The following story contains MASSIVE spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok. Seriously, stop reading now if you do not want to know how this movie ends.
By the end of Taika Waititi's new Marvel movie, Thor: Ragnarok, the end of Asgard -- as predicted in the title of the film -- has come to pass. Knowing it's the only way to stop Hela (Cate Blanchett), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) resurrect Surtur and unleash him on Asgard. Thor has come to realize that "Asgard" really consists of the people from his home, not the place, itself. With that in mind, Thor piles all of the surviving Asgardians aboard a ship, and blasts off with them into the cosmos, setting a course for Earth.
It's during the mid-credit sequence, however, where things get really interesting. Let's talk about what happens, and what we think it means for Avengers: Infinity War and beyond.
Only one of the two Thor: Ragnarok mid-credits sequences seems to have a greater effect on the MCU, as a whole. (The second one is a cute Jeff Goldblum comedic bit.) In the first sequence, Thor and Loki are discussing the plan to head back to Earth. Loki questions whether it's really a good idea for Thor to bring HIM back to Earth, seeing as how one of the last times we saw him there, he was opening up a portal in the sky, through which aliens were swooping down and destroying Manhattan.
Before the step brothers can finish their conversation, though, a ship that's significantly larger than Thor's current craft hovers over them. We get a wide-angle shot of the massive ship... and then nothing.
We assume that this ship belongs to Thanos. Though we are given NO SUCH confirmation that this is Thanos and his ship. In fact, when we asked Thor: Ragnarok screenwriter Eric Pearson if that's Thanos' ship, he dodged the answer, saying:
So, our "educated guess" is that it's Thanos' ship. Why would Thanos be in that area? I think that we have the answer to that, but it means we have to read into the footage that was shown at D23 and San Diego Comic-Con... the Avengers: Infinity War trailer that has yet to see the light of day. I'm going to break that down on the next page, just in case people who haven't seen that trailer yet want to be protected from what is shown.
When the Avengers: Infinity War footage begins, the Guardians of the Galaxy are arriving at the scene of an area that has been devastated by a battle. Before they can figure out what is happening, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) lands on the "windshield" of their ship. He has been beaten, badly. They pull him into their craft and revive him... and he's confused by who the team is.
Since Thor is in relative good shape when Thor: Ragnarok ends (sans that missing eye), we're going to do the math and deduce that if the ship is Thanos' ship, then Thor confronted him, but Thanos made quick work of him, and left the God of Thunder for dead... floating in the cosmos.
Why would Thanos be going after Thor? Well, he wouldn't. He'd be going after Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Specifically, he'd be going after something Loki stole.
Taika Waititi included a deliberate shot of Loki, near the end of Ragnarok, as he sprints through Odin's trophy room. Loki stops... and eyeballs the Tesseract. We all know that Loki has a long history with the Tesseract. He understands its power. And he's super quick to double cross any ally he might have -- especially his brother. So, we assume that Loki stole that Tesseract from his late father's throne room. And since the Tesseract is one of the Infinity Stones that Thanos seeks to acquire for his Gauntlet, he likely showed up looking for it, and tore through Thor and Hulk to try and secure it.
Why do we think that? Because the Avengers: Infinity War trailer also includes a shot of Loki, kneeling down in front of someone off screen and holding up the Tesseract, as if to turn it over to a much higher-powered being.
We know that, in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos (Josh Brolin) will be on a mission to collect the Infinity Stones, seeing as how he currently has none. The Collector (Benicio del Toro) has a few of them, meaning Thanos will have to stop there to acquire some. But I'm willing to bet that early on in Infinity War, we'll see the continuation of the scene that starts in the credits of Thor: Ragnarok. And the two strongest Avengers -- Thor and Hulk -- will be among the first to witness just how powerful Thanos is while on this quest. It's be a hell of a way to open Joe and Anthony Russo's massive superhero extravaganza.
Do you think our deductions add up? Are you dying to see that Infinity War trailer? We'll have it on the site as soon as it drops. Until then, brush up on all of our Upcoming Marvel Movies by thumbing through our extensive guide.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.