After two financially successful, but critical panned and forgettable installments, no one would fault you for being apprehensive towards another entry in the Thor series. But this most recent trailer may show us a formula that’s ultimately been left alone in the Thor films and may be the key to it’s success…

It should be noted this is purely speculative based off the trailer, Doctor Strange, and leaked Comic Con footage from 2016. That being said, if you’d rather not risk the chance these may turn into actual spoilers, get out now!!

Personally, I’ve found the Thor series to be the most disappointing element of the MCU thus far. While the series may have produced Loki and fawning over him in the threads and meme-world, it has fallen victim to Marvel’s inability to craft great villains (particularly in The Dark World), create consistent attachment to other characters in this universe, or keep the plot flowing and interesting. So what in the world could have happened in one trailer to make me think this one may be different?

Stronger Villains

Hela may only be in the trailer for a few distinct moments, but they are enough to convey the magnitude of trouble going down in Asgard…and it all starts here

Bad days off at the office usually start off like this.

This moment automatically clues us into the stakes for our second-favorite Asgardian as his hammer is quickly destroyed (If they are smart, they won’t have Hela quickly rebuild it for Thor. This has happened too frequently in the comics for rather weak reasons.), Asgard is immediately sacked thereafter, and our hero is being pitted against the enemies of Grandmaster’s arena. In the comics, Hela has been a consistently formidable enemy for the Asgard and it has usually required a heavy sacrifice (or some trickery from Loki) to take her down or make her relinquish control.

Add in that she’s being played by a stellar actress in Cate Blanchett and we may finally break the Marvel trend of bad villains. To their credit, they nearly did it with Baron Zemo, but having the end plot wrap up so neatly kind of undermines his attempt to dissemble or…umm.. err…re-dissemble the Avengers (Geez, I bet they break up again in Infinity Wars). Heck, Hela may end up getting usurped by Surtur by the end of this film, but more on that later.

Embrace The Realms

From the first moment we see Thor chained and tossed into a fiery cavern (probably Hel, but not sure) to the more fantastical shots on Sakaar, there’s already a lot to like in this first trailer. We already get some places we are familiar with like Earth or Asgard, but placing Thor and his allies in different locales could really allow for some world building that was neglected in the previous films. Sure, we’ve all seen glimpses of the different realms, but they weren’t exactly pillars of the film or were only there to establish how deep the universe could go without actually taking us there. Off my first count, we’ll see at least 5 different places: Earth, Asgard, Sakaar, Hel, and probably Vanaheim.

I can’t articulate how happy the classic helmet nod here makes me. We haven’t seen it since the first Thor

Sakaar will likely be front and center for the majority or first half of the film until Loki and Thor can start their quest to find Odin (pretty important thought on this below). Grandmaster appears to taking over the Red King’s role as ruler of Sakaar and the arena battles from Planet Hulk. It’s honestly a fine change as Grandmaster gives us access to even more of the cosmic entities we’ve yet to explore in the MCU and his constant games and challenges fit well into this context. Plus, he’s played by Jeff Goldblum so there’s more than enough incentive for me to see what he does with the character.

And did we mention the Goldblum is here?

I put Vanaheim in the maybe category because it was harder to establish than the other shots. Remember the first fight in Thor: The Dark World set in the forest? It was credited as Vanaheim as Thor and the gang showed up there to help Hogun protect his homeland. Additionally, we’ve already seen leaked Comic-Con footage of Hulk raging with the Warrior’s Three and now seeing Heimdall there means we’ll likely be putting more time into this planet. Obviously the big question of why they are fighting there is important, but they could be hiding from Hela after the ransacking of Asgard.

Hopefully he’ll have more to do this go around

And if those weren’t interesting enough, we are definitely going to send some time in Hel. In the comics, Thor has spent considerable time here when battling Hela so it would make sense to get a glimpse in this film. My counterpart Kyle did point out the heavy use of narration in the previous Thor films so maybe we’ll get less time here than we think. But going back to the leaked Comic Con footage, we see Thor doing battle in another fiery place so there’s a strong chance we’ll see it.

Are those fire demons I spy in the corner of this shot?

Where In The Realms Is Odin?

and likely explains why Thor and Loki are looking for Odin as he will likely know how to rebuild the hammer…there’s only one problem…what did Loki do to Odin?

Too chill in the face of danger…I’m automatically suspicious

I’ve been wondering about this since the mid-credit scene in Doctor Strange. I thought Loki’s plan was to rule Asgard, but clearly something has caused him to revert and stay in his normal form rather than keep up the charade as Odin. It’s entirely possible that Hela’s appearance makes Loki realize he can’t defend the realm on his own, but that still begs the question about what he did to Odin in the first place. I hope this question is answered well because it’s already created narrative issues I want tackled:

  • When and how did Odin become lost or “misplaced” perhaps?
  • Why is Thor asking Doctor Strange for help on Earth in the middle of all this?
  • Did they start the search for Odin and then Hela shows up to screw shit up? That could explain why Thor is back on Earth when Mjolnir kicks the bucket.
  • We know Odin is on Earth from some leaked set shots, but

Thor and Hulk Buddy Adventure

Maybe Sakaar’s not as bad as it seems? Unlikely

We can already see this film will not follow a straight up Planet Hulk storyline. I’m willing to bet with this shot of Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in street clothes, he’s likely enjoying his time on Sakaar. So maybe leaving there isn’t so much beating the Hulk as it is convincing him to leave. Remember, he was considered a danger again after the events in Age of Ultron. His arc with Black Widow made him believe he couldn’t be happy with her because of the Johannesburg incident so it’s entirely possible he felt being off-planet was a better solution. How he got there is another mystery this film will have to answer, but it’s completely possible Valkyrie scooped him up while in isolation.

Ruffalo and Hemsworth have constantly had great on-screen chemistry as testy allies and exploring that more fully in this film could the right spice for the third installment. I mean, if Tony and Steve can pull off a major hit with those two, surely we Marvel can accomplish the same feat with the other two heavy hitters.

Valkyrie and Skurge The Executioner

We don’t get a ton of time in the trailer to see these two, but hopefully subsequent trailer releases will expand on their roles. However, It’s rather delightful to see Tessa Thompson and Karl Urban playing these two. Yeah, it’s adding a ton of star power to an already heavy cast and could potentially be too much if done incorrectly. It’s highly likely there roles are limited given how much is being crammed into this film. I mean Skurge is usually working for Enchantress and I highly doubt she was cast and introduced in this same film. If I had to guess, he’s either taking orders from Hela or Grandmaster in this iteration, or completely off the reservation entirely. Whether Valkyrie’s presence will extend past Sakaar is harder to tell from the trailer. Though she’s been pinned as the love interest this go around, so it’s possible she’ll be fighting right along side Thor in the finale.

“I’m a executioner, not a doctor Jim!!”

Surtur

This is the one baddie that hasn’t had a strong confirmation. Typically with the Ragnarok storyline, we get a Surtur appearance and manipulation of some kind. It stands to reason we could see him towards the very end of this film, but it also depends on how deep Marvel is going with the name “Ragnarok”. Does it simply mean a shitty week for Thor like Fury’s Big Week or apocalyptic, God crushing event like it was in the comics and Norse mythology? Considering Infinity Wars being so close, it’s likely to be the former to keep Thanos as the universal big bad.

What do you think about these predictions? Think I’m completely off or have some theories of your own? Let us know in the comment section below.

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