WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, in theaters now.
Fans have come to anticipate the requisite Stan Lee cameo in each Marvel Studios film, undoubtedly only intensified by the revelation of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but Thor: Ragnarok ups the ante, delivering an appearance not only by the beloved creator but also by some other celebrities.
We’ll address Lee’s role first, as Thor’s 94-year-old co-creator crops up on Sakaar in the film’s second act as a devilish barber who cuts off the thunder golden locks before he enters the Grandmaster’s arena. Lee doesn’t have a lot to say in the scene, but laughs with giddy delight at the prospect of removing Thor’s glorious hair, even as the Asgardian threatens and pleads for his mane to be left alone. However, the barber keeps going with perhaps the most diabolical hair-removing device ever seen on screen.
However, before arriving on Sakaar, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor heads to Asgard, only to discover his father, Odin — actually Loki in disguise — watching a play about their battle against the Elves. We’re treated to a rather poorly acted death scene similar to the one that played out in Thor: The Dark World, only the Loki here isn’t played by Tom Hiddleston, but rather by Matt Damon. Granted, he delivers about as hammy a performance as you’ll ever see from the veteran actor, but that’s what makes it work.
Damon isn’t the only recognizable performer in this scene, though: Odin was played by Sam Neill, who previously worked with director Taika Waititi on the acclaimed film Hunt for the Wilderpeople (although he’s better known for his role in 1993’s Jurassic Park alongside the Grandmaster himself, Jeff Goldblum).
There’s also a Thor in the play, but the casting is perhaps a little obvious: Chris Hemsworth’s brother Luke Hemsworth, recognizable for his work on HBO’s Westworld. Now, we aren’t saying that Luke and Chris look exactly alike, but there might have been a few viewers doing a double-take when they first saw the faux god of thunder walk on stage.
Perhaps the most prominent, if not immediately recognizable, cameo is the rocky-skinned gladiator Korg, who befriends Thor on Sakaar. Portrayed by Waititi using motion-capture technology, Korg was introduced in the popular Marvel Comics storyline “Planet Hulk,” which served as partial inspiration for Thor: Ragnarok.
If you’re familiar with those comics, you might have had a different voice in mind for the formidable rock monster — say, something a little deeper and more menacing. However, Waititi had a different take on the character, and transformed him into comic relief, and an occasional deus ex machina.
Then, of course, there’s Benedict Cumberbatch, who reprises his role as Doctor Strange ahead of Avengers: Infinity War. The Sorcerer Supreme’s cameo was telegraphed in the end-credits scene of his own film, in which Hemsworth’s Thor paid a visit to the Sanctum Sanctorum, and then featured in some of Ragnarok‘s trailers.
In theaters nationwide, director Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Cate Blanchett as Hela, Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and Karl Urban as Skurge.
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