Thor's "friend from work" line about The Incredible Hulk was suggested to Chris Hemsworth by a Make-A-Wish child who paid a visit to the set on the day the scene was filmed.
Director Taika Waititi said in an interview with MTV News: "I would say we improvised probably eighty percent of the film, or ad-libbed and threw in stuff."
Director Taika Waititi based Korg's character on Polynesian bouncers: "We wanted to change the idea of what a hulking guy made of rocks could be. He's huge and heavy, but with a light soul, and he's funny and friendly."
Sir Anthony Hopkins had decided against returning as Odin, but upon reading the story, he changed his mind.
This marks the first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that The Incredible Hulk was not voiced by Lou Ferrigno, but by Mark Ruffalo. Ferrigno voiced Hulk in The Incredible Hulk (2008), The Avengers (2012), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
The Infinity Gauntlet made its first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance briefly in Odin's (Sir Anthony Hopkins') vault in Thor (2011), imbued with all six Infinity Stones. The gauntlet was next seen in an Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) post-credits scene, in Thanos' (Josh Brolin's) vault with all of the infinity stones missing, and Thanos stating "Fine. I'll do it myself." As most of the infinity stones have been identified within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans speculated that the complete Infinity Gauntlet seen in Odin's vault must have been either a replica created by Odin, or a continuity gaffe. This movie addresses the gaffe and answers the question. As Hela (Cate Blanchett) walks through Odin's vault, she knocks the Infinity Gauntlet over and states "Fake!"
Before the sets created for Marvel's Doctor Strange (2016) were demolished, Director Taika Waititi took advantage of them by writing and filming a scene for this movie featuring Thor meeting Dr. Stephen Strange. Marvel and Doctor Strange (2016) Director Scott Derrickson felt the scene was "kind of perfect" to show Strange joining the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe after his stand-alone introduction in that movie, so the scene appeared during the end credits of Doctor Strange (2016).
Cate Blanchett accepted a role in this movie to please her children, who are Marvel comics fans. Blanchett's eldest son Dashiell John Upton suggested she take the role of Hela, saying it'd be a career boost.
Director Taika Waititi said that he wanted to showcase Chris Hemsworth's comedic talent in this movie: "He's so good and underutilized in that department. He's legitimately one of the funniest things in this film."
Chris Hemsworth plays Thor in this movie, while his older brother Luke played Actor Thor in the movie. Their younger sibling Liam was considered for the role of Thor.
In the Norse mythology and the Marvel comics, Loki is the father of Hela and Fenris the Wolf.
Director Taika Waititi appeared in this movie as Korg. He is the second Marvel movie Director to have a major role in his own movie, after Jon Favreau (who directed the first two Iron Man movies, and appeared as "Happy" Hogan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
The Grandmaster's (Jeff Goldblum's) tower features statues of his champions, notable figures from Marvel comics: the Greek god Ares, the alien being Beta Ray Bill, the supernatural entity Man-Thing, and the android monster the Bi-Beast.
The song heard in the trailer and Thor's first and last battles is Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song". It was specifically chosen because its lyrics make mention of Norse mythology.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is translated as "The Fate of the Gods", although it is often confused with the word "Götterdämmerung". The myth tells of the eventual destruction of the universe and mankind, as well as the deaths of several key figures in Norse Mythology, such as the gods Odin, Thor, Loki, Heimdall, Freyr, Sol, and Tyr, and the monsters, a.k.a. Jotun, Fenris, and Jörmungandr. A new generation of gods, the children of Odin, Thor, and Sol specifically, will take the place of the old ones, as the cycle of the world starts anew.
Chris Hemsworth had to bulk up again for his role as the mighty god Thor. He had to follow a strict diet, and work out six to seven times a week, and eat around six thousand calories a day.
The movie is mainly based on the Thor comics storylines "Ragnarök" (Thor (Chris Hemsworth) discovers Asgard is doomed to Ragnarök and must fight to stop it from happening) and the Surtur saga (Surtur (Clancy Brown) appears, and Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) team up to stop him). It also incorporates elements of the Marvel storylines "Contest of Champions" (The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and Death host a tournament) and "Planet Hulk" (The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) becomes a gladiator on an alien world).
Sif was originally supposed to appear in this movie, but Jaimie Alexander's shooting schedule for the third season of Blindspot (2015) clashed with this movie's schedule. It was decided to have the character written out, with Producer Kevin Feige saying that Sif was off on a mission during Ragnarök.
Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" appears in this movie and the trailer. This is noteworthy, because Led Zeppelin is known for very rarely licensing out their music for use in feature films, television series, or video games. The majority of other movies that have had Led Zeppelin music are related to rock journalist Cameron Crowe (Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Almost Famous (2000)), making this one of the few movies to feature Led Zeppelin music that in no way involves Crowe. School of Rock (2003) is another.
In Valkyrie's (Tessa Thompson's) flashback, a blonde woman is seen pushing her out of the way of a fatal attack, losing her own life. This was Valkyrie's original look in the comics.
According to Producer Kevin Feige, this movie plays a significant role in setting up Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
On Earth, Thor disguises his hammer Mjölnir as an umbrella. In the comics, whenever Thor took on the mortal form of Dr. Donald Blake, he disguised Mjölnir as a walking stick.
