Thor: Ragnarok has been making everyone’s list of most anticipated movies of Fall 2017 weeks ahead of its release date. With indie director Taika Waititi at the helm, there's been a lot of talk about the movie’s new direction for the admittedly lackluster Thor franchise. Of all the Marvel superhero trilogies, it’s had the most problematic reviews and box-office results.
Since Thor: Ragnarok’s international release in late October, speculative rumors have been put to rest, but there have been a whole new set of rumors and unconfirmed reports swirling around about Ragnarok – the story, the characters, and the future. It’s been shot as a stand-alone film, but we all know that Thor: Ragnarok has its place in the MCU3, a pivotal one at that. Some of the speculation now revolves around where the franchise and Asgard’s favorite characters are headed next.
Without revealing too much about the movie that will be released in North America on November 3, 2017, we’ve dug through the stories and reports to compile this list of chatter that we really hope doesn’t come true.
15 Lady Sif Dead!?
Lady Sif doesn’t appear in Thor: Ragnarok – that was confirmed weeks ago. But, where is she? And is she even still alive? That’s one of the rumors about her fate. Noooooo! We love Jaimie Alexander as the warrior woman of Asgard, and, in fact, since we also know that Natalie Portman won’t be returning to the MCU as Jane, we were kinda hoping that she and Thor might end up kindling the spark that saw them hook up in the comic book world. We get that the focus was on Valkyrie in Ragnarok, but are two awesome female warriors in one MCU movie just too much to ask? The best-case scenario is that Lady Sif somehow managed to escape Asgard when Hela’s invasion came knocking, or perhaps, she was banished while Loki was on the throne to protect his identity. Either way, she’s somewhere out there, battling it out on her own and waiting for a chance to jump back into the action with her fellow Asgardians. Hopefully. She’s appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so maybe, there are plans for her in the TV version of the Marvel universe... but no. We want her back in the MCU. Soon!
14 Heimdall – Still The Most Underused Character
It never really made sense to have an A-lister with such a great screen presence as Idris Elba in a bit part, even in the evermore crowded MCU. Why waste the talent and dimension it could give to the Thor movies? In the comics, Heimdall, brother of Sif, is a different character altogether, and he has a long history of adventures with Odin and Thor. Rumor has it that he does play a bigger role in Ragnarok. He's exiled himself from Asgard after Hela’s takeover and ends up on his own quest as a butt-kicking warrior type. We love it. But it’s still a minor subplot in the story, and his character’s development still isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Say it ain’t so. We need more of Heimdall on the front lines of the action – maybe even a movie of his own down the line.
13 No Spin-Off For Valkyrie
Tessa Thompson, who plays world-weary Asgardian warrior Valkyrie in the movie, told a press conference that she, Scarlett Johansson, and Elizabeth Olsen stormed Kevin Feige’s office to pitch an all-female superhero movie. Marvel Studio president Kevin Feige responded to Thompson's story by saying, “It was a pretty amazing moment to be somewhere and have your shoulder get tapped and turn around [and] every female hero we have is standing there going, ‘How about it?’ And I said, ‘Yes.'” Did he? It’s important to note that he didn’t actually mention greenlighting a specific movie or project. The word is that the idea will languish on the backburner forever, just like all those Black Widow movies they’ve been talking about – and doing nothing about – for years. Now, it’s not like there hasn’t been a recent example of a female superhero-led movie that grossed more than $100 million on its opening weekend or anything... (Wonder Woman, cough, cough.) So, here’s hoping that Kevin really does mean it this time. Valkyrie, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel... are you kidding? Get started soon!
12 The End Of The Warriors Three
Mere sidekicks in the Thor movies, the Warriors Three have a much bigger role in the Asgardian realm in the comic-book world. They’re Thor’s squad, his boozing buddies, his amigos. They make a return to the story in Ragnarok, but how do they end? There was a lot of talk when PR pics were released showing Hogun, played by Tadanobu Asano, gearing up for battle with Asgardian warriors. Where are Zachary Levi's Fandral and Ray Stevenson's Volstagg? Are they already…? Ragnarok, after all, is the end of Asgard – even in the original Nordic myths. Does that mean we’ve seen the last of the Warriors Three? We’re hoping they somehow make it out alive. We never got to know them like we wanted to.
