From the time director Taika Waititi began conceptualizing Thor: Ragnarok, he knew Korg was going to be a part of the movie, he just wasn’t sure how big of a role the character would play.
Korg, a member of the alien Kronan species, is a refreshing presence in Thor: Ragnarok. The film moves away from the Shakespearian dramatics that plagued the first two movies — it’s the hardiest comedy in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — and Korg is a standout newcomer ushered in with the franchise’s refreshed voice.
Waititi himself voiced Korg, but originally planned for him to be a minor character, appearing in one or two scenes. But the more he and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) improvised lines during a table read, the greater Korg’s presence in the movie became.
“Marvel thought it was really funny and I really enjoyed doing it,” Waititi told Business Insider. “Chris wanted to do more, so we injected him into more and more scenes and before you know it he was all over the movie.”
Inspired by the Polynesian bouncers whom Waititi knew from different clubs in New Zealand, Korg’s timid voice matches his gentle soul but feels comically out of place in conjunction with his 8-foot body. Korg’s physical presentation is made for comedy, much in the same way Hulk’s overwhelming physical state is rife with comedic potential in a movie like Ragnarok. Unlike Hulk — whom we’ve had a chance to understand, and whose faults we accept — Korg inspires with his newcomer vibe.
That’s what makes Korg such a magnetic character. He’s not like other people we’ve met in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s not strange, just jovial. He’s not harboring a plan for world domination, just a simple revolution to help his friends. The best comparison to another character is Groot. They’re simple giants, happy to be one of the guys who just want to help their friends.
It’s because of Korg’s purity that we’re so enamored with him. He’s adorable, to be sure, but he’s also a character worth rooting for. In a world where Thor and Loki are bickering over who will take their father’s spot on the throne; where Hela is trying to take over Asgard; where the Grandmaster wants to see people die at the hands of Hulk, and Hulk is living his life as a prince, Korg is one of the only characters who isn’t trying to win; he’s just trying to survive.
Korg wasn’t always a kind and gentle giant. The character technically made his debut in Thor: The Dark World and was a menacing beast. Waititi purposely changed the character for Ragnarok to be more lovable, telling Vanity Fair he wanted to cast Dwayne Johnson in the role to help sell Korg as “effortlessly charismatic, warm, and funny.”
Waititi’s decision to turn Korg from an emotionless general in a bland army to a quintessential part of Ragnarok paid off in the end. The internet is overcome with praise for the character, Waititi’s portrayal of him and the heart Korg brought to the movie. While Ragnarok is funny, it doesn’t lend itself to many heartfelt scenes. Korg’s unwavering commitment to his friends when they need him most and his ability to hold his head high in the face of terror, even when it seems like nothing can go right, is what Ragnarok needed.
Korg may have seen himself as a nobody who just wants to get by, but he’s the most important hero in Thor: Ragnarok.
Thor: Ragnarok is playing in theaters now.