Director Taika Waititi described this movie as a "1970s and 80s science fiction fantasy, the most 'out there' of all of the Marvel movies." He cited Big Trouble in Little China (1986) as a major influence on this movie: "It's a fun adventure film that has big stakes, but also has a breakneck speed and takes you on a crazy adventure."
When Thor becomes a gladiator, he has his signature long hair cut short. In ancient Roman history, slaves who were sent to gladiator school and trained as gladiators had their hair cut short.
To prepare for her role as Hela, Cate Blanchett studied the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira.
Loki's (Tom Hiddleston's) play mentions a time when he turned Thor (Chris Hemsworth) into a frog. This is a reference to a Walter Simonson story where Loki briefly turned Thor into a frog (but he was able to meet a frog named Puddlegulp and share his power with him, turning him into Throg the Frog of Thunder).
This movie contains three members of the comic book incarnation of The Defenders superhero group: Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Dr. Strange is a founding member of The Defenders.
Thor gets Loki to remove his Odin disguise by throwing Mjölnir and grabbing Loki with his hammer hand, so that the hammer would return to his hand and crush Loki unless he removed his enchantment. This came from a Walter Simonson Thor comic story where Thor realized Loki had put him under a love spell.
In addition to his credited role as the voice of Korg, Director Taika Waititi told Empire Magazine that he also played two other roles in this movie: "I am one of the heads on the three-headed alien, this character called Haju. I'm the head on the right. And I'm also the motion-capture for Surtur." Clancy Brown performed the voice of Surtur.
Tom Hiddleston describes Loki as dealing with permanence: "It's in Loki's nature to change. He's a mercurial spirit, and the minute you try to define him he changes shape. But events in Ragnarök try and inspire him to change forever. The Goddess of Death shows up, and the stakes are high for everybody, so Loki, perhaps more than ever, is challenged to define himself in the face of that threat. He and Thor are in such an extraordinary situation where everything is so unfamiliar that their familiarity, as family members, becomes important."
According to Director Taika Waititi, while this movie adapts the "Planet Hulk" storyline, The Incredible Hulk wasn't going to be in this movie at all. It was only supposed to be Thor stranded on an alien battlefield-world.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, when a Being becomes the last of its race, the Being is imbued with immortality, and that Being becomes part of a new race called an Elder of the Universe. That means they can no longer die, and hence are immortal. It is how the Universe protects the last of a kind in the Marvel Comics Universe. The Grandmaster and The Collector are two examples in the Marvel Comics Universe.
Tessa Thompson based her performance as Valkyrie on Sarah Connor from Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
Tom Hiddleston explains that since Thor: The Dark World (2013), "Loki has devoted most of his efforts to narcissistic self-glorification, not so much on good governance. Loki has always tested the limits of his power and the boundaries placed upon him. He doesn't just stick his finger in the electrical plug socket, he burns the house down. And now he has to deal with the consequences."
After dispatching Loki, Dr. Strange leaves his business card, which reads "177A Bleecker St." While truly accurate to the comics, and very similar to "221B Baker Street" (the address of Sherlock Holmes, whom Benedict Cumberbatch played on Sherlock (2010)), it is not an Easter egg. It was the real New York City address of Roy Thomas, one of the writers of Dr. Strange.
Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Idris Elba's (Heimdall's) highest billing to date in any Marvel movie. Ironically, both have less screentime in this movie than the previous Thor movies.
In the comics, The Grandmaster has blue skin. Director Taika Waititi decided against applying blue on Jeff Goldblum, because he felt Goldblum was a good enough actor to not need it, and because Goldblum played a blue-colored character in Earth Girls Are Easy (1988).
A panel in The Grandmaster's (Jeff Goldblum's) viewing room is decorated with Jack Kirby artwork that comes from the the Marvel comic "Fantastic Four" #64 (July 1967).
During the final battle after Thor's right eye is damaged, and missing, he lands on the bridge in full god mode (also known as Odinforce/Thorforce) with only his left one glowing. This was changed in the trailer, presumably to not spoil it.
After Heimdall (Idris Elba) protects escaping Asgardians in a forest, he leads them to a cave for safety. The accompanying instrumental theme heard comes from Stargate SG-1 (1997) for the Asgard, an alien race who also protects Earth from otherworldly threats. The Stargate and the Bifröst, which Heimdall guards and Hela seeks, are both portals to other worlds.
Chris Hemsworth's trainer, Luke Zocchi, revealed that Hemsworth put on twenty pounds of muscle for his role in this movie, taking his weight up over two hundred pounds, by following an "old-school bodybuilding regime lifting a large weight-load for small number of reps." Zocchi revealed Hemsworth's favorite body part to train was his biceps, saying, "We design the workout around the body parts he's gonna be showing off the most, he's gonna have his arms and shoulders showing (through the sleeveless armor), so that's the thing we really focus on building up. He probably bicep curls thirty kilo dumbbells on average, each hand, so one hundred twenty pounds total. We always do seated incline curls, standing curls, and hammer curls. We started lighter and slowly, progressively get heavier." Zocchi said they are trying to deliver Hemsworth's best physique yet for this movie.
