“I know him! He’s a friend from work!” —Thor, Thor: Ragnarok
With the release of Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel Studios has taken major departure for the franchise: It’s funny, it’s hectic, and it takes place mostly on an alien planet. Here are 42 facts about the exciting new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
42. A Down Under Affair
Almost everything about Ragnarok screams “Down Under.” Its stars Chris Hemsworth and Cate Blanchett are Australian, the director, Taika Waititi, is a New Zealander with Māori heritage, and the movie was shot on the Gold Coast of Australia.
41. Holden Spaceships
Waititi managed to sneak even more references to Australia into the movie: All of the spaceships on Sakaar are named after different Holdens, a huge Australian car importer.
40. For Good Luck
Waititi wanted to be sure to be respectful of the local indigenous people while making Ragnarok. Before filming began, he had the local tribe perform a ceremonial welcome dance to bless the production with good luck.
39. We Come From the Land of the Ice and Snow
Before he was even hired to direct the movie, Waititi made a “sizzle reel” for Marvel execs—a collection of short clips from other films that were meant to show his vision. He set that reel to Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song,” and it must have worked because Waititi ended up getting the job.
38. Rock Doesn’t Come Cheap
Because it was such a perfect fit, Marvel would end up using “The Immigrant Song” in both the trailer for Ragnarok and the movie itself, but the rights didn’t come cheap. Led Zeppelin is notoriously selective when allowing their songs to be licensed, and even if they allow one to be used, the rights are reportedly as high as seven figures. Worth it?
37. Whip It
The score for the movie was done by Mark Mothersbaugh, the lead singer of the band Devo, who has done other movie scores like The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
36. Big Trouble in Little Asgard
Inspiration for Ragnarok was taken from lots of different ’80s action movies, but Waititi has specifically mentioned Big Trouble in Little China as a movie that he tried to emulate.
35. Not His First Space Rodeo
The costumes for Ragnarok were created by costume designer Mayes Rubeo, who had previously worked on other costume-heavy movies like Avatar and Warcraft.
34. Hope You’re Good at Sewing
More than 2,500 original costumes had to be created for the movie.
The two biggest sets that were built for the movie, the Asgard Piazza and Sakaar, were collectively as big as two football fields!
32. There’s Something About Space
Thor: Ragnarok is considered the third Marvel “space” movie after the first two Guardians of the Galaxys. But it wasn’t the first trip to space for four of the actors—Idris Elba, Karl Urban, Chris Hemsworth, and Benedict Cumberbatch have all acted in the recent Star Trek movies.
31. The Kid’s Got Good Ideas
When the first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok dropped, probably the funniest line is when Thor sees Hulk and says “He’s a friend from work!” That line was actually thought up by a kid who was on set for the day as part of the Make-A-Wish foundation.
30. Who’s Line is it Anyway?
According to Waititi, 80% of the movie’s dialogue was improvised. He would tell the actors what information needed to get out and let them go from there.
29. Money Maker
Within just 10 days of its release, Thor: Ragnarok made $650 million worldwide, beating out the Marvel movie Doctor Strange, which was released at the same time the year before.
28. Make it Three
Thor: Ragnarok is the third movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to be released in 2017 after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spiderman: Homecoming. This is the first time ever that Marvel has put out three MCU movies in one year. If you include Logan, that’s four Marvel movies in a year, but Logan isn’t in the MCU.
27. Kirby’s Dream Land
Jack Kirby was an early artist and writer for Marvel comics, and he created countless Marvel characters and gave them their distinctive look. Costume designers, set designers, and computer animators all tried to pay homage to Kirby when developing the look of the film. You can even see the signature “Kirby Krackle,” a visual effect that Kirby frequently used, in the movie’s trailers and posters.
26. Asgard Could be in… Oklahoma?
Odin tells Thor in the movie that Asgard isn’t one specific place—that Asgard could be anywhere. This idea actually originated in the comics, where in one arc Thor and the other Asgardians rebuild their city, of all places, just outside of Broxton, Oklahoma.
25. Hidden Gems
The centerpiece of the alien world of Sakaar is the Grandmaster’s enormous tower. It’s covered on the outside with huge sculptures of the gladiators who fight there. Hulk’s face is the most obvious, but it also shows the visages of other Marvel characters like Beta Ray Bill and Man-Thing.
24. Where Have I Seen Three Vampires Before…?
When Thor is looking at weapons in the gladiator arena, Korg offers him a spear with three wooden stakes on the end. Thor brushes it off, and Korg says, “Yeah, not really useful unless you’re fighting off three vampires that are huddled together.” This is probably a reference to What We Do in the Shadows, a previous movie by Waititi about three vampires who live together.
23. Don’t Forget Your Roots
When Thor tries to activate the Avengers’ Quinjet on Sakaar, it won’t respond until he signs in as “Point Break.” That’s the nickname that Tony Stark called him all the way back in the first Avengers movie because Thor shares Patrick Swayze’s long blonde hair in the action film Point Break.
