The Iron Man trilogy has come to an end. The Captain America trilogy has come to an end. And soon the Thor trilogy will be ending as well. As part of their Phase Three plans, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has Thor: Ragnarok set to come out in the next year, and it looks like it could be one of their biggest blockbusters yet.
As we at CinemaBlend like to do for big upcoming blockbusters, we've decided to assemble this handy guide that pulls together all of the information that we have about Thor: Ragnarok. As the movie moves through production, we will continue to flesh it out with updates -- but, right now, take a look at what we've seen so far from the new movie in the form of the debut trailer:
Wow. Okay. Thor: Ragnarok looks like it might actually end up being the best of the Thor films, if this awesome trailer is any indication. So who is directing this exciting new blockbuster? What will it be about? Who are all those crazy characters? Keep reading to learn what we know so far about the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe feature!
What Is The Thor Ragnarok: Release Date?
Thor: Ragnarok has been announced for release on November 3, 2017 -- and while that date by itself isn't incredibly special (Thor: The Dark World had a November release date, and so did Doctor Strange), what does make it unique is that it will mark the first time Marvel Studios releases three titles in one year.
The year 2017 is set up to be a very busy one for the folks at Marvel, kicking things off with James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in the first week of May (a spot that Marvel claims just about every summer). That will be followed by Jon Watt's Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will be out in July 2017. Thor: Ragnarok will be bringing the year to an end for Marvel on the big screen -- and perhaps will set the table in some way for Ryan Coogler's Black Panther in February 2018 and Joe and Anthony Russo's The Avengers: Infinity War in May 2018.
What Is Thor: Ragnarok Rated?
The MPAA doesn't give ratings to movies until they are just about finished and getting ready for theatrical release, but even with Thor: Ragnarok many months away from coming out we can already guarantee the film's rating: PG-13. How do we know this? Because every Marvel feature to this point has been rated PG-13, and it's been confirmed by the CEO of Disney that there are no plans to make an R-rated superhero title any time soon.
Not only does it make sense for Marvel Studios to stick with PG-13 ratings in general, given that most of the characters from the comics lend themselves to a younger-skewing audience anyway, but it also just makes sense for continuity within the Thor series. Both Thor and Thor: The Dark World were made with PG-13 ratings in mind, and there's absolutely no reason for the franchise to change direction for the third movie.
What Is Thor: Ragnarok About?
Marvel Studios famously likes to play its cards close to the vest with all of its big screen projects -- preferring for audiences to learn all of the story details and franchise machinations while they are sitting in a movie theater. That being said, we do get some broad stroke ideas about each film thanks to official releases, post-credit teases and filmmaker/actor interviews. Specifically in this case, it's how we know that Thor: Ragnarok will be a "road movie" that involves the search for Odin.
For those unfamiliar with a "road movie," it's Hollywood speak for a film that follows (typically) two protagonists as they go off on a sprawling adventure. In the case of Thor: Ragnarok, the two protagonists will be the eponymous God of Thunder and The Hulk; while the "sprawling adventure" will presumably be the vast cosmos and the Nine Realms. But why are they on the road? Going by the mid-credits sequence in Doctor Strange, it looks like they are looking for Odin, who has been missing since Loki replaced him on the throne of Asgard in Thor: The Dark World. Adding a twist to the "road movie" approach, it looks like the God of Mischief will be on the journey searching for the All-Father, and that there will be a stopover in an alien world where Thor has to fight for his life gladiator-style.
As will be discussed in greater detail later in this article, there are a number of foes that Thor and Co. will have to deal with in the blockbuster, with the greatest threat being the Asgardian God of Death, Hela. We also know that the film will be borrowing certain elements from the fan-favorite Planet Hulk storyline, which featured the Green Monster as a gladiator who battles to become the leader of his own world.
Will Loki Be In Thor: Ragnarok?
Thor may be the titular character in his own series of movies, but thus far it's been Tom Hiddleston as Loki who has managed to completely steal the show every time out. Thankfully, this is something that Marvel Studios definitely recognizes, which is why he will be back in action for Thor: Ragnarok.