Director Taika Waititi described "The Tragedy of Loki of Asgard" as: "If I was Loki, and I was ruling Asgard, I would write a play about myself and force everyone to go and see it, change the details, and get a huge celebrity to play myself."
Korg is a member of the Kronan race, and made his debut in Journey into Mystery #83, where he was defeated by Thor. He is most known for his appearance in Planet Hulk, where he fought with The Incredible Hulk and his Warbound on Sakaar to defeat the Red King, and in World War Hulk, where he assisted The Incredible Hulk in his revenge against the heroes who shot him into space following the destruction of Sakaar.
Valkyrie's (Tessa Thompson's) flashback used a nine hundred frames per second high-speed rate, and a special three hundred sixty degree lighting rig of two hundred strobe lights to make the scene look as disorienting as possible.
Valkyrie wears two armors based on her "Defenders" outfits in the comics: on Sakaar, she has a leather outfit that comes from her 2013 "Fearless Defenders" comic. She later dons a silver-gold full-body armor, her "Defenders" armor from the 1970s.
Director Taika Waititi consulted with theoretical physicist Clifford Johnson, who previously consulted on the second season of Agent Carter (2015), on space travel, and allowed Johnson to view early drafts of the script. Johnson felt Waititi was "receptive and super excited" about the information he provided, and Johnson gave him physics ideas that could "wink at some of the classic old Thor stuff."
Cate Blanchett played Hela in a motion-capture suit, because of Hela's ability to shapeshift her body. She said this was a bit awkward, since she got confused in a few scenes.
The English term "Hell" for the Underworld derives from Anglo-Saxon references to the goddess Hel/Hela and to her realm of the dead. The Old English term "helle-rúne" (sorceress, necromancer) also derives from the goddess' name.
In the comics and Norse myth, Valkyrie was a fair-skinned, blonde, Viking warrior-woman. In this movie, she is played by Afro-Panamanian, Mexican, and British actress Tessa Thompson. According to Director Taika Waititi, this was not a deliberate decision to diversify this movie, but to choose the best person: "You're working with comic book Vikings, so you have to look at the source material as a very loose inspiration. A character's skin tone and hair color doesn't matter. I think the story is king, and you want the best person for the job, and Tessa was the best person."
A street on Sakaar is named "Kirby Way", after Marvel artist and writer Jack Kirby.
Hela (Cate Blanchett) was the first female main villain in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
Hela is primarily based on her comic version (the Norse goddess of death and apocalypse), but incorporates traits from Thor's enemy Gorr the God Butcher (an enemy who wields a magic sword and can create constructs) and Thor's sister Angela (a rival to Thor).
This movie was retitled in Japan as "Thor: Battle Royale", an homage to the Koushun Takami story "Battle Royale", about people who are imprisoned in an arena and forced to kill each other.
The survivors of Ragnarök decide to head to Earth. In the Marvel comic event "Siege", Asgard was annihilated and its survivors decide to stay on Earth.
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) never calls Thor (Chris Hemsworth) by his real name. She always calls him "Your Majesty".
This movie was released in 2017, the 55th Anniversary of the debut of Thor (August 1962) and The Incredible Hulk (May 1962), as well as the centennial of their co-Creator Jack Kirby.
During Captain America: Civil War (2016), all of the current Avengers line-up (apart from Thor and The Incredible Hulk) turn up, choose a side, and fight one another. In the Civil War comic book storyline, this is also what happens, but on a much grander scale, again both Thor and The Incredible Hulk are not present. The reason for both of them not being there in the Marvel comic book is because The Incredible Hulk was on Sakaar and Thor had just been involved in Ragnarök, just like in this movie.
Director Taika Waititi felt that despite the events of this movie setting up Avengers: Infinity War (2018), this movie would not only stand on its own, but reinvent the franchise: "A lot of what we're doing with the film is, in a way, dismantling and destroying the old idea and rebuilding it in a new way that's fresh. Everyone's got a slightly new take on their characters, so in that way, it feels like Thor (2011)."
This movie was released in 2017, along with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). This marked the first time the Marvel Cinematic Universe has released three movies in the same year.
Jeff Goldblum was previously considered for the role of Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk in Hulk (2003). This is hinted at during The Grandmaster's arena intro of The Incredible Hulk, when he announced feeling a connection to him.
Korg (Taika Waititi) offers Thor (Chris Hemsworth) a three-pronged wooden spear, saying "it's not much use unless you want to kill three vampires who are all clustered together", a reference to Waititi's previous movie What We Do in the Shadows (2014), about a group of vampires who live together.
The filmmakers cite Big Trouble in Little China (1986)'s Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) as an influence on Thor (Chris Hemsworth): "What's the version of Thor just wanting to get his truck back? He's the one looking at the world and bringing a certain sarcasm and irony to this cosmic landscape."
During his introductory scene, The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) plays a sort of synthesizer keyboard. Goldblum is, in actuality, a very accomplished pianist. He and his jazz combo, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, play semi-regular gigs at the Rockwell in Los Angeles, California.
