Thor: Ragnarok is the seventeenth film instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). One of the main reasons why the MCU has been so incredibly popular is that nearly all of the films act as a singular chapter in one larger story. Not watching one of the films is like skipping over a chapter in a book you're reading: you might be okay in the end, but you're going to miss out on lots of details as the plot continues to unfold.
To that end, Thor: Ragnarok could actually be one of the most important films of the MCU, because it not only introduces the sixth and final Infinity Stone (a recurring plot line through many films of the MCU), but it's also the last film before Avengers: Infinity War, which is when Marvel will undertake the incredible task of bringing all their separate film franchises together into one massive, blockbuster film.
Naturally, because Thor: Ragnarok is a key "setup chapter" before we get to the real climax of the MCU, the folks at Marvel have tried to keep as many details about the plot under wraps, helping create even more excitement about this film.
But that hasn't stopped fans from coming up with a variety of film theories, some of which are based on some very sound deductions. To that end, here are 15 fan theories about Thor: Ragnarok, which could actually end up being true:
15 Thor Was Off Looking For Thanos During The Events Of Captain America: Civil War
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we all saw Thor leave the Avengers at the end of the film, to learn more about the visions he saw when taking a dip in the "Waters of Sight" reflection pool.
When Thor: Ragnarok begins, it's believed that the film will reveal that Thor has been traversing the universe to investigate the fact that so many Infinity Stones have been revealed in the past few years, through the various films in the MCU to date.
The theory goes that, as Thor begins to piece together clues about the Infinity Stones, he'll also see how they all begin to tie back to Thanos. While Thanos has largely been the "shadow puppet master" in previous films to date, we have every reason to believe that Thor: Ragnarok will serve as a "prequel" of sorts for Avengers: Infinity War, in which Thanos begins to accumulate the Infinity Stones and form the Infinity Gauntlet.
So, it would only make sense that, at some point during his quest, Thor starts to see Thanos as the common denominator between all the Infinity Stones, and has included him as part of his investigation.
14 The Hulk Has Become A Gladiator For Entertainment On Sakaar
Also building off the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we saw the Hulk steal a Quinjet, seemingly to exile himself from the rest of a world that he simply cannot trust himself to be a part of.
Based on the trailers for Thor: Ragnarok, we learn that the Hulk is not only competing as a gladiator on the planet Sakaar, but might actually live there as well – further evidenced by the exchange between Thor and the Hulk, when they're sitting in what appears to be the Hulk's apartment.
It's been theorized that, after stealing a Quinjet, the Hulk was transported through one of the wormholes, which other parts of the universe have used to dump their trash onto the junkyard planet of Sakaar. Since the Hulk is basically looking for something of a fresh start in life, it appears that he happens to meet the Grandmaster on Sakaar, who provides him the win-win proposition of spending the rest of his days competing in a gladiatorial arena. That allows the Hulk to have some purpose with his life, while simultaneously providing entertainment to the Grandmaster.
Marvel fans are well aware of the fact that this subplot is a nod to the famous "Planet Hulk" Marvel Comics storyline. The folks at Marvel Studios didn't feel that they could have made a stand alone movie exclusively dedicated to telling the "Planet Hulk" story, but they still wanted to do something around it for the fans.
13 Loki Is Responsible For Hela's Release
It's safe to say that the driving force behind the majority of Loki's mischief is his desire to be treated, and coronated, as the king he was supposed to be by his birthright. That's what helped him get Thor exiled in the original Thor film, and that's what caused him to strike a deal with Thanos and gain control of the Chitauri army to invade Earth in The Avengers.
At the end of Thor: The Dark World, Loki has appeared to usurp the throne of Asgard away from Odin, his adoptive stepfather. And it appears that, since doing so, he's been spending time enjoying the spoils of being king of the realm, without understanding all the responsibilities associated with it.
In the course of doing so, Thor: Ragnarok producer Brad Winderbaum is on record as saying that "[Loki] failed to realize the threats that were just over the horizon, Hela being the biggest and most terrible one of all." We're not yet sure where Hela has been all this time, and how or why she's re-entered the picture. But, it seems like her return was enabled by Loki's negligence.
12 Doctor Strange Warns Thor Of Hela's Return
We already had plenty of reason to believe that Doctor Strange would be involved in Thor: Ragnarok, based on the post-credits scene at the end of Doctor Strange, in which he promises to help Thor find Odin in exchange for the promise of all Asgardians staying in their own realm, and not messing in Earth's affairs.
But one of the international trailers for Thor: Ragnarok may have revealed that Doctor Strange has more of a role in the film, in addition to helping Thor find his father. Those trailers start with a voice over by Strange telling Thor: "I sense a great change in your future; destiny has dire plans for you, my friend."
We can reasonably deduce that Strange is foreshadowing the return of Hela, the goddess of death, and that her return could signal the beginning of Ragnarok, which is essentially the destruction and rebirth of the universe.
Thor responds to Strange by saying: "I have dire plans for destiny," but we're not sure if Thor, when responding with that statement, has any ideas of the magnitude of chaos that Hela is about to unleash.