Given where things ended with Thor: The Dark World, it would be pretty ridiculous if the God of Mischief DIDN'T return for the follow-up. For those who don't remember, Loki faked his death while doing battle with Malekith and Algrim/Kurse in Svartalfheim, and after making his way back to Asgard disguised as a soldier, he managed to replace Odin on the throne. With his mother, Frigga, being dead, and Thor distracted by goings-on in Midgard, Loki's family hasn't been around to rein him in, so lord only knows what kind of state Asgard will be in by the time the God of Thunder returns in Thor: Ragnarok.
Taika Waititi's blockbuster will definitely deal with what Loki has been up to since Thor: The Dark World, and is very much one of the main players in the plot. We don't know why it is that the God of Thunder decides that it's a good idea to bring his brother back to Earth but we'll find all of that out in good time. He only briefly appears in the first trailer for the film, doing some knife tricks and sitting on a couch above a gladiator arena, but we expect him to be up to plenty of no good within in feature.
Will Jane Be In Thor: Ragnarok?
In both Thor and Thor: The Dark World, the female lead was Jane Foster, the genius astrophysicist and love interest for the God of Thunder, played by Natalie Portman. Unfortunately, this trend will not continue in Thor: Ragnarok, as Portman will reportedly not be back to reprise her role.
With the story of Thor: Ragnarok seemingly being set away from Earth, and with Thor doing the buddy thing with Hulk, it's possible that there just wasn't any way to get Jane Foster into the script that made sense. It's worth mentioning that there has been talk in the past about tension between Natalie Portman and Marvel Studios, but it's unclear if that factored into the decision. As we will get into more later, the good news is that the 2017 blockbuster most definitely isn't going to be lacking in girl power, as it will not only be the first Marvel Cinematic Universe feature to have a female villain, but we will also see the first big screen adaptation of one of the most powerful female Asgardian warriors.
The Director (Taika Waititi)
Unlike the Iron Man and Captain America movies, the Thor series is the only trilogy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far that has had each installment directed by a different filmmaker. Kenneth Branagh first brought the God of Thunder to life with the character's first solo movie in 2011, and Alan Taylor was put at the helm of Thor: The Dark World two years later. Fittingly, Thor: Ragnarok will be once again be helmed by a first-time blockbuster director in Taika Waititi.
The New Zealand-born actor/writer/director does have some superhero experience, as he played a supporting role in 2011's Green Lantern, but Thor: Ragnarok will be the biggest movie he's made behind the camera. He made his directorial debut with the oddball comedy Eagle vs. Shark in 2007, and followed it up with 2010's Boy and 2014's What We Do In The Shadows - though he's also done some TV work on shows like Flight Of The Conchords and The Inbetweeners. His most recent film, The Hunt For The Wilderpeople earned widespread critical praise, and has a near-perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
In the span of just a few years, Chris Hemsworth has become entirely synonymous with Thor in popular culture. To date he has played the character four times -- in Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World and The Avengers: Age of Ultron (five if you include the post-credits scene in Doctor Strange) - and soon we will see him flying around and conjuring lightning with Mjolnir once again in Thor: Ragnarok.
When we last left the would-be king of Asgard, he was wrapping up his work with the Avengers and helping to save the world from the evil plans of the android Ultron. During that particular adventure, he began to learn a lot more about the Infinity Stones, and told the team that he would be leaving Earth to investigate what was going on with them. We have no idea how the Infinity Stones may play into Thor: Ragnarok, or if he will be putting that inquiry on pause while partnered with Hulk, so we'll just have to wait and see how that plot thread is continued. One thing we do know: he is the first Avenger to meet Doctor Strange!
Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
Audiences were left with many questions about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the end of Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but easily the biggest was, "What happened to the Hulk?" At the end of the movie, the giant green monster consciously decides that he is too dangerous to fight alongside The Avengers, and basically rides a Quinjet off into the sunset. Because the character doesn't have a blockbuster with his name on it in Phase Three, many fans thought that he wouldn't reappear until The Avengers: Infinity War - but he's actually going to be making his triumphant return in Thor: Ragnarok.