Having directed Thor (2011), Sir Kenneth Branagh turned down the chance to return as this movie's director in order to work on Murder on the Orient Express (2017) instead.
Cate Blanchett's youngest son, Ignatius Martin Upton, acquired a cameo role in this movie.
Korg the rock monster (Taika Waititi) introduces himself with a rock, paper, scissors joke when he first meets Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Korg explains that he ended up as a gladiator because he didn't print enough pamphlets. Paper beat rock. Later, at the end of the movie, Korg thinks that he accidentally crushed Miek, his blade-armed alien gladiator friend, and killed him. Though Miek does wake up, Korg killing Miek would mean that rock beat scissors.
Natalie Portman and Jaimie Alexander didn't return for this movie. Natalie Portman declined to return as Dr. Jane Foster and announced she wouldn't appear in anymore Marvel comic book movies, and Jaimie Alexander was busy working on Blindspot (2015). Thor mentions Dr. Jane Foster in dialogue and tells Loki that he dumped her. But, Lady Sif's absence in this movie is unexplained, and the character was not mentioned.
Thor wields a mace in his fight with The Incredible Hulk. In the Marvel comics, this mace was used by Thor's ally, Hercules.
Loki's armor in this movie is based on his dress in the "Agent of Asgard" comic, where he sought to change his destiny and become a hero, or at least not be seen as a villain anymore. This movie references this when Thor tells Loki he will always be the same, and this inspires him to try and be genuinely heroic.
In The Avengers (2012), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) tells everyone on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier "Loki is an Asgardian and my brother!" Natasha states "He's killed eighty people!" Thor deadpan face retorts immediately "He's adopted." Loki (Tom Hiddleston) gets to do the same to Thor as The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) turns to him when Thor states "Loki is an Asgardian and my brother!", to which Loki retorts immediately "Adopted brother!"
Director Taika Waititi wanted to feature a cameo by Corpsman Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly) from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Taika Waititi cited the heroic team-ups in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), 48 Hrs. (1982), Withnail & I (1987), Midnight Run (1988), Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), and Big Trouble in Little China (1986) as influences on the heroes' dynamic in this movie.
Thor called his team "The Revengers". In the Marvel comics, The Revengers were a team of supervillains/anti-heroes made to oppose the Avengers.
When Thor crashes into Sakaar, and he's talking to the scavenger people, in the background there is the body of a Bilgesnipe that he refers to in the The Avengers (2012) "Large. Scaly. Has big antlers".
When Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is trying to get the password for the Quinjet, the successful password was "Point Break", which was a subtle nod to Tony Stark's nickname for the blonde Avenger, as he resembled Patrick Swayze (Point Break (1991) quite closely. "Point Break" is also what Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) calls Thor when they meet in The Avengers (2012).
Mjölnir is destroyed in this movie by Hela, Thor's sister. In the comics, the hammer was damaged in a fight between Thor and his grandfather Bor.
The names of the various space ships in this movie are a nod to Australia's Holden car marque. They are model names of various iconic models, such as the Commodore, Torana, Statesman, and Kingswood.
If you thought Sir Anthony Hopkins' role as Odin in this movie seemed a bit small, there's a reason for that: his scenes were drastically changed after test audiences reacted poorly. In a new interview, Director Taika Waititi confirms that the original plan for Odin bothered early test audiences, resulting in a drastic change.
Director Taika Waititi described this movie as reinvention: "While Ragnarök traditionally means the end of everything, in the context of the film, it means disassembling what's already there, and rebuilding it. To me, it's stripping down the establishment, and then building it up in a new way, which is almost like this cyclic idea of Ragnarök. I love heroes that really go through ordeals and then come out the other end completely changed. That's way more exciting and interesting. You can never go back from that."
On his Instagram and Twitter accounts, Mark Ruffalo referred to his motion-capture suit as his "legendary man-cancelling suit."
Topaz (Rachel House) is an ally of The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) in this movie. In the comics, she was a sorceress.
Although this movie is technically Thor's third solo outing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he appeared in both Avengers movies and Doctor Strange (2016), making this his sixth appearance in the franchise, not including the Team Thor promo videos for this movie. (As of this movie's release.)
In the Marvel Comics event "Civil War", Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and Hank Pym created a cyborg clone of Thor, called "Ragnarök".
This movie contains homages to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). When Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is being brought to meet The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), he is being driven through a brightly colored passageway. During this segment the "Pure Imagination" theme from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) can be heard. In Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), the contest winners take a ferry ride through a colorful tunnel shortly after meeting Willy Wonka. The Grandmaster is reminiscent of Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder), in that both men are eccentric leaders of their own colorful and often confusing labyrinthine domains.
When Skurge (Karl Urban) is making his last stand, he strikes a pose on top of a pile of corpses similar to the famous Doom box art. Urban appeared in Doom (2005).
During the world premiere, Mark Ruffalo was live streaming from his Instagram and he forgot to end it, so he accidentally filmed the first ten minutes of the movie.
The Grandmaster's (Jeff Goldblum's) cousin Carlo (Steven Oliver), who got melted, is named after comic book artist Carlo Pagulayan. He created the character Korg, and was responsible along with writer Greg Pak for The Incredible Hulk comics between 2006 and 2007, and the Planet Hulk storyline. Both of them were given a special mention of thanks at the closing credits.