11 Loki Asks The Grandmaster For Help Against Hela
In the trailers for Thor: Ragnarok, we see the Grandmaster watching the gladiator battle between Thor and the Hulk with great interest, as he's pitting what he thinks is a new gladiator against his reigning champion. However, the wrinkle in this scene is the fact that Loki is sitting on the same chair, next to the Grandmaster, also watching the battle. What does that mean?
The fan theories around this state that Loki begins to realize what the return of Hela –which was indirectly facilitated by Loki not being able to handle all the responsibilities entrusted to the king of Asgard – was his fault, and he needs help in trying to subdue Hela.
As a result, Loki might reach out to the Grandmaster, asking him to help find a capable warrior to battle the goddess of death. The Grandmaster might tell Loki that he has someone in mind (which would, theoretically, be the Hulk), and invite him to watch the Hulk presumably beat up on a new challenger... who just happens to be Thor.
10 The Grandmaster Is A Celestial
Even if it's just for the first act of the movie, the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, seems to have a large role in this film. What else do we know about the Grandmaster?
Many fans believe that the Grandmaster is a "Celestial," which are the some of the oldest entities in the MCU. Generally speaking, the Celestials are ancient beings who were responsible for first creating and ruling the universe. It's fair to think of them like a cross between the Titans in Greek mythology, and some type of ancient space gods. We first hear of the Celestials when they're mentioned by Taneleer Tivan (aka "The Collector") in Guardians of the Galaxy.
As far as the Grandmaster, he's the ruler of Sakaaar, who basically enjoys partaking in gambling on games of chance, especially when those games involve "manipulating lesser life-forms."
9 Thor, Loki, And Doctor Strange Work Together To Find Odin
We've mentioned that Loki's recklessness may directly be responsible for Hela's return, and her quest to conquer Asgard. And like any kid who's bitten off more than he can chew, and doesn't realize the consequences of his actions until it's too late, Loki presumably goes looking for his dad to help clean up the mess he's made.
There likely won't be much love lost between Thor and Loki, considering the former thinks the latter died, and probably won't be too pleased to find out that, instead of being dead, he's actually taken the throne of Asgard.
Regardless, we already know that Thor has enlisted the help of Doctor Strange to help find Odin somewhere in New York City. Based on the numerous on-set photos that have been leaked, it appears that Loki has also joined those two in the search for the "Allfather." It's during that search that we believe the three of them first encounter Hela, leading to their first battle, resulting in Hela destroying Mjölnir and sending Thor to Sakaar.
8 Valkyrie Will Be Thor's Love Interest
Despite their romance in the first two films of the Thor franchise, we know that Natalie Portman will not be a part of Thor: Ragnarok. It's believed that, at some point in the movie, they will address why Thor and Jane Foster are no longer together.
While it was first rumored that she also would not be in Thor: Ragnarok, it does appear that Sif, one of Warriors Three, who has had something of an unrequited interest in Thor, will appear in the film. However, it appears that her feelings for Thor will remain one-sided.
Rather, many fans speculate that Valkyrie, the film's female lead, played by Tessa Thompson, will eventually become Thor's love interest. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased that the fact that Valkyrie herself is from Asgard "will create a bond between [her and Thor]."
Plus, there hasn't really been a film in the MCU where the hero didn't have a love interest, so someone had to fill the void that the absence of the Jane Foster character created.
7 Thor Will Regain Mjölnir By The End Of The Movie
One of the most climatic scenes in the first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok was Thor hurling Mjölnir, his magical hammer, towards Hela, and Hela capturing it with one hand and subsequently shattering it. Given the power we've associated with Mjölnir, and with Thor wielding Mjölnir, we immediately get the sense that Thor is in for the battle of his life, if his adversary is able to crush the enchanted hammer with her bare hands.
Also, the Russo Brothers, who directed Captain America: Civil War, and are signed on to direct Avengers: Infinity War, posted a photo with Mjölnir on the set of the latter film, stating the following in the caption:
"We know that Thor is apparently without his hammer for the final showdown with Hela. Instead, the Son of Odin will take an axe called Jarnbjorn into battle. That’s a mighty weapon on its own, and Thor has a long history with Jarnbjorn that predates Mjolnir."
But in the same post, the Russo Brothers also tease that "we’d still put money down on Thor getting his hammer back before teaming up with the Avengers again." There are a variety of theories on how Thor gets the hammer back, including the idea that Taika Waititi also incorporates elements of the "Ultimate Thor" storyline, or Doctor Strange is able to help him get it back with the help of the Eye of Agamotto (the Time Stone).
6 Heimdall Had The Soul Stone All Along
Outside of setting up the epic battle with the mad titan Thanos, one of the major plot lines of Thor: Ragnarok will be the introduction of the sixth and final Infinity Stone: the soul stone. There's been no mention of the stone in the MCU to date, but there's plenty of reason to believe that it's possessed by one of the most powerful beings in Asgard: Heimdall, the all-seeing and all-hearing sentry, and the guardian of the Bifröst.
In Thor: The Dark World, Heimdall states that he has the ability to see all the souls in all nine realms. If you go back to actual Norse mythology, Odin gives Heimdall his gift of sight. Wouldn't it make sense if Marvel writers decided that Odin gave Heimdall the soul stone for safekeeping, thus enabling all of Heimdall's powers?