After The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Taika Waititi-directed feature will be Mark Ruffalo's third feature film as Dr. Bruce Banner a.k.a. the Hulk (not counting the cameo in Iron Man 3's post-credits scene). It's currently unclear how the character and Thor wind up reuniting for the adventure featured in Thor: Ragnarok, but the two heroes certainly do have an entertaining relationship. They both beat each other up quite badly during the course of The Avengers, and the God of Thunder's love of battle has been known to rub Bruce the wrong way.
We also can't help but be excited about the chance to see Hulk back together with Loki on the big screen, given that they haven't shared screen time since the Incredible Avenger smashed the God of Mischief around like a rag doll (an event that Loki likely remembers in his scariest nightmares).
As for what Hulk will be doing in Thor: Ragnarok, we really can't say. As mentioned earlier, it has been confirmed that particular elements of Planet Hulk will be included in the sequel, with Planet Skaar (the main setting of the comic) being utilized, and the green monster getting his gladiator armor (as confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con 2016). It appears that Thor and Hulk won't cross paths until they meet up in the gladiator arena, which could suggest that Hulk won't be featured at the very start of the story. We're eager to hear more details on this front, so stay tuned to to this page.
Hela (Cate Blanchett)
As you will discover as you continue reading this feature, Thor: Ragnarok has what is without question one of the best ensembles Marvel Studios has put together to date: and one could argue its greatest star is playing the central antagonist. I am referring to the casting of Cate Blanchett as Hela, the character in the comics who is the Asgardian Goddess of Death.
Like Asgard, Hel is one of the distinct Nine Realms in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Hela is the queen who presides over it all. As powerful as she is -- she possesses incredible strength in addition to magical abilities -- she is constantly looking to expand her reach, and this has led to many clashes with Thor in the comics. It's unclear exactly what will lead the two characters to fight in Thor: Ragnarok, but we certainly expect an epic battle.
What's also interesting about Hela's presence in Thor: Ragnarok is its potential for the future. In the comics, Hela is not the same character as the physical manifestation of Death (the two have a deal where Hela is allowed to collect the souls of those who worship the Asgardian gods), but it's possible that they may become an amalgam on the big screen. After all, Death is the love interest of the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War villain Thanos, and does anyone NOT want to see Cate Blanchett teamed up with Josh Brolin?
Skurge a.k.a. The Executioner (Karl Urban)
Cate Blanchett isn't the only Lord of the Rings star who will be making their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor: Ragnarok. Karl Urban, who also has Star Trek on his list of franchise credentials, has been announced as a key part of the fantasy adventure's blockbuster cast -- set to play the role of Skurge a.k.a. The Executioner.
Like Thor, Skurge is another Asgardian, though he has classically been drawn as a much bulkier dude who wields a dual-edged battle axe instead of a hammer. What's interesting about his inclusion in Thor: Ragnarok is the fact that he's not going to be paired with another key character. In Thor comics, Skurge is typically included in stories featuring the supervillain Enchantress, as he is completely in love with her and serves as her muscle. As far as we know, Enchantress is not going to appear in the third Thor movie, so we're left wondering what Skurge will be up to in the blockbuster.
Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum)
So far you've read about Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, and Karl Urban being in Thor: Ragnarok, and those names alone could make any movie exciting. The fact that Jeff Goldblum is on-board as well, however, actually doubles our anticipation -- mostly because of the enigmatic character he will be playing: The Grandmaster.
In Marvel Comics, The Grandmaster is one of the Elders of the Universe -- a race of ancient and ageless beings who derive power from the energy first put out by the Big Bang (The Collector from Guardians of the Galaxy is another Elder of the Universe). As his name suggests, he is a big fan of games, and he particularly enjoys orchestrating them with two opposing forces. It looks like he'll be in a position to do exactly that running things on the planet Skaar. THe debut trailer for Thor: Ragnarok establishes that he is a big fan of gladiator battles... though he really didn't expect that two of his fiercest warriors would be friends from work.