Thor disguises Mjölnir as an umbrella and taps it on the ground to change it back into his hammer. This is an homage to the early "Thor" comics when Thor took the mortal form of Dr. Donald Blake and he disguised Mjölnir as a walking stick. However, an umbrella is a more suitable disguise for a god of thunder.
The retirement home in New York City is named "Shady Acres", the same name as the retirement home where Stan Marsh's grandfather lives in South Park (1997), and the same as the psychiatric institute in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), which was a play on that movie's director Tom Shadyac.
First "Thor" movie to not feature Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, or Stellan Skarsgård.
The song that plays during the opening and final battles (Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song") references Valhalla, the hall located in Asgard where those fallen in battle are carried by Valkyries and laid to rest until called upon by Odin in Ragnarök. In this movie, they are ironically called upon by Hela to begin Ragnarök.
Four of the male cast have appeared in at least one Star Trek movie: Karl Urban (Skurge) played Dr. McCoy in Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and Star Trek Beyond (2016). Chris Hemsworth (Thor) was Lieutenant George Kirk in Star Trek (2009) and Untitled Star Trek Sequel. Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange) played Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Idris Elba (Heimdall) played Krall in Star Trek Beyond (2016). In addition, Clancy Brown guest starred as Zobral in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise (2001), season one.
This movie marks the third time that a Kronan has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first was in the opening battle of Thor: The Dark World (2013), then in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) as Rocket and Yondu venture to Ego's planet.
In the death scene portrayed in the play, "The Tragedy of Loki of Asgard", the same music played during Loki's death as played during Loki's death scene in Thor: The Dark World (2013).
During the second half of this movie, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is wearing a cape made from the drapes in The Incredible Hulk's (Mark Ruffalo's) apartment. This is a subtle reference to his first meeting with Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) in The Avengers (2012), and his line, "Does mother know you weareth her drapes?"
The fact that Hela (Cate Blanchett) is the daughter of Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), combined with the fact that this movie is produced by Walt Disney Pictures, by default makes her a Disney Princess. In this case, she is Disney's first Princess featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as their first Princess to take on the role of the villain.
Tessa Thompson appeared with Sir Anthony Hopkins on Westworld (2016) alongside Chris Hemsworth's brother Luke, who had a cameo in this movie as an Asgardian actor playing Thor in a play.
In the final end credit sequence, The Grandmaster declares the Contest of Champions a tie. This is most likely a wink at an error that made it into print. In the original Contest of Champions comic book limited series, The Grandmaster picked heroes to fight against a hooded opponent's heroes to snag prizes. After the final round, The Grandmaster was declared the winner, but due to a screw-up in the production of the comics, if you count all of the battles, the original Contest of Champions should have ended in a tie.
Thor's first appearance on-screen was as second lead in a Hulk-centered television movie: The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988).
Clancy Brown (Surtur) played Odin in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (2010) and played Ray Schoonover in Daredevil (2015) and The Punisher (2017), as well as Lex Luthor in various DC animated television shows and movies.
The four years that elapsed between the release of Thor: The Dark World (2013) and this movie mark the longest gap between installments of a franchise within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When showing off his "treasures" to the girls, Skurge (Karl Urban) is briefly seen using a "Shake Weight", an infamous product sold on late night television. Another Marvel character, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), made a reference to the "Shake Weight" infomercial in Deadpool (2016).
The Hulk's casual clothes on Sakaar are the ones he wore in the "Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine" comic while he was in Tibet.
When Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) wears Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.'s) clothing after he turns from The Incredible Hulk in the ship, he is wearing a Duran Duran t-shirt.
"Hela" is the Marvel Comics version of Hel, the ruler of an Underworld of the same name. Hel's realm is part of Niflheim ("Abode of Mist", world of the darkness"), one of the Nine Worlds. Niflheim was depicted as a realm of primordial ice and cold. The souls of men who did not die a heroic or notable death (including those who did not die in battle, and those who died of sickness or of old age) were send to Niflheim and fell under Hel's control.
The Shake Weight with which Skurge (Karl Urban) is seen at the beginning of the movie, belonged to Director Taika Waititi. Waititi bought it while filming Green Lantern (2011), in which he had a role. He bought it while watching an infomercial late at night.
In Norse mythology and the comics, Hel (Hela) is the daughter of Loki, Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Death. Her domain mirrors the appearance of Asgard, as she awaited Ragnarök to fill her kingdom with dead souls. This movie shows quite the opposite, with Hela as Odin's daughter and Loki's half-sister, and her trying to rule Asgard, rather than biding her time and waiting to be the Queen of the dead Asgardians.
In this movie, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) rides a winged horse. According to Marvel comics, the horse is named Aragorn. Aragorn is a major hero in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Cate Blanchett (Hela) and Karl Urban (Skurge) played Aragorn's allies Galadriel and Eomer, respectively.
When Korg introduces himself he says "Yeah, I am actually a thing". Being made of rocks, this could easily be a tribute to another Stan Lee comic The Fantastic Four, where The Thing is made of rocks.
