really interesting arc into ‘Thor 3,’ ‘Avengers 3’ and ‘4’ for Banner that I think will — when it’s all added up — will feel like a Hulk movie,” he said, “a standalone movie.”
Of course, that means we’ll have to wait until the release of “Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2” in 2019 to see how that Hulk movie ends. However, if the rumor pans out, fans will not only get their adaptation (of sorts) of “Planet Hulk” but also a multi-part journey for the Green Goliath.
Pfft, who needs a puny Hulk movie, anyway?
4. Goodbye, Jane Foster; Hello, Valkyrie
After appearing in 2011’s “Thor” and 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World,” Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster will sit out “Thor: Ragnarok.”
That’s at least in part because only a couple of the scenes take place on Earth — which also may explain why Stellan Skarsgard won’t be reprising his role as Erik Selvig.
We probably shouldn’t expect Thor to be without a love interest, however, as at least one report indicates that will fill that role – presumably as well as that of leader of the Valkyrior of Asgard.
She’s played by Tessa Thompson, best known for her roles in “Selma,” “Dear White People” and “Creed.”
3. Karl Urban is Judge … Dredd and Executioner
With films like “The Lord of the Rings,” “Dredd” and “Star Trek” to his credit, Karl Urban is no stranger to genre fiction. In “Thor: Ragnarok” he’ll play Skurge (aka The Executioner), a Marvel Comics character who has a complicated relationship with the God of Thunder.
A frequent ally, or pawn, of Loki and the Enchantress, Skurge was a longtime enemy of Thor, at least until he joined with the heroes of Asgard on a mission to Hel to delay Ragnarok — and ultimately gave his life. That classic story may provide the best hint to Skurge’s role in “Thor: Ragnarok,” although his spirit was later summoned by Grandmaster, which certainly leaves open another possibility.
In recent comments, Urban couldn’t reveal much about his role, only saying “the character is fantastic. He’s got a great arc to him.” He did, however, drop one tidbit: He’ll be shaving his head to play Skurge … after he’s finished promoting “Star Trek Beyond.”
2. I Spy With My Little Eye … Odin!
Marvel confirmed that Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins will reprise his role as Odin in “Thor: Ragnarok,” which presumably means we’ll find out what happened to the ruler of Asgard. Or does it?
As you’ll recall, “Thor: The Dark World” ended with the thunder god telling Odin about Loki’s valiant sacrifice in the battle against Malekith. But once Thor leaves, it’s revealed that Loki is alive and well – and impersonating the All-Father.
A rumor surfaced earlier this year that we’ll learn Odin fled Asgard for Earth, where he’s seen living on the streets and warning of the impending apocalypse.
Of course it’s always possible that Loki could simply continue posing as Odin to make Thor’s life more complicated and hurry along Ragnarok.
1. “Ragnarok” Really Could Be the End For Loki
His role as Loki in “Thor,” “The Avengers” and “Thor: The Dark World” helped propel Tom Hiddleston to international stardom. However, the actor has suggested “Thor: Ragnarok” could be his final performance as the God of Mischief.
“‘Thor 3’ will be cool because I’ve not done it for four years,” he said in an interview in March. “I love working with Chris [Hemsworth]. This will be my last time out of the gate.”
When pressed for clarification, and whether Loki might appear in the two-part “Avengers: Infinity War,” Hiddleston replied, “I don’t know! Honestly, I don’t know. They haven’t got their ducks in a row yet. They make it up as they go along.”
It is the end of the world!
“Thor: Ragnarok” opens Nov. 3, 2017.
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