Spoilers ahead for Thor: Ragnarok. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you may want to check out one of our other stories.
With Thor: Ragnarok approaching its one week anniversary of release, the threequel is still at the top of the box office and audience's minds. Taika Waititi's blockbuster was a game changer for the Thor franchise, giving the God of Thunder far more humor, color, and ridiculous characters than ever before. Ragnarok also featured a fantastic new villain in the form of Cate Blanchett's Hela, who was retconned into the narrative as Thor and Loki's long lost (evil) sister. Waititi recently revealed how Star Wars inspired him to put this revelation early in Ragnarok's runtime, especially in order to avoid comparisons to Empire Strikes Back.
We thought, 'We can't ever compete with Luke and Darth, which is the greatest reveal ever. Why bother? Let's get it out of the way early, because it's actually not the most important thing. What's more important is the fact that Asgard was built on lies.
He's got a point. Putting the revelation of Hela's familial connection to the other characters toward the beginning of Ragnarok allowed the exposition to get out of the way, and the true confrontation to begin. The threequel only had to squeeze in these moments of information one or two times, instead keeping the conflict and prophecy of Ragnarok at the front of the narrative.
Taika Waititi's comments to Empire proves how many potential landmines Thor: Ragnarok sidestepped. Saving the reveal of Hela's parentage until later in the film would have made the device seem cliche and somewhat predictable. Plus, no one wants to be compared to Empire Strikes Back. Because while countless sequels have taken inspiration from arguably the best Star Wars installment, revealing an unexpected family connection to the villain may be a bit too on the nose. Instead, the bomb was dropped by Anthony Hopkins' Odin right before Hela's entrance, allowing the plot to move forward quickly. This type of strategy likely also contributed to Ragnarok's short runtime.
It certainly seems like Taika Waititi made the right choice with Hela's reveal, as Thor: Ragnarok is making a ton of money at the box office, while also becoming the franchise's biggest critical success. The change in tone and Chris Hemworth's performance have both been a welcomed change to and otherwise far more dreary set of films, putting Ragnarok on a level similar to the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. And considering Hemsworth's is likely up after Avengers 4, maybe this excitement about the character will inspire him to sign back up for more installments in the MCU.