When Hela arrives on Earth, she commands Thor and Loki to kneel. This is the same first command Loki makes to the crowd in Stuttgart, Germany in The Avengers (2012).
Along with Iron Man, Thor is the only other Marvel Studios franchise to have three different composers for each movie: Patrick Doyle scored Thor (2011), Brian Tyler scored Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Mark Mothersbaugh scored this movie.
Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe described working on this movie as both satisfying and frustrating: "As a Cinematographer, your function is to achieve a technically flawless image, to the service of the Director, and a key character of production, which is the Visual Effects Supervisor. At times, it is difficult to know where you are inside the movie, but I am very happy to have been able to respond to such incredible technical requirement."
The "Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!" attraction in Disney California Adventure is themed as the fortress of Taneleer Tivan (otherwise known as The Collector). The fortress is part of the city skyline behind The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum).
In the Prose Edda (thirteenth century) by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241), Hel/Hela is depicted as a daughter of the god Loki and the female jötunn (giantess) Angrboda (whose name means "the one who brings grief" or "she-who-offers-sorrow"). The same work depicts Hel/Hela as a sister to Fenrir (a giant wolf, destined to kill Odin) and Jörmungandr (a sea serpent, destined to kill Thor and to be killed by him, in a battle where both combatants die). Hel/Hela is the only one of the three in a humanoid form.
The cast includes three Oscar winners: Cate Blanchett, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Matt Damon; and four Oscar nominees: Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Ruffalo, and Taika Waititi. In addition, with three winners, this movie ties with Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) in having the most Oscar winners featured in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
In the Contest of Champions arena when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is getting ready to meet the reigning champion, The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) introduces the opponent, about to enter the ring, as "..Your Increeedibllleee..." before the Hulk smashes through the door screaming. This is a direct nod to The Incredible Hulk comic books, first published by Marvel in 1962.
In an interview, Chris Hemsworth said he switched to a plant-based diet to lean up for the role.
During the final battle scene when Bruce proclaims he's got this and jumps to try and change midair to battle Fenrir only to crash land references The Incredible Hulk (2008), when Bruce jumps out of a helicopter to fight The Abomination. The fight scene also pays homage to The Hulk (2003), where he fights giant mutated dogs that are able to pierce through his skin with their teeth.
It has become typical for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to be tazed and/or his face squished against a glass in all of his movies so far. In Thor (2011), he is in the field after first landing, and Darcy (Kat Dennings) hits him with her tazer. After that, he is in the hospital being held back by orderlies and security , he gets hit with a powerful sedative and squishes his face against the glass. In Thor: The Dark World (2013), while battling Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and passing from dimension to dimension, he lands on top of the building in London and squishes his face against the glass as he slides down. In this movie, when transported, he finds himself outside the Bifröst and landing on Sakaar. He has a net with an electric charge holding him, and where Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson) throws the obedience disc onto him. She electrocutes him, and while being transported, his face is squished against the glass on her ship. The irony is Thor is the God of Thunder, which is the sound made by lightning, and is brought down by a hand-held tazer.
Ruben Fleischer, Rob Letterman, and Rawson Marshall Thurber were considered to direct. Fleischer and Thurber were also candidates to direct Ant-Man (2015).
Skurge (Karl Urban) is called "The Executioner" by Hela (Cate Blanchett). In the comics, he is called "The Executioner", and teamed up with The Enchantress, another foe of Asgard and Thor.
Clancy Brown (Surtur) fought and became possessed by Norse demon Surtur in Hellbenders (2012).
Valkyrie carries the designation of SR-142. In the Marvel comics, Valkyrie was briefly a mortal woman named Samantha Parrington, who served as an adversary for the Hulk in "The Incredible Hulk #142" (August 1971).
The Incredible Hulk's line "There is no Banner, only Hulk!" is a parody of the famous line from Ghostbusters (1984): "There is no Dana, only Zuul!" Chris Hemsworth appeared in Ghostbusters (2016).
Cate Blanchett had discussions with Marvel and Director Taika Waititi to help define when Hela would be masked, and when she would not be.
The only Avenger who has had shirtless scenes in all of the movies in which he has appeared (except for his Iron Man 3 (2013) cameo) is The Incredible Hulk (his solo movie, the two preceding Avengers movies, and this movie). Thor had a shirtless scene in both previous Thor movies and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). This movie would be the fourth movie they have both been shirtless.
In Marvel Comics stories, Valkyrie/Brunnhilde has lost numerous host bodies, and her spirit survives by merging (temporarily or long-term) with various women, both mortal and immortal. The most prominent of these "host" women are the Asgardian goddesses Enchantress/Amora and Lorelei (who are sisters to each other), and the mortal women Barbara Denton/Barbara Norriss, Samantha Parrington, and Sian Bowen. This has led to some complications, such as Valkyrie and the host having access to more than one set of memories, not having access to all necessary information on the host, or dealing with confused relatives, such as Barbara's estranged husband and Samantha's parents.
When Bruce Banner wears Tony Stark's clothes, the t-shirt depicts the album cover "Rio" by Duran Duran, and this is a subtle moment of foreshadowing, because the album contained the single "Hungry Like The Wolf". A very large wolf appears shortly after this sequence.
