Thor: Ragnarok is the third installment in the franchise, but according to director Taika Waititi, it will feel like the very first movie.
Waititi told Entertainment Weekly that a large part of what Ragnarok does is completely destroy and reinvent the idea of what Thor is. While every director has their own take on the character, Waititi specifically wanted to focus on lead actor Chris Hemsworth’s comedic abilities, as seen in films like Ghostbusters and National Lampoon’s Vacation — and even occasionally in The Avengers movies. Until now, Hemsworth hasn’t been allowed to be very funny in the stand-alone Thor movies, but all of that is about to change.
“A lot of what we’re doing with the film is, in a way, kind of dismantling and destroying the old idea and rebuilding it in a new way that’s fresh,” Waititi said. “Everyone’s got a slightly new take on their characters, so in that way, it feels like [this is] the first Thor.”
Waititi said the concept was always to give Hemsworth as many scenes as possible to be funny. Thor, Waititi explained, is a funny character, but he’s not given opportunities to explore that side of him because he’s expected to be the stoic guardian of Asgard. Once he teams up with the Hulk, the movie becomes a bit of a road-trip comedy, with Waititi taking influence from films like 48 Hrs., Withnail and I, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
So, just how do Thor and the Hulk meet up with one another in Ragnarok? Marvel has addressed the question previously, but have always erred on the side of being vague. Now there are a few more details about their meet-up, including what brought Thor to the strange new planet we find him on. According to Entertainment Weekly, after a terrible encounter with the evil goddess Hela (Cate Blanchett), Thor gets sent to the barbaric planet of Sakaar, which is overseen by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Once there, Thor is forced to enter gladiatorial battles — hence the new haircut — and goes up against his old Avengers teammate, the Hulk.
The Hulk has been on Sakaar for quite some time and, during his time on the planet, has become one of the most successful gladiators. Unlike in previous films where the Hulk was a raging green monster who just liked to smash things, actor Mark Ruffalo said the character has much more of a personality in this film, even going as far as to call it a “swagger.”
“He’s like a god,” Ruffalo said.
Thor: Ragnarok will be released on Nov. 3.