Thor: Ragnarok: setting up Avengers: Infinity War, Lego Thor, and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • Thor: Ragnarok release date: November 3, 2017 (US)/October 27, 2017 (UK)
  • Director: Taika Waititi
  • Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson
  • Writer: Stephany Folsom, Eric Pearson

Update: July 20, 2017 - How Thor: Ragnarok sets up Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige has again underlined the importance of Thor: Ragnarok to 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. In a recent interview with the Toronto Sun, Feige said that "Things change drastically in Ragnarok and then build directly into Infinity War."

How that will come to pass, we're not sure. But the Avengers: Infinity War footage released at D23 may offer some clues: we know Thor bumps into the Guardians of the Galaxy in that movie, which leads to the alliance between the Guardians and the Avengers. Could the post-credits sequence of Ragnarok take us closer towards that?

Update: July 19, 2017 - new Thor: Ragnarok toy offers a detailed look at Thor's new costume

Comic Con is always a huge event for pop culture merchandise, both for the people who spend hundreds of dollars at the show and the rest of us who decide what we'll be throwing cash at months from now. 

Hot Toys has a great history of incredibly detailed and pricey figures based on the MCU, and here's their version of Thor in Ragnarok, the full reveal of which will happen at SDCC this weekend. It gives us a closer look at Thor's fancy new helmet and shield as he takes to the ring against the Hulk.

Update: July 19, 2017 - Thor: Ragnarok brought to life in Lego form ahead of SDCC

San Diego Comic Con returns this weekend, and after a muted D23 for Thor: Ragnarok, we're expecting maybe a new trailer reveal for the film at Marvel's 90-minute Hall H panel on Saturday - not to mention some extended footage of the film. Whether any of it reaches the outside world is anyone's guess, but we'll be there in full force to cover SDCC as it happens. Stay tuned to GR+. 

In the meantime, here's something cool that Lego is shipping in to San Diego to tie-in with Thor: Ragnarok - a 33,495-piece rendering of the god of thunder himself, in his gladiatorial getup. No Mjolnir, of course, just his nifty blue swords. You can see a timelapse of the model's creation here.

Read more: SDCC 2017: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Avengers: Infinity War, and everything else we want to see

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Thor: Ragnarok movie release date: the third Thor movie Hulk smashes into cinemas in November

Thor: Ragnarok's release date is 3 November 2017 in the US, and 27 October in the UK. After Thor: The Dark World - the weakest of Marvel’s Phase Two films despite the typically fun back-and-forth between Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki - Marvel knows a shake-up is needed to give the god of thunder the classic movie he deserves. Both Thor movies are fun, but they get nowhere near the top of the pile in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor: Ragnarok should redress that balance with a smart choice of director, a focus on more comedy and a new look at the cosmic side of the MCU previously seen in Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Thor: Ragnarok trailer sees a Thor vs Hulk fight: "He's a friend from work!" 

At last our long wait for a good look at Thor: Ragnarok has ended with the release of it's first teaser trailer and poster. You can watch it above now but it goes without saying that it's pretty amazing. In fact, this trailer could feature one of the best one-liners of any MCU movie (so far). As Thor rocks up to do battle in a Gladiator-style arena, who should he be facing off against than none other than his old mate the Hulk?! It's at this point that Thor turns to his captors and yells, "He's a friend from work!" Just brilliant.

We also see that Hela (Cate Blanchett) destroys Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, with relatively little effort. This explains why Thor is carrying an axe in Avengers: Infinity War, then. We get a quick shot of Karl Urban's Skurge, one of a bunch of new characters we'll see as a result of the film's shift in setting.

The Thor: Ragnarok cast adds Hulk, brings back Loki, and debuts Cate Blanchett and Jeff Goldblum

Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Thor for the fifth time, and Mark Ruffalo is back playing the Hulk in his fourth appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (counting his Iron Man 3 cameo). Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as Loki, and Anthony Hopkins returns as Odin, meaning we'll get some resolution to the cliffhanger ending of Thor: The Dark World where Loki took Asgard's throne in disguise. Idris Elba's Heimdall is confirmed as coming back as well. Natalie Portman's Jane Foster doesn't return, because Thor and Jane broke up. There's a lot of baggage when it comes to dating an Asgardian god, clearly.

Not confirmed by Marvel's press materials so far are Sif and the Warriors Three. Jaimie Alexander wasn't on the official cast list for Thor: Ragnarok, but in response to a tweet about that in May 2016, she teased her return. It's likely that Marvel doesn't want to ruin all the surprises in advance. As for the Warriors Three, Ray Stevenson (Volstagg) near the shooting location in Australia last year. Tadanobu Asano (Hogun) was in Australia during filming. Zachary Levi's Fandral is more of a question mark.

New cast members include Cate Blanchett as new villain Hela, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Karl Urban as Skurge, and Jeff Goldblum as the eccentric Grandmaster - who oversees the gladiatorial contest Thor finds himself a part of with Hulk. It's Goldblum's first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, unless you count the dancing credits sequence from the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and it's one GR+ is particularly excited about. 

Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange cameos as well, as strongly suggested by the post-credits sequence of his own movie. While there won't be many sequences set on Earth in Ragnarok, instead taking us back to Asgard or outer space, the Sorcerer Supreme's appearance will indeed take place on Earth—and is apparently linked to the search for Odin.

Director Taika Waititi has cast himself as the character Korg in Thor: Ragnarok, who is also trapped in the Grandmaster's arena with Odinson as a warm-up contestant. He's a member of the Kronan species.

The Thor: Ragnarok plot pits Thor vs Hulk, after Hela kicks the God of Thunder's ass

We recently learned tons more about the story of Thor: Ragnarok. After being held prisoner for Millenia, Hela, the goddess of death, is accidentally let loose - a by-product of Asgard's new ruler, Loki, being a little less diligent than his predecessor, Odin. Naturally, she's furious after being captive for so long, and gets the better of Thor in a scrap. As a result, the God of Thunder now finds himself on the planet of Sakaar. 

After meeting the powerful warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), he's forced to engage in gladiatorial combat, after she brings him to the planet's governor, The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum, dressed like a '70s pop star). Problem is, he's actually not terribly powerful compared to some of the other mean fighters on Sakaar - and that includes the Hulk, who's now one of the planet's main attractions. Hulk will apparently be more fleshed out than he has been in any other Marvel films to date, since he's treated as a god on Sakaar. 

How did he get here after the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, where he said farewell to Natasha Romanov? That remains a mystery, but hopefully the film will resolve that.

Thor loses his hammer, Mjolnir, but more tragically, his gorgeous blonde hair. He now carries twin blades into combat.

The Thor: Ragnarok director is a Sundance favourite - and brings more comedy to the MCU

Ragnarok will be directed by Taika Waititi, best known for funny but touching New Zealand-set films like Eagle Vs Shark and horror mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows (his latest picture, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, wowed us). He's bringing a funnier tone to the film than we've previously seen in Thor movies, which some Marvel fans were a little worried about.

Waititi has described the changes as a "slight tonal shift", though, insisting this is still a story where people will care about whether the hero succeeds or not. “Taika has such a quirky, left-of-field sense of humor, which forced all the characters and the tone of the whole story to head in a new direction,” Chris Hemsworth told Entertainment Weekly about his new director. Hey, we're not complaining. Even in The Dark World, the best bits were seeing Loki and Thor bicker, not watching Christopher Eccleston scowl through alien make-up. We're more than happy with extra laughter, especially when you've got the Hulk and Thor up against each other on an alien world. It's not exactly serious cinema, is it?

Thor: Ragnarok official poster is here - the God of  Thunder prepares for battle

Released alongside the trailer, here's the first official poster for Thor: Ragnarok, which gives us more Hemsworth tricep than we could possibly ask for. It depicts Thor getting ready to do some damage - or indeed, be damaged by his good pal - in the arena on Sakaar, which seems to be the film's primary location.

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