thor ragnarok friend from work

Thor: Ragnarok isn’t going to be like any previous Thor movie. That much was clear when the Thor: Ragnarok trailer was set to a rollicking synth soundtrack and Thor gave a scream of joy when he saw Hulk burst out of the arena.

“I know him! He’s a friend from work!” Thor shouts at the crowd and Jeff Goldblum‘s perplexed Grandmaster. It was the best line in the trailer — and I’d say it’s up there with Marvel’s greatest lines — and Chris Hemsworth says it wasn’t even in the script. That’s in line with the news that much of Thor: Ragnarok was improvised, but there’s more of a touching story behind the “friend from work” line than you’d think.

Director Taika Waititi is first and foremost a comedy director before a superhero director, hence his encouraging of his cast to improvise 80% of the movie. But it wasn’t classically trained actress Cate Blanchett or the blockbuster-headlining Hemsworth who improvised the trailer’s best line.

Hemsworth told Entertainment Weekly at their San Diego Comic-Con studio the unlikely story behind the “friend from work” line:

“We had a young kid, a Make-A-Wish kid on set that day. He goes, ‘You know, you should say, ‘He’s a friend from work!'”

That story just makes the line even better. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a charity organization that gives kids struggling with terminal diseases a “wish,” sometimes in the form of a trip, a visit from their favorite superhero, or something of the like. This unnamed kid’s wish was apparently to visit the set of Thor: Ragnarok, and he made more of an impact on the movie than he probably thought he would. Now, he’ll stand in the lexicon of greatest Marvel lines ever.

The line lends to the gleeful nature of Thor: Ragnarok that will seemingly help it stand apart from the previous two Thor movies. In fact, Waititi says that was intentional. He told io9 at Comic-Con:

“To be honest what I did is I tried to approach it as I do no other films. This is a standalone film. I loved Thor 1 and Thor 2, but if I wanted to make this film my own I couldn’t try to make a follow-up movie. I couldn’t do a ‘next episode,’ I wanted to do my own thing.”

Like how Guardians of the Galaxy profits from being its own little corner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it looks like Thor: Ragnarok will benefit from doing the same. One of my favorite things about Thor was how tight it was as a focused fish-out-of-water story, with Shakespearean elements thrown in. It was during Thor: The Dark World where the Thor movies began to get weighed down by exposition and clunky plotting, so I’m glad Waititi is making a return to Thor before the universe truly expanded and everything became “connected.” And it allows for cute little lines like “he’s a friend from work,” which I could not have seen being done in Thor: The Dark World.

Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters November 3.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: