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Great Odin’s raven! The first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel’s third chapter in the Thor movie saga, unleashed on Monday with the first footage of Cate Blanchett’s supremely evil goddess Hela, Tessa Thompson as the warpaint-smeared Valkyrie, Thor’s “friend from work” Hulk, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Hiddleston, and so much more. So let’s dive in and unpack all the secrets and first looks, shall we?
The first image is of Thor dangling from a chain and hovering above a scorched earth with molten lava peeping out through the cracks. We can probably assume this is Sakaar, a desolate planet where our hero ends up after a fateful encounter with Hela, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Though, another option could be Hela's domain of the dead. “I know what you’re thinking: how did I end up here?” the Avenger says in this record-scratch moment, which is already indicative of director Taika Waititi, known for his comedic work in What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
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Meet the Goddess of Death. Hela, played by the Blue Jasmine Oscar winner, is released from her prison early on in the film as a result of Loki, who’s impersonation of his father (Anthony Hopkins, unseen in the trailer) has led to some seriously lax ruling of Asgard. Based on concept art fans saw earlier, it seems this encounter happens in New York. What is Thor doing in the Big Apple? As we saw in the post-credits scene of Doctor Strange, he needs Stephen Strange to help locate Odin.
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Hela’s status as the Goddess of Death already speaks to the amount of power she wields, but she barely bats an eye as she not only stops Thor’s unstoppable hammer, Mjolnir, in its tracks, but crushes it into tiny pieces with just one hand. Aside from Odin, who first bestowed the weapon unto his son, Vision is the only one we’ve really seen handle it with ease.
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The Horns Have It
Like some sort of goth-induced concept art for Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, Hela slips into something more dastardly with an antlered look that's more on par with her comic book appearance.
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You’ve seen this moment before in the first official look Marvel released of the film via concept art. Here, Hela arrives in Asgard and prepares to make quick work of these soldiers.
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Death Has Come to Asgard
“Asgard is dead,” Hela announces as Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” accompanies a fiery wave of destruction that swallows everything in its path. Remember in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Idris Elba’s Heimdall told Thor in that vision that he’d lead Asgard to hell? This is it.
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After that incident with Hela, Thor is tossed through space where he finally lands on the planet Sakaar. It’s a bit of a junkyard planet, hence all the junk. Many who find themselves unsuspectingly stranded here do so by way of those wormholes in the sky.
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Thor instantly sees a few new faces of the Marvel universe when he arrives on Sakaar, though they’re not exactly friendly. The film — and its creatures — seems to be embracing a more colorful palette. Both these beings would fit right at home in the Star Wars universe, and their appearance may be a conglomerate of all the different beings that found their way to the planet in the comics.
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Clearly, the new female hero of the Marvel universe doesn’t necessarily start out on Thor’s side. We know she has a “business relationship” with The Grandmaster (Goldblum) and she delivers the God of Thunder to him believing he might find his new guest of interest for the gladiatorial arena. As Hemsworth teased to EW, "Thor is a bit of a fanboy for the Valkyrie, the elite women warriors."
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Hela vs. the Valkyries
It’s unclear if this is a flashback or a climactic end scene between Odin’s warrior women and the villain, but it speaks to a comic book plot. Valkyries are beings who ferry the souls of heroes slain in battle to the afterlife in Valhalla on the backs of winged horses.
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The Fall of the Valkyries
Now, here’s where things delve into potential spoilers and theories, so you may want to click away from this panel... In the comics, Odin commands the Valkyrie to attack Hela, but the enchantress corrupts them, causing them to lose their physical forms. If this plot point were to be adapted for the movie, what would make sense for this cinematic universe? Might there be another Infinity Stone involved? The Soul Gem perhaps? Just something fun to think about for the time being until more information is revealed.
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Locks of Love
Back on Sakaar, we see more of the creatures forced into these brutal games. Much like the Roman gladiators, these are given various armor and weapons (including tridents) to use to fight each other on the field. But most importantly, Thor can no longer keep his luscious locks.
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Make way for Goldblum’s arrival into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as The Grandmaster, the charming but villainous ruler of Sakaar. “What have you brought me today?” he asks Valkyrie, who promises a contender in Thor.
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Elba’s Heimdall returns in Thor: Ragnarok, but he no longer has his glistening, golden armor — and he’s no longer on Asgard, for that matter. We see him hacking an alien creature in an unknown jungle environment. What happened to him since Thor: The Dark World? Has he, too, been dropped on Sakaar? Are these woods one of The Grandmaster’s arenas?
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Another Hole in the Sky
If you haven’t gotten tired of seeing potentially world-ending “holes in the sky” with these superhero movies, here’s another. This one could be a few different things. It looks like one of those wormholes that dropped Thor off at Sakaar, but it could also be something more deadly. After all, this movie isn’t subtitled Ragnarok (the apocalypse of Norse mythology) for nothing. On a side note, that ship doesn’t look like anything from the Asgardian fleet.
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The Executioner has arrived. Karl Urban’s character, Hela’s servant Skurge, bears that nickname in the comics due to his double-sided ax and brutal abilities. In the trailer, he chooses guns as his weapons of choice, which is a nod to another comic, Walter Simonson's Thor #362. Still, his look is very comic accurate.
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What Thor movie would be complete without the God of Mischief? As Hela shows off her acrobatic prowess, which Blanchett says required “a bit of wire work,” Hiddleston’s Loki enters the playing field. It’s unclear what’s going on in the background, though we see a crowd ganging up on someone, while another warrior bears red symbols on his shoulder reminiscent of Thor’s warpaint on Sakaar.
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Preparing for Battle
Without Mjolnir and his ponytail, Thor gets new armor and weapons, one piece of which is a nod to one of the character’s original helmets in the comics. As for the shield, the red, white, and blue seems like a wink at his buddy Captain America, but he’s also stuck with a different hammer. It definitely doesn’t look like Jarnbjorn, the ax Thor later wields on the page, but perhaps it’ll come into the picture down the road.
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The Grandmaster comes so close to calling the giant green rage monster by the familiar title of The Incredible Hulk, but his inclusion in Thor: Ragnarok speaks to a larger inspiration: Planet Hulk. Sakaar also points to this comic book arc, which sees Hulk blasted off into space after the Avengers deem him too dangerous to be on earth. He lands on the planet, where he’s forced to become a gladiator. When last we saw Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, he was jetting off to live in seclusion in Avengers: Age of Ultron, fearing he may continue to harm others. This still raises the question, how did he get from earth to Sakaar?
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Joining The Grandmaster for these festivities is Loki. Despite the animosity between he and Thor, one would assume the God of Mischief doesn’t want to see Asgard destroyed by Hela. Is he on Sakaar to try and bargain with The Grandmaster to free Thor, or does he just want to see the Asgardian get squashed? Both seem reasonable.
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"He's a friend from work!"
Taika Waititi had a lot of fun with Thor in that two-part mockumentary short film, Part 2 of which was released on the Doctor Strange Blu-ray. But here’s another example of the levity the filmmaker is bringing to this superhero story. “We know each other! He’s a friend from work,” Thor shouts about Hulk.
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Thor vs. Hulk
Unfortunately, friendship isn’t enough and it’s Thor vs. Hulk, Round 2 — or Round 3, if you count both their hanger fight sequence in The Avengers and that brief side punch in Grand Central Station. Can the Asgardian take on The Incredible Hulk without Mjolnir? Guess we'll find out when Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on Nov. 3.