22. Frog Prince of Asgard
At one point in the movie, Thor reminisces about the time that Loki turned him into a frog. This actually happened in the comics—frog Thor eventually finds his hammer Mjölnir and becomes the mighty (mini) hero Throg!
21. Hats Off if You Caught This One
Tessa Thompson’s troubled Valkyrie goes by the name Scrapper-142 in the movie. She was given that name because Valkyrie’s first main appearance in the comics was in The Incredible Hulk issue #142. You’d have to be a pretty serious fan to notice this easter egg!
20. No Lou
Mark Ruffalo provided the voice for the Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok. This is the first time in the MCU that Lou Ferrigno hasn’t voiced the role.
19. A Jurassic Part
If you look closely, in one of the movie’s early scenes you can see Sam Neill dressed as Odin in a play. Neill, most famous for his lead role in Jurassic Park, is a New Zealander like Waititi, and worked with him in Waititi’s film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
18. Who Better?
In the same scene where Sam Neill plays an actor portraying Odin, Luke Hemsworth, Chris Hemsworth’s older brother, plays the actor portraying Thor.
17. Thank Planet Hulk
Though the story is completely different, Ragnarok takes a lot from the hugely popular comic series Planet Hulk. The world of Sakaar, Hulk’s gladiator look, and Korg all come from the comic.
16. Carb Loading
In order to bulk up for the role of Thor, Hemsworth ate more than 6,000 calories a day.
15. Can’t Keep His Shirt On
Hemsworth’s Thor is the only Marvel character (besides Hulk) who has had a shirtless scene in each of his MCU movies. As a bonus, Thor also has a shirtless scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
14. Faithful to the Character
In the comics, Valkyrie is one of the few bisexual characters, but it never comes up in the movie. Still, to stay true to the role, Tessa Thompson says that she played her as bisexual, remaining faithful to Valkyrie’s background.
13. Leading (Bad) Lady
The main antagonist of the movie is Hela, Thor and Loki’s sister, played by Cate Blanchett. This marks the very first time that the lead villain in an MCU movie is a woman.
12. Doing it for the Kids
Cate Blanchett is most famous for acting in serious, dramatic roles. She took the role of Hela because she wanted to be in a movie that her kids would like. Even better, one of her sons actually landed a small cameo part in the film.
11. Being a Death Goddess Takes a Lot of Training
Unsurprisingly, as Goddess of Death, Hela does a lot of fighting in Ragnarok. To prepare for the role, Cate Blanchett studied the Brazilian martial art capoeira.
Korg, the loveable rock monster and breakout character of the movie, is voiced by none other than Taika Waititi himself.
9. Gentle Giant
Waititi based Korg on the hulking Polynesian bouncers whom he had known in his life: Big guys who were really friendly, but at the same time were people you did not want to mess with.
8. Just Go With It
Korg wasn’t fully fleshed out before they started filming. Waititi would frequently joke around on set as the character with a funny, thick New Zealand accent, and Chris Hemsworth kept telling him he should do it on camera, birthing Korg’s voice.
7. Can’t Make Up Their Mind
Waititi is the third person to direct a Thor movie out of three movies. It’s the only Marvel franchise to have no returning directors.
6. Mixing it Up
If you think that Ragnarok feels different than the rest of the Thor movies, it’s because that was the idea. Marvel specifically asked Waititi for a departure in tone from the rest of the series, and Chris Hemsworth was excited to bring out the lighter side of the hero.
5. New Territory
Before Thor: Ragnarok, Waititi had directed four full length movies: Eagle vs. Shark, Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, but Thor is the first time he’s directed a movie that he didn’t also write.
4. No Stopping Now
With this big success under his belt, Waititi is now the talk of Hollywood. He’s reportedly set to adapt another beloved sci-fi property: a live-action version of the cult anime favourite Akira. Before that, he’s directing a movie about Michael Jackson’s chimp, Bubbles.
3. As if He Wasn’t Doing Enough
On top of voicing Korg and directing the movie, Taika Waititi also somehow found time to voice one of the heads on a three-headed alien and to provide the motion-capture work for Surtur, the enormous, fiery demon that Thor fights in the opening scene.
2. Bad Haircut
A big deal was made about the fact that Thor got his hair cut short in this movie, and there was a lot of speculation as to why Marvel decided to change the ‘do. But the real reason it happened? Chris Hemsworth just didn’t want to wear the Thor wig anymore. Fortunately, it made sense for the plot of the movie: ancient gladiators always used to have their hair cut short, and it allowed for yet another memorable cameo from Stan Lee as the barber.
1. Finally Fixed
One thing that’s been bugging MCU fans for years is the fact that there seemed to be two different Infinity Gauntlets in the universe. It was first shown in Odin’s vault in the first Thor, but then the villain Thanos is shown grabbing it from somewhere else in the post credits scene from Age of Ultron. Ragnarok cleared up this confusion when Hela revealed that Odin’s gauntlet is a fake.