What a way to start the week off! The first full Thor: Ragnarok trailer dropped and wow, was it full of stuff that shows the same confidence and the out-of-this-world comic book wackiness that we saw in Guardians of the Galaxy. There was a lot to process and piece together, but we're going to break down everything we saw.
In the opening scene Thor is shackled in chains and dangled over lava pits with fire demons. While one might think this could be Mephisto, it's more likely that it will be Surtur, the Flame Giant and hails from the extra-dimensional plane of Muspelheim or Hel, Asgard's version of Hell. Surtur and Odin have a long history, and Surtur played a big part of the Ragnarök storyline in the comics, which spelled the doom of Thor, Loki, Odin and Heimdall. But that's the comics and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we shall see what is adapted and how it’s folded into other comic events.
We get our first footage of Cate Blanchett as Hela right off the bat, and it's a great sequence as she catches Mjölnir in one hand and appears to destroy it, which would explain Thor being captured as he would be lost without his great weapon. We don't know where this is at, but we suspect it's on Earth since the rippling effect of Mjölnir shattering goes through street alleys. The image of that powerful weapon being destroyed sets the tone for the rest of the trailer.
After the Marvel Studios stamp and some bitching 1970s graphics with an homage to The Wrath of Khan (?), we get an establishing shot of Hela again, this time with her massive headpiece, which tells you that you're in for some strange stuff. This is Marvel going full throttle and not holding back from departing far away from the reality of Earth-bound visuals. Blasting behind this scene is Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," which should give a preview to the kind of tale we're going to see, where Thor is taken and dropped into a new place ... I mean just look at Hela's headpiece, it's a great silhouette, like something comic artist Jae Lee would have drawn.
Then we see Hela standing on the steps of Asgard facing an army ready to charge at her before she takes her sword. Flames and destruction engulf Asgard and cut to a scene where Hela says, "Asgard … is dead." Cut to Thor landing on an unknown alien world in a vast scrapyard of space wreckage, presumably on the opposite end of the universe, where he is captured and is dragged away by Tessa Thompson's character Valkyrie. Next is a wicked scene where we see the winged horse Aragorn charging at Hela from the sky with who we presume is Valkyrie with sword in hand. Then we see Valkryie falling from the sky as more fallen winged horses and warriors joining her in her descent. Where this is at and when are still in question, so this could be anything from backstory explaining Hela or it could be a big showdown later in the film. Our bet is the former.
Meanwhile, we cut back to back to a new scene that follows Valkyrie dragging Thor in the net. This time, Valkyrie is talking to the Grandmaster played by Jeff Goldblum, and he asks her what he's brought her, to which she responds, "A contender." If Goldblum's makeup seems familiar, then you're right, it's consistent with Benicio Del Toro's makeup as the Collector. That's because they're both Elders of the (Marvel) Universe ... and they're brothers, supervillains that are the last survivors of extinct races that also have particular obsessions. The Grandmaster's obsession is playing high stakes games for his amusement and here he's pitting warriors in fights for his thrills. The Elders as a group made its debut in Avengers #174 when Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema worked on the title.
With Asgard potentially being destroyed, Thor's journey goes to a new place. This is the first time that we've seen a Thor story take place that's not on one of the known realms, which means the story has gone to a deeper part of the cosmos and that steps up closer to the Avengers story and the Guardians of the Galaxy story together towards Avengers: Infinity War. Let's not forget the end credits sequence of Thor: The Dark World: a scene with the Collector from Guardians. Let's also not forget mid-credits scene at the end of Dr. Strange where Thor and Stephen Strange compare notes as to who the big threats are in the nine realms, a scene that was directed by Ragnarok director Taika Waititi.
As we begin to ponder what Thor will be up against, we are assaulted by Heimdall sans armor swinging his sword in a forest...
A gun-toting berzerker whom Thor diehards will recognize as Skurge the Executioner, played by Karl Urban. We're not quite sure how a machine gun works against Asgardians or super-powered beings such as Thor and Heimdall but sure, and it happened in the comics so we're game... Oh yeah. This guy is back ... and he's got knives.
You didn't really think you saw the last of Loki, did you? We know that Loki was masquerading as Odin from the end of Thor: The Dark World, so that may have helped facilitate Hela's assault on Asgard. Let's assume that the above scene happens on Asgard. Tom Hiddleston is a moneymaker and Loki is the one true MCU villain that's been developed in full, and he's likely going to pull the strings and be in the background since we have Skurge, Surtur and Hela too.
Now we get the set up for the big money shot as Thor is preparing to enter a gladiator ring, which gets the butterflies filling the fanboys and fangirls’ stomachs. Thor gets a crew cut and a shield that looks a lot like a fellow Avenger's. His helmet has pivoting side shields and Thor’s flaxen locks are gone. He’s marked with two vertical red streaks from his forehead to his neck.
Some of you may have figured out what's coming by now and remembered that Hulk was last seen in a Quinjet by himself fleeing the destruction of Age of Ultron. Could he have travelled to planet Sakaar?
Yup. Or at least we could be, which means that Thor: Ragnarok will also be pulling from Planet Hulk or even World War Hulk. For those unfamiliar, Planet Hulk was a comics story written by Greg Pak and art by Carlo Pagulayan and Aaron Lopresti in which Hulk was exiled to an alien planet where he battled other alien creatures as a gladiator with an arsenal of fantastic weapons. Eventually, he returned to Earth to seek revenge on those who sent him away and that was World War Hulk, written by Pak and art by John Romita Jr. From the MCU, we know that Hulk felt the best way he could help the Avengers and leave Black Widow in tears was to go away and sit out Civil War.
That's something we suspected since Marvel has been teasing that for some time now touring Hulk's gladiator helmet, hammer and armor at conventions. As Thor rejoices at the sight of Hulk, the Grandmaster, seated sort of next to Loki, is astonished to think that his biggest duel may be sabotaged.
Nah. Gotta give the public what they want to see. And based on that box office, we love to see our heroes fight each other as much as we do bad guys. There's also a myriad of Who's Who in this scene as who's lurking behind the Grandmaster and Loki. Nods to Jack "The King" Kirby's art on the walls of this arena suite and in the character design in the background too. See above.
From here we can assume that after Thor and Hulk annihilate each other, they will need to fight their way out of Grandmaster's plans and back with the Avengers as Phase 3 continues to build towards Inifinity War. We should expect to see some explanation of how Hulk got here, and how much they dig through Planet Hulk and World War Hulk storylines remains to be seen.
Now we didn’t see Dr. Strange, Sif, Volstagg, Hogun and Odin, but we can assume they'll all be in attendance, as they have all been confirmed (along with a standard Stan Lee cameo).
This already has the potential to top both of the previous Thor movies in both scale and anticipation. There appears to be the balance of humor, action and nods to the comics that superhero fans love. This is just the first trailer after all, but it's filled with love notes to comic book readers old and new. Thor: Ragnarok will hit theaters on November 3.