SYFY WIRE's Infinity War Roundup is your go-to guide for everything you need to know about Marvel's massive superhero crossover, Avengers: Infinity War. In the weeks leading up to Infinity War's April 27 premiere, SYFY WIRE will be rounding up every important character arc and plot detail you need to know from the past 10 years and 18 movies.
Today's entry will take a look at all of the main characters from the films that feature everyone's favorite Norse God of Hammers — Thor.
Let's take a look at the MCU lives of Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, Heimdall, and Bruce "The Hulk" Banner thus far.
THOR (CHRIS HEMSWORTH)
Thor, son of Odin, God of Thunder, Prince of Asgard (Chris Hemsworth), began his MCU tenure in the aptly titled Thor (2011). He was powerful — but he was also cocky and brash. Right as he was about to accept the mantle of king from his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the celebration was crashed by some thieving Frost Giants. In attempting to get revenge on them, Thor made a bad situation worse and was banished to Midgard, aka Earth, and stripped of his powers by his father for being "a vain, greedy, cruel boy" until Thor could prove his worth.
Talk about a timeout.
Thor proceeded to go on a full-out "fish out of water" journey without his powers and without his hammer, Mjolnir. He's usually able to toss his trusty weapon anywhere, and it always returns to his hand. It's indestructible (or so we think), and someone has to prove truly worthy in order to lift it. Odin tossed the hammer to Earth, as well, where it caught the notice of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and S.H.I.E.L.D.
Thor met the scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), explained to her that he comes from a place where science and magic are the same thing, drank coffee, smashed a coffee mug, met Coulson, and realized the power of sacrifice. Asgard was in trouble thanks to Thor's adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his nefarious scheme, but thankfully Thor proved himself worthy in time to regain Mjolnir, get his cape back, and save the day. Loki vanished into the depths of space but resurfaced to cause Midgard-based mischief in The Avengers (2012).
Though he destroyed the Bifrost (the means to get back to Earth) in the film, Thor found a different way to get to Earth in order to team up with the Avengers and stop his brother. Once the invasion of Earth had been stopped, Thor returned to Asgard with Loki as well as the Tesseract, which contained the Space Stone.
He was then off to repair damage to the nine realms in Thor: The Dark World (2013) and became embroiled in the attempted return of the dark elves. He reunited with Jane and brought her to Asgard after she discovered the Aether, which turned out to be another Infinity Stone, the Reality Stone. Thor's mother Frigga (Rene Russo) died, and Loki seemingly died as well. Thor left Asgard to go to Earth at the film's end, kissed Jane, and was hugely unaware that Loki was still alive and sitting on Odin's throne.
Back to action in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Thor helped the team to take out HYDRA, bragged about how great Jane was, got Stan Lee drunk with some Asgardian alcohol, and led a party game where all of the Avengers tried to lift his hammer. They were all unsuccessful, aside from Steve Rogers — Steve actually managed to move Mjolnir the tiniest bit. Thor wasn't happy.
While trying to stop Ultron, Thor took a side trip to a mystical pool where he became the first Avenger to truly learn anything about the Infinity Stones. After Ultron was dispatched, he left to go in search of the rest of the Stones. He was also very impressed when Vision was able to lift Mjolnir, and trusted him implicitly afterward — he even trusted Vision to keep the Mind Stone in his head.
He was still on the search for the Stones when Thor: Ragnarok (2017) came around, but he hadn't found any. Jane dumped him at around this time and, like, everybody totally knows. He took a break from the search and returned to Asgard, uncovered that Loki had been pretending to be Odin, and then set off with Loki to find Odin. After some help from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they found him, and Odin told Thor that Asgard is a people, not a place. Right after saying that, Odin died, and Thor's surprise sister Hela (Cate Blanchett), Goddess of Death, appeared. She quickly conquered Asgard, banished Thor and Loki to a junk planet called Sakaar, and destroyed Mjolnir. Oh, the hammer-nity! (Not sorry.)
On Sakaar, Thor was reunited with Hulk during a gladiatorial match, and they eventually managed to escape the planet with a former Asgardian Valkyrie-in-exile (Tessa Thompson). They all took the fight to Hela, were eventually joined by Loki, and Thor realized that hammer or no hammer, he was still the God of Thunder. His team of "Revengers" managed to save the day, and Thor got another lesson in sacrifice — in order to truly destroy Hela's evil, Asgard itself had to be destroyed. Ragnarok had to take place for Asgard's people to survive, so that's the path Thor chose. Asgard is a people, not a place.
