Thor ragnarok trailer Hulk Loki Valkyrie

Between his adventures in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, many people feel The God of Thunder has yet to reach the storytelling heights achieved by some of the other Avengers like Steve Rogers or Tony Stark. However, Chris Hemsworth's mighty Marvel god seems poised for greatness when Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok debuts in theaters this November. The third Thor film looks like nothing that we have ever seen from this series before, and that's because Waititi has approached Ragnarok as a predominately standalone outing instead of a direct sequel, bluntly noting he is ignoring the other two Hemsworth starrers. The director explained:

To be honest, what I did was I tried to approach it like there were no other films. I wanted to make this a standalone film, and I love Thor 1 and Thor 2, but if I was going to make this film my own, I couldn't come in and try to make like a follow-up movie.

It doesn't take long to understand what Taika Waititi is talking about with these remarks. From the early footage, Thor: Ragnarok looks and feels like nothing the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever seen before, and its basic story is entirely different from anything offered to audiences in the previous two Thor films. Instead of a grand and dramatic Shakespearean epic, Waititi has chosen to embrace the weirder elements of the Asgardian hero and focus more on the bizarre sci-fi angle -- not to mention Chris Hemsworth's comedic timing. It's less of a sequel and more of a brand new beast that plays to Waititi's particular sensibilities as a filmmaker. If you had been living under a rock for the last decade, you could probably walk into the MCU this November and think this is the first Thor movie.

This idea of a standalone story also feels highlighted by the sheer amount of new characters that will pop up during Thor: Ragnarok's story. Although familiar faces like Thor, Hulk, and Loki will return, we will also be treated to franchise newcomers like Valkyrie, Skurge, The Grandmaster, and the demonic bad guy Surtur. With so many new ideas and concepts falling into place, it feels like the older Thor movies are less required viewing, and simply a means to enhance the Ragnarok viewing experience.

That said, despite Taika Waititi's comments to io9 about the continuity (or lack thereof) in Thor: Ragnarok's story, it's worth mentioning that isn't a complete standalone adventure. Certain plot threads -- such as the fate of Odin, Loki's return, The Grandmaster's connection to Guardians of the Galaxy's The Collector, and Hela's potential involvement with Thanos -- all represent stepping stones towards the climax of Marvel's Phase 3. The core Ragnarok story certainly seems to stand on its own (far more than most Marvel films, in fact), but there are still specific plot elements in place helping drive the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe forward into the future. Now it's simply a matter of waiting to see how those ideas coalesce when the film finally comes out.

Thor: Ragnarok will debut in theaters later this year on November 3, and The God of Thunder will reunite with the rest of Earth's mightiest heroes when The Avengers: Infinity War premieres next year on May 4, 2018. Here's everything that we currently know about the upcoming Avengers epic!

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