11 Thor The Comedian
Everything we’ve heard so far about the movie talks about Chris Hemsworth’s comedic chops in portraying Thor as that golden boy we all knew from school – beautiful, physically gifted, and charming, but maybe lacking in the intellectual department. He gets the good jobs, but his bad judgment shows he may not really be up for it all the time. It’s a great persona if you’re just going for the laughs, but Thor is supposed to be a mighty hero and all that, too. We’ve heard whispers that, at times at least, his character goes too far over into comedy and neglects the warrior we all love to see in action. Let’s hope these are just the words of a disgruntled few and not the truth about our fave Asgardian. After all, The Avengers will need all the help they can get for Infinity Wars.
10 Still No Hulk Solo
Like most everyone, we were excited when we saw the first trailers for Thor: Ragnarok and saw that the script had taken a page or three or four out of the Planet Hulk comic series. Part of the main action of the story occurs on Sakaar, the planet where the Hulkster finds himself a kind of prizefighter in the gladiator ring. It was a welcome change from seeing Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk only as an ensemble player in The Avengers flicks – always the sidekick to someone else’s story. In Ragnarok, we finally get a better chance to know both Banner and the Big Green Guy -- who actually talks in this outing. So, does that mean Marvel is ready to take another stab at telling the Hulk’s incredible story on its own? Sadly, Kevin Feige seems intent on spreading the rumor that it’s not going to happen, due partly because of shared rights to the story with Universal Pictures. One day... maybe.
9 What About Ragnarok?
As a former indie film director, Taika Waititi was known for stories that combined action, laughs, and real emotion, as in Boy, his indie breakout flick. We would've thought that the story of Thor losing his homeland, most of his comrades, and his childhood friends and having to fight his way back from oblivion was worthy of at least a few ups and downs. But, from the word on the street, Waititi has pretty much made the Asgard thread of the plot subordinate to the traveling heroes road-trip trope that's getting laughs and garnering praise. It’s great when directors want to push the envelope in a new direction, and we get that he was hired to do just that and to make a stand-alone movie, but Ragnarok is, by definition, about the end of Asgard. We hope he didn’t make Ragnarok into a subplot in its own story.
8 Is Hela Another Throwaway Villain?
Cate Blanchett looks insane in the clips and PR pics we’ve seen so far. The costume manages to exude sexy, powerful, and evil all at the same time, and her delivery seems a perfect match for the image. But, as the central villain of the story, she’s not in the movie nearly as much as you’d want her to be. The story is split into two threads, hence less screen time for all. Fair enough, but is she just another throwaway Marvel villain? We hope the word on the street isn’t true. That’s one stark contrast between the seemingly unkillable DCEU villains and the MCU, where they're set up and fall down within the same movie, with few exceptions. She’s not on the cast list for Infinity Wars, but there’s still room to bring her back at some point, we hope.
7 Does The Action Lack A Little Punch?
The film looks incredible, so we hear, but there are disturbing whispers that the action scenes aren’t all they could be. A story about the destruction of Asgard, one that includes the spectacular gladiator battles of Sakaar, should prioritize action scenes. But, with director Taika Waititi’s emphasis on the humor and buddy aspects of the plot and despite impressive visuals, the seminal battle scenes just don’t have the gravitas that they should. The battle for Asgard just doesn’t feel as moving or climactic as we’d expect. It destroys the world of the Norse gods as we’ve come to know it. Shouldn’t we feel... something? The rest of the movie sounds so inventive in its approach to the MCU, but did we have to sacrifice visceral battle scenes?
6 Loki Changing Course
With Thor: Ragnarok, we’re facing the end of the line of MCU3, and – gasp – some of the heroes and other characters we’ve come to cherish. With the emphasis on really just a few characters in the movie, we’re hoping that doesn’t mean Marvel is in stone-cold house-cleaning mode. Will there be a future for anything leftover from Asgard as we know it? Even Loki, who used to be so deliciously evil, is now venturing more and more toward the good-guy side of the line. We’ve already heard from many sources that Loki plays both sides of the conflict in Infinity Wars or tries to anyway, but we think we know that he ends up opposing Thanos. We’re just not ready to part with evil Loki, who's one of the MCU’s greatest villains even if the competition is thin.