Asgard exploded as Thor, the Revengers, the people of Asgard, and some aliens from Sakaar watched from a nearby spaceship. The realm was gone, but the people survived. Having learned the true meaning of leadership, at last, Thor finally took the throne. He may have been missing an eye (thanks to Hela), but he was every inch a king. Soon after that, Thor and Loki watched as a much larger ship appeared behind their own.
Right before Infinity War: Thor is still in space. He's missing an eye and his hammer. Odin seemed to recommend that a nice spot in Norway would be ideal for the Asgardians to resettle themselves, but at the moment they're all still in space. It has been confirmed that the ship that appeared in the credits of Thor: Ragnarok belonged to Thanos.
LOKI (TOM HIDDLESTON)
The God of Mischief, Loki is Thor's adopted brother and a secret Frost Giant. This legacy was uncovered in the first Thor film, and Loki did not react well to the news. He is a trickster, well versed in magic, and can astrally project his body in a variety of ways. He attempted to conquer Asgard before falling into space in the first Thor film, only to resurface with the Chitauri, who were planning an invasion of Earth in The Avengers. The Chitauri gifted him with a special mind-controlling scepter at the start of The Avengers, and whether he knew it or not, the Mind Stone was inside of it.
The secret force behind the Chitauri was Thanos himself, so we're guessing he rented the Mind Stone out to Loki in order for his mission to succeed.
It didn't succeed.
Though Loki uses the scepter to control the minds of a few key characters — making lifelong enemies along the way — the Avengers assembled and foiled his plans. Tony sasses him, Hulk beats the stuffing out of him ("Puny god"), and Thor takes him (and the Tesseract, aka the Space Stone) back to Asgard.
Odin put Loki in a cell in Thor: The Dark World as punishment for his actions on Earth, and Loki pretended that he was above it all, but he couldn't hide his anguish when Frigga died. He joined Thor to try and stop the dark elves and seemingly sacrificed himself for his brother. Isn't that nice?
It's not — he was faking. Loki is usually faking.
The end of the film showed that Loki survived, and was now pretending to be Odin while sitting on the Asgardian throne. He's still there when Thor returns in Thor: Ragnarok — he's built a statue in his own honor and holds regular dramatizations of his faux-sacrifice. Thor ruined everything for him once again, and after Odin died and Hela returned, Loki found himself banished to Sakaar, where he slithered his way into the inner circle of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). The cycle of betrayal is put on fast-forward, with Thor ultimately telling him that it will probably never stop — Loki will always be Loki, and that is his nature. Thor is actually learning!
He had the opportunity to do the selfish thing and escape, but his conscience won out and he returned to Asgard to help his brother. In helping to bring about Ragnarok in Odin's vault, he gave the Tesseract a nice long look, and almost certainly pocketed it. He ends the film almost at peace with his brother as king and is at his side when Thanos' ship appears.
Right before Infinity War: Loki is in space with Thor and the Asgardians, but he almost definitely has the Space Stone with him. He also has revealed his true nature— he's not a full-on villain or a hero. In Dungeons & Dragons terms, he is a true "chaotic neutral." Attempted conquest of Earth aside, he hasn't done anything SO horrible... aside from stabbing Phil Coulson... okay, we take it back, that was bad. Loki is a (sometimes necessary) conundrum, but that's why we love him.
VALKYRIE (TESSA THOMPSON)
Tessa Thompson's character in Thor: Ragnarok used to be one of the mighty Valkyrie warriors of Asgard, but placed herself in exile long ago after a battle with Hela. When Thor found her on Sakaar, she'd become a hard-drinking bounty hunter, and had no interest in heroics or anything Asgard-related.
She soon came around. Thanks to her friendship with the Hulk (and constant prodding from Thor), "Valkyrie" helped them escape her patron, the Grandmaster. She was instrumental in their escape, and when they returned to Asgard, she put her Valkyrie gear on once again. She kicked all kinds of undead butt and helped to get the people of Asgard to safety. When Thor took the throne at the end of the film, she was right by his side.
Right before Infinity War: She's still in space with the Asgardians. Also, while she is a Valkyrie, she is not THE Valkyrie from Marvel Comics. That character's name is Brunnhilde, and she can be seen dying in a tragic, Loki-induced flashback in Thor: Ragnarok. Thompson's character is a new creation, and there is a lot more to discover — we've only had one movie with her so far. Most important of all, she has established herself as an incredibly competent warrior, and the Avengers are going to be in desperate need of those.
BRUCE BANNER/THE HULK (MARK RUFFALO)
Dr. Bruce Banner (originally played by Edward Norton) first appeared in the second MCU film, The Incredible Hulk (2008). He was a brilliant scientist, who, after experimenting on himself with gamma radiation, gained the ability to transform into a "green rage monster."
