How Big Trouble in Little China inspired Thor: Ragnarok
For more on Thor: Ragnarok, stay tuned to EW.com this week and pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now – and don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive photos and interviews.
Thor: Ragnarok marks a tonal shift for the Thor franchise with director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) aiming for a more humorous tone — particularly in the relationship between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), both of whom find themselves stranded on planet Sakaar.
But Waititi wants to make it clear that the third Thor film is not a straight-up laugh riot.
“It’s not really a comedy,” says the director. “There are some really great moments we’re going to have in the film. Knowing that it was Bruce Banner and Thor on kind of a road trip journey, that lends itself to a tone because those guys are both really funny. I was like you gotta exploit Chris’ comic abilities. He’s so good and underutilized in that department. He’s legitimately one of the funniest things in this film.”
The tone that the movie is perhaps closest to is the 1986 cult classic Big Trouble in Little China. The John Carpenter film about Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) battling sorcerers and demons in San Francisco’s Chinatown was one of the movies that Waititi presented when he pitched Marvel his vision for Ragnarok. ”
“Big Trouble in Little China was one of those films where Jack Burton is a buffoon but he’s lovable and you’re with him the entire way. I thought Thor has got to be the one you want to be with in every scene.”
As previously revealed in our EW cover story, the plot of Thor: Ragnarok picks up after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, where Thor left Earth and returned to Asgard after hearing about trouble on his home planet in the form of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has taken the throne by impersonating their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Unfortunately, Loki’s rather lax governing leads to the reemergence of an imprisoned Hela (Cate Blanchett), who blasts Thor to Sakaar, a barbaric planet ruled by the charming but nefarious Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a tough, hard-drinking warrior hiding out on Sakaar brings the god to the Grandmaster, after which he’s forced into becoming a gladiator (and teams, eventually, with The Hulk).
Thor: Ragnarok is out Nov. 3.