Posted on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
Dead gods, cyborg clones, and the end of Asgard — Ragnarok could be a big deal. Marvel recently announced that the third Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok, is due for release in July 2017, with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston returning to reprise their roles of Thor and Loki. But what is Thor: Ragnarok, exactly?
“This is a very important movie for us in Phase 3,” said Marvel’s Kevin Feige when announcing the movie. “We plan on taking Thor to another level. It picks up where we leave Thor in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and impacts everything that comes after.”
So what are the events that will impact Thor and Asgard, and impact the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward into Phase 3? A couple different comics storylines give us some big hints. Below, we’ll explore Thor: Ragnarok in detail.
Note that there are many spoilers here for various comic book stories, and also for Thor: The Dark World.
There’s also a healthy amount of speculation below. We know that Thor shows up in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and we know that Heimdall (Idris Elba) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) also make an appearance. We don’t know if Thor will show up again until Ragnarok, and given that Hemsworth only has a couple more films in his contract after Age of Ultron, Marvel may need to make them count.
What Is Marvel’s Version of Ragnarok?
This is pretty complicated, as many modern Marvel stories tend to be. Ragnarok has come and gone from Asgard multiple times, but for our purposes the most recent iteration seems like the most important. The backstory features Thor inheriting the Odinpower after Odin basically dies during a battle with the fire demon Surtur. Puffed up with this power, Thor goes a little bit crazy, extending the rule of Asgard to rule of Earth, and spends a couple hundred years as an all-powerful and not-at-all cool deity. Eventually he basically said “oops!” and traveled back in time to wipe out that whole storyline.
So, as Thor gets back to Asgard, a variation on the quest from Lord of the Rings is playing out. The mold that created Mjolnir still exists, and could potentially be used to make other serious weapons. The dwarves who originally forged Mjolnir are carrying the mold around, seeking to throw it into the void between worlds. They nearly succeed, but Loki intercepts the mold. Loki has new weapons made, and with a force of powerful allies he attacks Thor and friends. In the first attack Mjolnir is broken, and the subsequent war basically destroys Asgard.
What Does Ragnarok Mean for Thor?
Possession of the Mjolnir mold and the weapons spawned from it gives Loki an almost impossible advantage over all other Asgardians, and he’s also got Surtur on his side. So Thor goes in search of a greater power: the full wisdom of Odin. That’s not so easily attained, however. To get it Thor plucks out both eyes and ultimately hangs himself from Yggdrasil, the world tree, to attain the full wisdom of his father.
Thor learns that a set of powerful beings, Those Who Sit Above in Shadow, have manipulated the Ragnarok cycle for aeons, feeding off the energy it creates. By causing the cycle to repeat over and over, Those Who Sit have cheapened and debased the sacrifices and achievements of Asgardians, essentially keeping them from their glorious deaths. Thor seeks to break the cycle, and to do so must sacrifice himself.
Just Be Honest — Does Thor Die Here, Or Not?
Yeah, he does. Well, kinda. Maybe? OK, not really. His actions kind of destroy all of Asgard, and leave him technically in limbo, basically floating in a void. Keep in mind that the Marvel Comics version of Thor is much more dependent upon the idea that Thor is occasionally bound to a human man, too, and that ends up being the key to his escape from the void. So he comes back in the comic stories, but there’s a pretty good story set up to kill off Thor. Or at least this version of him.
Now that we’ve set out some comic-based background, let’s get into some other details about an alternate Thor, the Odin of the MCU, and other characters who could appear.