Cate Blanchett’s Hela may be the main antagonist in Thor: Ragnarok next year, but she won’t be the movie’s only sinister figure. During their big casting announcement a few weeks ago, Marvel revealed that Jeff Goldblum will play Grandmaster in the Thor threequel, describing this version of the character as “eccentric” (and with Goldblum, we wouldn’t have it any other way). We still don’t officially know how Grandmaster will be involved in this MCU entry, but according to Goldblum, his character will be an alien who loves pleasure.
During an interview with Empire (via ComicBookMovie), Jeff Goldblum gave a brief description of the MCU’s Grandmaster, making it clear that this version is an alien who loves vice. The actor explained:
He’s a hedonist, a pleasure-seeker. He’s an enjoyer of life and tastes and smells. I thought, ‘I can do that, I’ll bet!’ I’m working on my part every day. I’m a sponge, researching. [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!
Jeff Goldblum also mentioned that he’ll only be shooting for 3-4 weeks during Thor: Ragnarok’s principal photography in Australia, so even though he’ll have an important presence in the movie, that may not equal a lot of screen time. Fortunately, it sounds like Goldblum is being given enough material to make the role his own while still staying faithful to Grandmaster’s almost-50 year history. In the comics, Grandmaster is a powerful being who frequently uses games of skill and chance to manipulate “lesser beings” to entertain him or see his will be done. Clearly Goldblum’s version will follow suit, and in the midst of toying with the protagonists, he’ll be enjoying the finer things in life, from food and drink to possibly even interests of a more carnal nature.
It was rumored last week that during the course of Thor: Ragnarok, Thor will somehow be end up on a planet where gladiator battles over overseen by Grandmaster. The God of Thunder will subsequently be forced to fight for his life in the arena, but eventually Hulk will be thrown into the mix as well, giving moviegoers a backdoor adaptation of the Planet Hulk story. If this information is correct, that sets up Grandmaster as a secondary antagonist that Thor and Hulk have to deal with in the midst of their fight against Hela, Asgardian goddess of death.
Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is just one of the many new characters who will be introduced in Thor: Ragnarok next year. Other fresh faces will include Cate Blanchett as Hela, Karl Urban as Skurge and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie. Because Grandmaster is an ancient being who has manipulated many heroes in the Marvel Comics world, don’t be surprised if the 2017 blockbuster isn’t the last we see of him in the MCU.
Thor: Ragnarok will be released in theaters on November 3, 2017.