The John Carpenter Movie That Inspired Thor: Ragnarok, According To The Director

Although the first two Thor movies were by no means critical or commercial failures, they didn't make nearly as much of a splash compared to many of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Thor: Ragnarok is aiming to break that trend. Under the direction of Taika Waititi, the third Thor installment is aiming to give the God of Thunder a truly unique adventure by spending less time on Earth and more time out in the strange cosmic corners of the MCU. Waititi has said also said on several occasions that Thor: Ragnarok will have more of a humorous tone, and some of the director's comedic inspiration for this movie came from John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China.

In an interview with EW, Taika Waititi explained how when he pitched his vision of Thor: Ragnarok to Marvel, Big Trouble in Little China was part of his presentation, specifically how he wanted to highlight the similarities between Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Kurt Russell's Jack Burton. Waititi said:

Big Trouble in Little China was one of those films where Jack Burton is a buffoon but he's lovable and you're with him the entire way. I thought Thor has got to be the one you want to be with in every scene.

You wouldn't think that an Asgardian god and truck driver would have much in common, but looking back at John Carpenter's 1986 classic and going off what's been revealed about Thor: Ragnarok so far, there are a few similarities. Both men are put in situations they don't want to be in; in Thor's case, that's being banished to the planet Sakaar and being forced to fight for his life. Much like Jack Burton and his truck, Thor also has an item of immense value taken from him in the new movie: his trusty hammer, Mjolnir. And as Taika Waititi noted, when Thor's charm and charisma is properly harnessed, he's fun to follow along with. Taking all that into account, I can see how there might be some Big Trouble in Little China vibes there.

Big Trouble in Little China poster

Taika Waititi also clarified during the interview that Thor: Ragnarok will not be a full-blown comedy, saying that a good portion of the movie's humor will mainly come from Thor and Bruce Banner/Hulk's relationship. He continued:

It's not really a comedy. There are some really great moments we're going to have in the film. Knowing that it was Bruce Banner and Thor on kind of a road trip journey, that lends itself to a tone because those guys are both really funny. I was like you gotta exploit Chris' comic abilities. He's so good and underutilized in that department. He's legitimately one of the funniest things in this film.

After taking an extended MCU break following Avengers: Age of Ultron to learn about the Infinity Stones and hang out with Darryl, Thor: Ragnarok will follow Thor as he attempts to stop Hela and the other main villains from unleashing the apocalyptic Raganarok event. Before he can do that, though, he'll have to survive battling The Hulk in a gladiator match overseen by Grandmaster

Thor: Ragnarok storms into theaters on November 3.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.