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The problem with using the word “Ragnarok” in the context of Marvel Comics isn’t just that it is both a piece of real-world lore and something that has been used more than once as a device in comic story arcs. It’s also a person. Well, a thing that is almost a person. And that’s a good entry point into some character questions.

Isn’t There Another Ragnarok?

Indeed there is. During the Civil War storyline in 2006, Thor was missing in action due to the events of the Ragnarok story mentioned above. When he was in limbo, the rest of the Avengers had no idea what was going on with Thor. But this is comics, and that’s no reason not to feature the guy.

For Civil War, Mark Millar and Steve Mcniven crafted a storyline in which Tony Stark reveals a hair of Thor he has kept around for emergencies — not creepy at all, Tony — and which is then used to clone the Thunder God. But this isn’t just a clone of Thor. Stark, working in concert with Reed Richards and a Skrull masquerading as Hank Pym (that’s a whole other story), creates a cyborg Thor clone, which beats the crap out of heroes opposing the registration act. Cyborg Thor kicks around the Marvel Universe for a while, eventually taking on the name Ragnarok, experiencing destruction and recreation a couple times.

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So… Where’s Odin?

This is an interesting question, because we don’t know what’s happening with Odin right now in the MCU. Thor: The Dark World ends with Loki having assumed Odin’s form, but we don’t know where Odin actually is. When the film was released, Kevin Feige said “Like all of our plans at Marvel Studios, we know where we would like to go if given the opportunity. We have very good ideas, whether the All-Father is with us or not.”

And Anthony Hopkins, who played Odin in the first two movies, has added in a somewhat joking tone, “Maybe he’s dead. I’ve done two, that’s enough.”

Odin being dead could open up an opportunity for Thor to take Odin’s power, and in so doing lead towards one of a couple of the comic book storylines mentioned above. But that seems like a big assumption to make. Regardless, “what happened to Odin?” is going to be one of the big questions for a Thor sequel.

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What Other Characters Could Show Up?

There are two primary characters who could show up in the third Thor film. One is almost a certainty, while the other is possible, but far less likely.

The next obvious foes for Thor to fight, since he’s already kicked ass from a few of the nine realms, would include the Fire Demons of Muspelheim. Among those fire demons is Surtur, who as mentioned above (a) takes out Odin in one comics story and (b) is a big part of Ragnarok. Loki is a motivator for that whole “stealing the mold of Mjolnir” story, but Surtur is the muscle, the war machine.

And then there’s Beta Ray Bill. Like so many big Marvel Comics storylines, the six issues of Ragnarok feature a giant cast of characters that will probably never show up in the films. Beta Ray Bill, the alien with the horse-skull face who wields a Mjolnir-like hammer, is a big part of the comic book story, but it’s probably too much to hope that he’ll show up. (He could always be introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but that doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that film has in mind, from what little we know.)

Bill’s story is pretty big — it would be a shame to shoehorn him in as a mere supporting character, and so we don’t expect him to be around this time, if he shows up in the MCU at all. (We’d love to be surprised on this point.)

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OK, finally, with all those situations and characters laid out, How Does This All Fit Into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Continue Reading What Is Thor: Ragnarok? >>

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