(Warning: The following contains potential - albeit largely theoretical - SPOILERS for next year's Thor: Ragnarok. If you'd rather not know anything about Thor's hair in the movie, and its potential consequences for the MCU, then proceed with caution and all that...)
Now, one of the more immediate side effects of superheroes acquiring 'iconic' status, is that there are certain key things we tend to associate with them as a result. Iron Man, for instance, really isn't Iron Man without his armor, or that snark-framing goatee. Captain America isn't really Cap without his shield, or his ever-accurate moral compass. Spider-Man isn't Spidey without webs and romantic problems.
For the Marvel Cinematic Universe's other big hitter, though, the main associations are even simpler: Thor has long hair, and carries a hammer named Mjolnir. That's how you know he's Thor. Except, it seems, that may not be the case for much longer, as it looks like...
Thor Is Going To Get An Extremely Portentous Haircut In Thor: Ragnarok
Y'see, as it turns out, the whispered murmurings of a short haircut for Thor from a few weeks back haven't only been confirmed by the recent Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con, but also by a series of images of a freshly-shorn Chris 'Thor' Hemsworth, posted to Instagram by his Thor: Ragnarok co-star, Mark 'Hulk' Ruffalo:
Who, in a pair of posts, has managed to confirm that not only will Thor be rocking some substantially shortened locks in the movie, but he'll be pairing them with a longer-than-usual beard, too:
Which, for fans of the comic-books, is... intriguing news. After all:
Thor Having Short Hair In Thor: Ragnarok Could Be A Bigger Deal Than You Think
Y'see, while Thor may not have a whole lot of comic-book history of rocking a short-haired look - the vast majority of his appearances have featured his trademark flowing blond locks - a few recent developments on the page may just make Hemsworth's shorter do a pretty huge deal. The reason? A few years back, the comic-book Thor found himself 'unworthy' of wielding his iconic hammer, Mjolnir, and somewhat grudgingly watched as it was instead taken up by his long-time ally, Jane Foster. And so, the critically acclaimed, fan-beloved and best-selling female Thor was born:
Meanwhile, the original Thor... just kind of disappeared for a while. When he eventually returned, it was as 'The Odinson', an axe-wielding variant on the Thor we know and love, who has since come to be known as 'The Unworthy Thor'.
The reason that matters, though? Well, take a look at these designs for the forthcoming The Unworthy Thor comic-book:
Yup, that's right. Thor is about to have short hair in the comic-books, as a symbol of his lack of 'worthiness' to wield Mjolnir (the hammer in the image above is actually an alternate reality version of the weapon from a universe that has since ceased to exist - it's best not to ask). Which, in turn, suggests that we might well be set to see a similar plot-line in next year's Thor: Ragnarok. Specifically:
It Seems Increasingly Certain That Loki Will Cast Thor Out Of Asgard... Without Mjolnir
After all, what else is he going to do? Impersonating Odin is all well and good, but if you can't cast out your eternal frenemy/adopted brother, then what's the point? It was always likely, then, that we would see Thor being cast out of Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok, but it now seems distinctly likely that we'll see it arrive with a side order of 'unworthiness', and the loss of Mjolnir. Which could perhaps explain both Thor and Hulk's cosmic road trip - an element of banishment, say? - and the role of Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie, who could perhaps be next in line in the 'worthiness' stakes, and thus end up wielding Mjolnir herself.
Which would be both an intriguing way of bringing the popular female Thor to the MCU - Jane Foster taking the role seems unlikely, considering Natalie Portman's disinterest in continuing in the part - and a natural point of dramatic tension for the movie to pivot on, especially if rumors of The Hulk's relatively limited involvement are to be believed.
Or, y'know, Thor just felt like a change, and decided to cut all of his hair off.
Either way, it's time to start getting over-excited about Thor: Ragnarok's arrival next year... and the inevitable post-credits sequence featuring a crack about Thor's hair:
Bring on 2017, already!
What do you reckon, though?
Do you think Thor will be deemed 'unworthy' in Thor: Ragnarok, and lose Mjolnir?