5 Karl Urban Deserves Better
Karl Urban is a talented actor who should really have his own action series by now. Sure, he’s had big parts in the Star Trek series and countless movie roles, but he’s never been given his chance at a superhero role on the big screen. Although he’s got a highly visible part in Ragnarok as Skurge, the traitorous Asgardian who sides with Hela over Thor, it’s not a very important character in the movie. He looks great in the role, which is basically the sniveling cowardly traitor you’d think he would be. But he’s not in the movie very much. Add to that, we’ve heard he tries on a terrible British accent, and it sounds like a weaker moment in what's said to be a blockbuster flick.
4 A Female Thor?
To be honest, we’re a little torn on this one. After all, a woman could look pretty hot in the Asgardian armor as we’ve already seen with Jaimie Alexander in the role of Lady Sif. During a press tour to promote the movie’s international release, actor Karl Urban speculated that the time might be right for a female version of the Asgardian hero, and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige wouldn’t rule it out. In the comics, Jane picks up Mjolnir for a turn in the role, so there’s a precedent for it. But still... Thor: Ragnarok finally gives us a fuller version of Chris Hemsworth’s stellar turn in the role, and by all accounts, he’s terrific. Surely, they can wait till the end of MCU4 to experiment with Thor’s persona?
3 Is This The Beginning Of The End For Thor And Loki?
Thor: Ragnarok is the end of the planned trilogy, granted. And we totally get that the movie has to tie up some ends and leave a cleaner slate in preparation for MCU4. Director Taika Waititi has been cagey on any future for the dysfunctional Asgardian brothers, and Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige hasn’t said anything at all that’s specific about MCU4. Could Thor and Loki be relegated to bit roles in other superhero stories? Or maybe written out of the MCU narrative altogether? This one will hurt if it proves to be true. Feige has mentioned on several occasions that MCU4 will be about new beginnings and that all good fictional stories have an end – not so much in the comic book world, though, we’ll point out. And what’s preventing a whole new set of Thor adventures – or even Thor and The Incredible Hulk bromance pics? Maybe, if Ragnarok does better than expected, they’ll at least consider it. Here’s hoping.
2 Thor And Valkyrie – Not To Be
With Jane (i.e. Natalie Portman) out of the way, we were hoping that sparks might fly between Thor and Valkyrie. But those hopes seem to be in vain, according to the latest news. Tessa Thompson plays the character as a disillusioned exile from Asgard, drunk a lot of the time, but still a warrior waiting to be called back into the action. Critics are praising Tessa’s portrayal of the kicka$$ Asgardian, who begins as Thor’s enemy and ends up as a comrade-in-arms, and the actress has even talked about the fact she feels Valkyrie is bi-sexual, which opens up a whole new set of... possibilities. But no. From what we’ve heard, it’s all platonic between the Asgardians. Too bad, or just not yet? Is there any spark for the future?
1 Easter Egg Rumors
Even in the trailer, you can see what Kevin Feige is calling his favorite Easter Egg of the movie. Along the sides of the Grand Master’s palace, there are the heads of former Grand Master Champions, including Beta Ray Bill. It’s not the first Easter egg in the MCU that references the superhero. Does that mean Feige has plans for him? Beta Ray Bill is a character that first appeared in the comics in 1983. It's a long story – as such stories always are – but in the end, Bill is a Korbinite who manages to separate Mjolnir from Thor, and claims the hammer for himself. Odin gets involved, trying to teach Thor a lesson (he does a lot of that in the comics.) Mjolnir is returned to Thor, but Beta Ray Bill gets another hammer, Stormbreaker, and he ends up a close, close friend of Lady Sif. That's a few too many complications for the MCU, in our humble opinion. He can be a reference to the comics, but let’s leave it at that.
Sources: christiantoday.com; slashfilm.com; dailymail.co.uk