From the trailer for Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, we know that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) shows up, and that Heimdall (Idris Elba) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) also make an appearance. But it is not evident if Thor will show up again until Thor 3: Ragnarok. Given that Hemsworth only has a couple more films in his contract after Age of Ultron, Marvel may need to make them count.
Recently, Marvel announced that Thor 3: Ragnarok is due for release in 2017, with Chris Hemsworth (Thor 2: The Dark World) and Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers) returning to reprise their roles of Thor and Loki, respectively. According to Marvel Co-President Kevin Feige, “This is a very important movie for us in Phase 3. We plan on taking Thor to another level. It picks up where we leave Thor in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and impacts everything that comes after.”
In the Marvel comics, Ragnarok has come and gone from Asgard multiple times, but for the purposes of this discussion, the most recent iteration seems like the most important. The backstory features Thor inheriting the Odinpower after his father, Odin, dies during a battle with the fire demon, Surtur. Raging with this power, Thor goes a little crazy, extending the rule of Asgard to ruler over Earth, and spends a couple hundred years as an all-powerful and not-at-all cool immortal being. Eventually he regrets his mistakes and travels back in time to correct the entire storyline.
Anthony Hopkins (Noah), who played Odin in the first two movies, has added in a somewhat joking tone, “Maybe he’s dead. I’ve done two, that’s enough.”
If Odin is dead, this could open up an opportunity for Thor to gain his powers, and possibly lead towards one of a couple of the comic book story-lines mentioned above. But that seems like a big assumption to make. Regardless of the story-line, “what happened to Odin?” is going to be one of the big questions.
So what are the events that will impact Thor and Asgard, and impact the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward into Phase 3?
There will be five films released before Thor 3: Ragnarok is released. Two of them, Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 5, 2015) and Ant-Man (July 17, 2015), are part of Marvel’s Phase 2. Then, as part of Phase 3, Marvel will release Captain America 3: Civil War (May 6, 2016), Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016), and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5, 2017), which will mark a different story cycle.
As part of Phase 2, there has been a strong theme of “sacrifice” and the maneuverings of undetected forces, both of which are likely to continue through the last two films. Based on past findings, Phase 3 might best be summarized in a word such as “consequences”. A more elegant theme will likely surface, but Phase 3 appears to portray the characters locked into fates by the choices they have made, and perhaps trying to change, rise to meet, or escape those fates.
The two parts of Avengers 3: Infinity War will tell us that Thanos will come into play, and we know that Loki’s staff is an Infinity Gem, one of those hyper-powerful objects coveted by Thanos. Additionally, the structure of the release schedule – with the two parts of Infinity War “bookending” Captain Marvel – suggests that the first part will unleash true devastation on some of the characters we know, leading to a situation where Captain Marvel steps in to guide the final battle against Thanos. As exciting and tempting it is to theorize, guess, and analyze, we’ll just have to wait and see for ourselves.