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)
Now we've come to Thor: Ragnarok's final headlining, exciting addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the studio has contracted Tessa Thompson to play the Asgardian, Valkyrie, in the upcoming sequel. The actress turned heads with her fantastic performance in Justin Simien's Dear White People; got on everyone's radar with a beautiful turn in Creed; and is now getting her shot in a big action blockbuster.
As revealed by concept art, Valkyrie was almost included amongst the cast of characters featured in Thor: The Dark World - but while those plans didn't come together, she will be making her live-action debut in Ragnarok. In the comics, she is the leader of the Valkyrior, a group of female warriors who have the responsibility of delivering the souls of deceased Asgardian warriors to Valhalla (we wonder if this might somehow give her a connection to Hela). In addition to being incredibly strong and slow-aging, she has the ability to sense when a person's death is imminent, has an enchanted sword, and has a Pegasus named Aragorn. The trailer suggests that we will get to see her in action riding this magical winged horse, but sadly she won't start off playing for the good guys. Instead, she is the right hand of The Grandmaster and apparently helps capture warriors for his games.
Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
Where is Odin right now in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We have no idea. Last we saw him, he was learning from a soldier that a body had been found on Svartalfheim, and while he thought that it was Loki's body, it's actually implied that the soldier delivering the news was the God of Mischief in disguise. As mentioned earlier, Thor: The Dark World ends with Loki impersonating Odin on the throne of Asgard, but exactly what's happened to the All-Father is unclear. It seems that mystery will be the one driving the narrative in Thor: Ragnarok.
It has been officially announced that Anthony Hopkins will be back to play the role of Odin -- but exactly what condition his character will be in remains very much unclear. As has been mentioned, Thor and Loki will be returning to Earth in search of their father, and it seems that they have no idea where he is. Given the role Hela will be playing in the film, one has to wonder if it's possible Odin is dead, and Thor and Loki will have to rescue him from Hela's realm - but that's something we probably won't know until the trailers start showing up.
Heimdall (Idris Elba)
Heimdall plays a crucial role in Asgardian society. As the sentry of Asgard and guardian of the Bifrost Bridge, he hears and sees all, and has the responsibility of keeping his realm safe from outsiders who wish to harm it. In both Thor and Thor: The Dark World we've seen him called into action to face down threats that fit that description, and we will be seeing him do it yet again in Thor: Ragnarok.
Idris Elba will be back as a Thor trilogy completest, though his role in the story remains entirely unknown (he certainly doesn't look like himself outside of his golden armor in the Thor: Ragnarok trailer). It's worth mentioning that it his partially his responsibility to send characters to the Hel realm, so that does put him right in the middle of the action. It hasn't been that long since we've last seen the heroic warrior, as he appeared to Thor during the events of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but that was actually just a dream sequence.
Sif And The Warriors Three (Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano)
When the battle has been on, Sif and the Warriors Three have been by Thor's side in both movies thus far, but right now it's unknown if we will get to see them working again in Thor: Ragnarok. It's a bad sign that Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson and Tadanobu Asano were not listed in the official cast announcement for the movie, and there have also been reports that Jaimie Alexander won't be able to return as Sif due to her commitments to the television series Blindspot. It's possible that the four characters will still be featured in the film, but right now it certainly doesn't look as though their roles will be significant.
Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings)
The previous Thor movies have had their fun moments of goofiness -- be it the titular hero's fish out of water behavior in the first film, or the teleporting final battle in the sequel -- but if there's any character who fits the "comedic relief" model best, it's Kat Dennings' Darcy. Jane Foster's former intern isn't necessarily the brightest bulb, but she's been reliable in times of crisis and is always good for a memorable line ("Meow-meow?"). It's currently unknown if she will be back for Thor: Ragnarok, as Dennings was not amongst the names listed in the film's official casting announcement.
Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard)
As far as Thor supporting characters go, Stellan Skarsgard's Erik Selvig has gotten quite a lot of exposure. In addition to playing key roles in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World, he also found himself in both of Joss Whedon's Avengers movies. Unfortunately, it's unclear right now if or when we might see him again. Like Kat Dennings, Skarsgard's name wasn't on the official cast list. Even if he doesn't get a strong supporting role like the ones he's had, we hope that he at least has a cameo in Thor: Ragnarok.