WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, now in theaters nationwide.
Marvel Studios is famed for the deep cuts, Easter eggs and homages in its films, and director Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok is certainly no exception. With such an extensive library of comic book source material — not to mention nearly 10 years’ worth of movies — it’s only natural that the filmmakers included plenty of sly references and callbacks for the enjoyment of observant fans.
With Thor: Ragnarok now in theaters nationwide, we’ve scoured the sequel for its best nods, from the obvious visual influences of legendary Thor co-creator Jack Kirby to celebrity cameos to a far more subtle allusion to Walter Simonson’s acclaimed comics run.
If there’s one element fans should come to expect in every Marvel Studios film, it’s a cameo by legendary creator Stan Lee. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 establishing Lee as playing the same character in all of his Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances — a talkative information for the ancient alien race of observers the Watchers — it’s feasible he could crop up anywhere, even on far-flung Sakaar.
In Thor: Ragnarok, Chris Hemsworth’s thunder god loses his long locks in preparation for his appearance in the gladiatorial arena. It’s Lee’s character who provides him with the close-cropped new hairdo.
Early in the film, when Thor is recounting a number of mishaps that have occurred to him over the year, he mentions he was once turned into a frog. Sounds weird, right? Well, during Walter Simonson’s influential run on Marvel Comics’ Thor, Loki transformed the thunder god into a frog.
Taking it one step further, a comics character named Simon Walterson was also turned into a frog, but he became Throg, The Frog of Thunder.
When Thor first returns to Asgard, he’s greeted by Odin — but not really. If you’ve watched 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, you’ll know Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is masquerading as the missing All-Father and happily reigning over Asgard. Thor finds Loki, as Odin, watching a play that reenacts his “heroic death.”
The fun part is who has been cast in the roles of Thor, Odin and Loki: The thunder god is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth’s brother Luke, Loki by Matt Damon, and Odin by Sam Neill, who previously worked with director Taika Waititi in the acclaimed film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
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