Plus, in Thor's visions in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Heimdall's eyes are white and blank, missing their usual orange hue. Perhaps that's some type of foresight that Thanos will somehow take the soul stone from Heimdall, as part of his quest to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet? That theory seems to make a lot of sense.
5 Asgard Is Destroyed In The Film
Both of the first major trailers for Thor: Ragnarok show Hela coming to Asgard, and laying waste to the realm and its inhabitants. That's not an entirely crazy idea, considering that we've seen other villains, like Malekith and the Dark Elves in Thor: The Dark World, coming into Agard and causing some serious destruction.
Plus, the concept of "Ragnarök" can loosely be translated into the Norse version of the Armageddon or the end of the world. If you add the fact that "Ragnarök" is literally in the film's title, and we briefly see the destruction caused by Hela's return to Asgard, is it possible that she fully destroys "the realm eternal?"
We have further reason to believe this, considering that Avengers: Infinity War is supposed to pick up right after the events of Thor: Ragnarok, and based on the leaked trailer for Infinity War, we see an unconscious – and seemingly defeated – Thor floating in space, and landing on the windshield of the windshield of the spaceship flown by the Guardians of the Galaxy. Could it be that he's floating in space because his home realm has been destroyed?
4 Odin Dies While Battling Hela
Revenge is the ultimate motivator for many, and is the foundation of many movie plots. So, why wouldn't director Taika Waititi use it for Thor: Ragnarok as well?
We already have the suspicion that Thor, Loki, and Doctor Strange will be searching for Odin, who's presumed to be lost in New York City somewhere after Loki took the throne of Asgard. We also think that Thor's, and likely Loki's, first encounter with Hela will take place in New York City as well.
So, many people have theorized that when those two first encounter Hela on Earth (in New York), that encounter will take place after they already found Odin. The Allfather and his two sons will try to subdue Hela, and Odin may die in the process. From there, Hela will destroy Mjölnir and send Thor to Sakaar. A depressed Thor will allow himself to get captured by Valkyrie, and he will only find the motivation to avenge his father's death after running into the Hulk again.
3 Thor Absorbs Odin's Power To Battle Hela
As we've mentioned, Thor's first encounter and battle with Hela in New York does not go well. It appears that he watches Mjölnir being destroyed, and possibly his father being murdered by Hela. Actor Chris Hemsworth is even on record as saying "[Thor] gets his a*s kicked in this film."
So, in order to have a reasonable chance against an antagonist who is literally the embodiment of death, it appears that he's going to need some reinforcements. But, that doesn't necessarily mean his "Revengers" team of the Hulk, Valkyrie, and Loki will be his reinforcements.
Rather, based on the clip we saw in the most recent trailers for the film, where it looks like he's got lightning shooting out of him and his eyes are glowing, it appears that he might've absorbed the "Odin-Force" – the power that enabled Odin to be the most powerful of all the Asgardians.
Loyal Marvel fans pointed out how this version of Thor seemed to closely resemble "Rune King Thor" from the comics. This version of Thor was able to tap into the power of the Odinforce. Perhaps that's the equalizer he'll need to stand a chance against Hela?
2 Loki Betrays Thor, With The Hopes That Thanos Will Spare Him
Before walking into Thor: Ragnarok, we know two things: Loki's central motivation is always based on his self-interest, and in the leaked trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, he appears to be kneeling down as a sign of submission, while handing the Tesseract to Thanos.
Fans have speculated that as the events of Thor: Ragnarok unfold, Thanos' involvement becomes more prevalent, and sensing the fact that Thanos will attempt to assemble the Infinity Guantlet, Loki will double-cross his brother and do Thanos' bidding, in an attempt to save himself from Thanos' impending wrath.
We already have the precedent of Loki working with Thanos from The Avengers, when Thanos empowered Loki with his staff – which had the mind stone inside of it, as we later discovered – and the Chitauri army, in exchange for retrieving the Tesseract from Earth.
So while it seems like Loki might be something of a protagonist in Thor: Ragnarok, we have plenty of reason to believe that he'll show his true colors by the end of the film.
1 Thor Is Not Able To Defeat Hela By The End Of The Film
Marvel Studios has been very tight-lipped about the potential for Cate Blanchett – who portrays Hela – to appear in Avengers: Infinity War, because her involvement could result in an enormous plot spoiler for the much-anticipated film.
However, there's a growing belief that Hela will, in fact, be in Avengers: Infinity War, which gives even more credence to the idea that the film will be largely based on "The Infinity Gauntlet" storyline from the comics. In the storyline, Thanos assembles the Infinity Gauntlett, which is essentially a cosmic glove that is able to help him wield all six Infinity Stones, and aims to remake the entire universe, in a bid to impress Hela and win her affection.
So what does this mean for Thor: Ragnarok? Basically, that despite the efforts of Thor and "The Revengers," Hela is not defeated by the end of the film, and she will re-appear early in Avengers: Infinity War, as the central motivation for Thanos to begin his quest to gather the Infinity Stones.