One of the more surprising aspects of Thor: Ragnarok is how the film deals with the Warriors Three, the loyal Asgardians who have joined Thor in battle in his two previous films.
Heavy spoilers ahead, so enjoy this photo of Chris Hemsworth as Thor before deciding whether to keep reading...
The Three -- Fandral (Zachary Levi), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) -- are dispatched shockingly early in the new movie, with Fandral and Volstagg killed right off the bat by Hela (Cate Blanchett) as she emerges on Asgard from the Bifrost. Hogun later goes down in violent fashion after a more extended fight with the Goddess of Death, as hundreds of Asgardians look on.
So what gives? Why did director Taika Waititi and the Marvel creative team decide to gruesomely dispatch these staple Thor characters? At a recent press conference for Thor: Ragnarok (as noted by Screenrant and confirmed by SYFY), Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained why the Three had to go:
"They had noble ends, mainly to serve the arrival of Hela, the arrival of the biggest villain into the MCU, who within the first five minutes destroys the hammer, kicks Loki and Thor out of Asgard, and kills almost anyone we’ve ever met before in the other movies. Which is really -- we want it to start with a bang."
In other words, the grave threat posed by Hela to Thor and all of Asgard had to be made immediately clear by having her wipe out characters we've grown to enjoy in the previous Thor movies, another indication of how willing Marvel was to shake things up this time around.
Feige did add, "They will be remembered," which will hopefully be the case somewhere down the road, since one of the (few) criticisms of Thor: Ragnarok is that the deaths of several long-running characters happen quickly in the film, with barely any time for them to truly resonate.
As for Lady Sif -- powerful Asgardian warrior, unofficial fourth member of the Three and on-and-off romantic interest for Thor himself -- her absence from the story is simply due to the fact that actress Jaimie Alexander was unavailable because of her commitments to her TV series Blindspot. Feige noted that Sif might not have survived had she been on Asgard, adding cryptically about her whereabouts, "I've been using a Force Awakens quote when people ask me, which is, 'That's a good question for another time.'"
Were you surprised and/or dismayed by the speed at which the Warriors Three were killed off? Did you miss Lady Sif in Thor: Ragnarok? And lastly, should these questions be addressed somehow in Avengers: Infinity War?