When she first encounters Thor, Valkyrie tells the Scrappers, "He's mine. So if you want him, you go through me". When the Scrappers refuse to give him up, she says, "Alright then, I guess I go through you". A similar scenario and dialogue exchange occurs in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) in the prison where Rocket Raccoon tells the other prisoners, "This one here's our booty! You wanna get to him, you go through us! Or more accurately, we go through you!!"
The opening scene in which Thor (Chris Hemsworth) fights the demon Surtur (Clancy Brown) is heavily reminiscent of the "mines of Moria" sequence in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Surtur bears a close resemblance to the Balrog the Fellowship fights in the mines, and in addition, swarms of demons crawl down pillars towards Thor in the same way Orcs are shown to do in the Moria scene. Additionally, this scene is inter-cut with Skurge (Karl Urban) on the Bifröst bridge. Urban portrayed Eomer in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Hulk is called "The Incredible Hulk" for the first time. The Grandmaster calls him "Incredible", and the Hulk finishes his sentence with "Hulk".
The Grandmaster's Commodore spaceship resembles the spaceship on the cover of Electric Light Orchestra's "Out of the Blue" (1977). The song "Mr. Blue Sky", sampled in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), comes from this album.
Karl Urban (Skurge) is the only main character that's not featured on the main poster.
Director Taika Waititi revealed that his character was named Korg, "like the piano".
The Marvel Comics character Valkyrie was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema, first appearing in "The Avengers" vol. 1 #83 (December 1970). Her real name is Brunnhilde, and she is loosely based on Brynhildr the Valkyrie, depicted in the Nibelungenlied (late twelfth century or early thirteenth century) and the Völsunga saga (thirteenth century).
In the Prose Edda (thirteenth century), the god Baldr (who was killed, not in battle, but after Loki tricked Baldr's brother into shooting him with an arrow made of mistletoe) is sent to Hel/Hela and kept in her realm. Baldr is even mentioned as "Hel's companion". When his brother Hermod negotiates for Baldr's release and resurrection, Hel/Hela's terms are that she will only release Baldr "If all things in the world, alive or dead, weep for him". When a giantess (who actually is Loki in disguise) refuses to weep for his death, Hel/Hela gets to keep her prize.
During Thor's bout with The Incredible Hulk, there is a red character standing behind The Grandmaster, who resembles Arishem of the Celestials from Marvel Comics.
This marks the third time that Sam Neill and Samuel L. Jackson appeared in the same cinematic universe without having a scene together. Neill appeared in The Hunt for Red October (1990), while Jackson appeared in Patriot Games (1992). The two also appeared in Jurassic Park (1993), along with Jeff Goldblum.
In the early 1990s, The Incredible Hulk writer Peter David was asked who he'd like to see portray Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk in a big screen feature film. His choice at the time was Sir Kenneth Branagh, who directed Thor (2011).
Thor is the only Marvel Studios franchise to have a different director for each entry: Sir Kenneth Branagh directed Thor (2011), Alan Taylor directed Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Taika Waititi directed this movie.
Hilda Ellis Davidson (1914-2006) was an academic and folklorist, who studied Celtic and Germanic mythologies, and noticed several similarities and connections between them. She viewed Hel/Hela as a probable equivalent/counterpart to the Irish goddesses Badb ("Crow" or "Battle Crow") and The Morrígan ("phantom queen" or "great queen"). Both Celtic goddesses are associated with death, with war, with death on the battlefield, with destiny, with prophecy, and with warnings of future doom. Davidson suggested that all three goddesses represent "the fierce destructive side of death, with a strong emphasis on its physical horrors."
In the Prose Edda's depiction of Ragnarök, "all of Hel's people" leave Niflheim and join the battle under Loki's leadership. However, Hel/Hela herself is not depicted participating in the battle, and her death or further fate are not actually depicted.
The "Bartholomeus saga postola" (Saga of Bartholomew the Apostle), is a Christian saga from the thirteenth or fourteenth century, depicting the life of Bartholomew the Apostle. In the text, Bartholomew captures a demon who was posing as a god. The unnamed demon claims to be in service of Queen Hell, and mentions a war between Queen Hell and Jesus. According to the text, Jesus (who was killed on a cross, but did not die in battle) was sendt to Queen Hell's realm, but managed to defeat her and escape. "Queen Hell" is evidently Hel/Hela, and the text depicts her as Queen in a Christian underworld. Indicating that the Christianized Norse people had not stopped believing in her.
Cate Blanchett and Jeff Goldblum appeared in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). Both movies also featured a score by Mark Mothersbaugh.
In the "Gesta Danorum" (thirteenth century) by Saxo Grammaticus (1160-1220), Hel/Hela seems to be identified with Proserpina, the Roman goddess of death and the underworld. Saxo called her Proserpina as she prepares to claim the soul of Baldr. Proserpina is typically identified with Persephone, the Greek goddess of death and the Underworld.
Though most people think the Duran Duran Rio t-shirt worn by Banner may link to the scene when Hulk fights the Wolf (Hungry like the Wolf), it is also possible that it links to Dr. Durand-Durand in Barbarella (1968), from whom Duran Duran got their name. He is the "Mad" (Angry) "Scientist" (speaks for itself) who "creates a weapon that could destroy humanity" (himself).
