thor 3 stellan skarsgard

The blockbuster as we used to know it died in 2008 when the credits rolled on the first screening of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. When Samuel L. Jackson popped up as Nick Fury to recruit Tony Stark into the Avengers, the shape of mainstream, populist cinema changed. The shared cinematic universe became the thing  every single movie studio chased. Marvel Studios has created the new blockbuster template.

While Jackson was the initial spurt of glue that held the Marvel Cinematic Universe together, Stellan Skarsgard‘s Dr. Eric Selvig has been equally important. He’s the vital stitch that keeps the fantastical world of the Thor films tethered to the Earth and its mortal heroes, the guy who steps in to explain a bunch of wacky nonsense to everyone in the audience. And now, we’ve learned that we won’t see him in Thor: Ragnarok.

Speaking with Den of Geek, the renowned Swedish actor revealed that he’s sitting out the next Thor adventure, but his time in the MCU isn’t over quite yet:

“I have a five-film deal with them, and they still have one option […] Thor 3 is not on my slate, but maybe the next Avengers.”

For the record, Skarsgard has appeared in Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Each of those films has tasked him with lending humor and warmth to exposition – even though virtually every word out of his mouth is science fiction nonsense that exists only to further the plot, Dr. Selvig has become a genuinely likable presence. Even when he adds nothing to the story (see: Age of Ultron), it’s nice to see him pop up just to say hello.

Since Thor: Ragnarok will be a buddy movie featuring the Odinson and the Hulk that takes place almost entirely in outer space and the other realms, it makes sense that Selvig wouldn’t put in an appearance. If he somehow got warped into space, he’d officially have the worst luck of any character in the MCU.

Over the course of four films, Selvig has been brainwashed, humiliated, imprisoned, and forced to participate in the terrible magic cave plot from Age of Ultron. The man deserves a day off. If he’s going to be one of the 67 characters featured in Avengers: Infinity War, he’s going to need a little break first. Seriously. He’s been through enough. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Selvig gets killed off in his final MCU appearance because it’s the only way to top the neverending stream of misery that is his life.

Thor: Ragnarok films later this year under the direction of Taika Waititi for November 3, 2017 release date.

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