Banner dealt with keeping his temper under control, the government hunting him down, and his estranged girlfriend Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), and ultimately saved Harlem from an attack by the Abomination (a transformed Tim Roth). Banner soon fled to a more remote area of the world, and Ed Norton was replaced with Mark Ruffalo, who has played him ever since.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) enlisted Banner in The Avengers, mostly because of his scientific mind. Soon enough, one of Loki's plots saw Banner transform and chase Romanoff around the Helicarrier. Thor was really the only Avenger who was a match for the Hulk's strength. In the end, Banner showed up for the Battle of New York ready to smash, and revealed his secret — he's always angry.
After smashing his way to stealing most of the film, Banner appeared next in Avengers: Age of Ultron (aside from a post-credits therapy session with Tony in Iron Man 3). The Hulk helped take down HYDRA, and Romanoff got him to transform back into Banner by performing a "lullaby," which had something to do with the sun getting real low. Stark gets Banner to go along with his crazy Ultron scheme, and soon enough Banner had to help the team defeat their creation. Thanks to a mind-screw from Black Widow, Hulk almost levels a city close to Wakanda, but he and Tony had prepared for this possibility — Tony deployed "Veronica," which is the MCU name for the Hulkbuster. Using the giant Hulkbuster suit, Tony pacified Banner.
Against his better judgment, Banner went along with Tony's new plan to create Vision, all the while having a romantic awakening with Romanoff. It's clear that they were both into each other, but Banner held back because of his lack of control. He arrived to rescue her from Ultron toward the film's end, not intending for Hulk to emerge. She kissed him and then pushed him off a ledge to make him transform because the team needed the other guy.
The Hulk goes on an Ultron-destroying rampage, but he became so horrified by his actions that he took off in the team's Quinjet at the film's end, leaving Romanoff and the team behind.
Where did that Quinjet end up? The junk planet Sakaar! When we catch up with him in Thor: Ragnarok, we find out that Hulk has remained in his Hulk form ever since the events of Ultron. He's the prized champion of the Grandmaster, and Thor's attempts at the lullaby don't work one bit. Eventually, he gets Banner to reemerge, and Banner has no idea that he was the Hulk for so long.
Banner returns to Asgard with Thor and Valkyrie and changes into the Hulk to take down Hela's giant wolf, Fenris. The Hulk is present when Thor takes the throne at the end, and he seems a little more at peace with his dual personalities... or maybe not. We're not really sure.
What's most important: Banner is due for a long-awaited reunion with Natasha Romanoff. She'll either give him a lullaby or a huge kick in the nuts. He's also been away from Earth for quite a while. Hulk is more confident, cocky, and talkative than ever — but Banner has never looked or sounded more like a mad scientist on crack. Sun's getting low, big guy.
HEIMDALL (IDRIS ELBA)
The all-seeing gatekeeper of the Bifrost, Heimdall (Idris Elba) was the guardian who could either allow or deny passage to the other realms. Though he looked and sounded formidable, plenty of outside forces got in and out of Asgard all the time.
He was frozen by Loki in the first Thor, but he recovered. In Thor: The Dark World, he was really unhappy because a fleet of dark elves attacked Asgard on his watch. He is even more unhappy in Thor: Ragnarok because the Odin-disguised Loki removed him from his post and replaced him with an idiot. Heimdall created a sort of resistance group to counter the false Odin, and this group continued on to oppose Hela after she conquered the place. Heimdall takes back the sword that acts as the key to the Bifrost gate, and this makes Hela unable to spread her evil to other realms.
So, like, Heimdall is good at his job about 65 percent of the time. He means well.
He then had to hide out with the loyal Asgardians and keep the sword from Hela, and he succeeded most wonderfully. If not for Heimdall, things would have been much, much worse for the Asgardians by the time Thor returned. He fought against Hela's minions and helped to liberate the Asgardians that he had been protecting. He proudly stands by Thor at the end of the film.
What's most important: With Asgard detroyed, does Heimdall still have a function? Of course he does — he's Heimdall, and he's still got a big ol' sword. We're not sure if his all-seeing powers are still active after Asgard's destruction, but with or without them, he's a force to be reckoned with. If the Asgardians need a protector while Thor is off remaking Mjolnir and meeting the Guardians, Heimdall is the perfect choice. He protected them once, and he can do it again. Come to think of it, Valkyrie could fill that role as well. We'll have to wait and see.
All in all, what is the current state of the Thor crew? They are all in space with the people of Asgard, and Thanos has found them. Thor is a hammer-less king with one eye, Loki has the Space Stone, Valkyrie may still have a drinking issue, Hulks gonna Hulk and Heimdall gotta Heimdall.
We'll be back tomorrow with a roundup for all of the characters related to the Captain America films, including Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, and Cap himself.