Hel/Hela seems to be depicted in the "Old English Gospel of Nicodemus", a Christian text from the eleventh century. In the text, a feminine personification of Hell (called "Seo hell" in the text) engages in a flyting (An Anglo-Saxon practice, where two rivals exchange insults and mock each other, often in verse) with Satan. Seo hell commands Satan to leave her realm. The female figure is thought to be the old Germanic goddess, apparently still familiar to the Christianized Anglo-Saxons of the eleventh century.
When The Incredible Hulk bounces the ball off the floor and wall, it is exactly the way that Hilts "The Cooler King" (Steve McQueen) bounced the ball when in solitary confinement in The Great Escape (1963).
In Danish folklore from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, there is mention of Helhest (Hel horse), a magical three-legged horse, which roams freely and spreads death, illness, and the plague. Jacob Grimm (1785-1863), a German philologist and mythologist, suggested that the horse is the steed of the goddess Hel/Hela, and that the legend could be traced back to Norse mythology.
Jeff Goldblum appeared with Chris Hemsworth's brother, Liam, in Independence Day: Resurgence (2016).
There are two moments of foreshadowing for The Incredible Hulk showing up (other than the movie trailers and posters). When Thor first arrives on Asgard with the dragon head, it's blood is green and purple, common Hulk colors. Then, when he visits New York City with Loki in street clothes, he is wearing a green t-shirt and a purple t-shirt, another nod to the Hulk's colors.
Thor and Jane's break up was hinted in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) because Jane didn't attend Tony Stark's party.
Hel/Hela seems to be depicted in numerous bracteates (a type of jewelry) from the Migration Period (fourth to sixth century A.D.), predating her appearances in written texts. Some of them depict her as a woman holding a scepter, and preparing to confront or welcome a horseman who enters her realm. Others depict Hel/Hela greeting the dying Baldr.
When Thor takes a selfie with a woman on Earth, a cab drives by with a Synchrony Bank add on its roof. This is the company who produces the Marvel Credit Card.
Cate Blanchett (Hela) appeared with John Rhys-Davies in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Rhys-Davies voiced Thor in Fantastic Four: The Animated Series (1994).
When Skurge (Karl Urban) introduces his guns, he says he got them in Texas and named them Des and Troy which becomes destroy. The Dallas Cowboys have a retired Hall of Fame quarterback named Troy Aikman and a former wide receiver, Dez Bryant.
Benedict Cumberbatch was dubbed by Sascha Rotermund in the German version, and Chris Hemsworth was dubbed by Tommy Morgenstern, who also dubbed Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock (2010).
The "Sonatorrek" ("the irreparable loss of sons") is a tenth century poem by Egill Skallagrímsson (904 to 990 A.D.), and identifies Hel/Hela with death. The poem was written to record Egill's grief and suicidal thoughts, after his son Böðvar drowned at sea. Egill reports that remorseless Hel/Hela has taken his son, and that he eagerly waits for his own death.
The Ynglinga saga (thirteenth century) by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) depicts the lives, reigns, and deaths of the legendary kings of the House of Ynglings. Hel/Hela appears in the saga to claim the souls of kings who failed to die in battle. When Dyggvi the Brave dies of illness, the saga reports that he becomes Hel/Hela's new spouse.
In this movie, Thor finds himself on a trash planet where he becomes a gladiator. Incidentally, Kurt Russell who played Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), starred in Soldier (1998) as Todd 3465, a futuristic commando who is left for dead on a trash planet. Connie Nielsen, who co-starred in that movie as Sandra, starred opposite Russell Crowe in Gladiator (2000) for which Russell Crowe won an Oscar as Maximus, a betrayed Roman General who enters the arena as a gladiator, as he seeks revenge upon the slain Roman Emperor's evil son who assassinated his father. Russell Crowe and Connie Nielsen entered the DC Extended Universe: Crowe as Jor-El in Man of Steel (2013), and Nielsen as Hippolyta in Wonder Woman (2017), parents of Superman and Wonder Woman, respectively.
Although Natalie Portman declined to reprise her role as Dr. Jane Forster for this movie, she will now be reprising the role, and apparently taking up the mantle of Thor in the upcoming Phase 5 Marvel movie, Thor: Love And Thunder.
When she first appears, Hela (Cate Blanchett) summons a sword in her left hand and tells Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to kneel. Thor then throws Mjölnir at her and she catches it with her right hand and destroys it. After that, her sword disappears as she uses both hands to make her crown appear, then causes two swords to appear, one in each hand.
Anthony Hopkins's first film was The Lion in Winter, in which he played the son of Katharine Hepburn's character. Cate Blanchett played Hepburn in The Aviator.
When Thor tells Doctor Strange the story about Loki turning him into a frog, it's alluding to the Pet Avengers member Mighty Throg.
Matt Damon: The actor portraying Loki in a play honoring the God of Mischief's apparent self-sacrifice in Thor: The Dark World (2013). Damon also played an archangel named Loki in Dogma (1999).