Asgard doesn't know it, but the Realm Eternal is no longer under the command of the All-Father. A pretender sits upon the throne, and although he may wear the form of Odin, Loki most certainly lacks the All-Father's wisdom. A series of interviews with the cast and production team are gradually revealing spoilers regarding how Odin's secret disappearance has affected the universe, and the role Thor has been forced to play since Avengers: Age of Ultron...
A Universe In Chaos
According to producer Brad Winderbaum, Loki's ascendance to the throne has caused a lot of problems for the Galaxy as a whole. He told IGN:
"What Thor comes to learn early on is that there's a lot of terrible things in the cosmos that just shouldn't be that way. And we learn that Odin was doing far more than it seemed on the surface to keep the universe safe. That there were all these threats that he had quelled or was keeping at bay, using his strength and power to do so, that Loki was completely unaware, unprepared for."
It seems that Odin was no distant observer to galactic affairs. Instead, he was using his phenomenal power to hold terrible forces across the universe in check. Neither Loki nor Thor was aware of these terrible threats, and in Odin's absence, the cosmos has become a far more dangerous place than ever before.
Thor's Role In The Galaxy
That's where Thor comes in. The God of Thunder left Earth in Avengers: Age of Ultron, seeking an answer to the mystery of the Infinity Stones. Doing so has thrown him into this newly-unstable cosmos, and Thor's been shocked at what he's encountered. As Winderbaum told Collider, he's become something of a "lone gunslinger", working to keep the forces of darkness in check.
“What [Thor] realizes really fast is that this one quest, that universe ending peril that he was trying to figure out, branched off into any number of universe-ending perils.”
Thor's quest for the Infinity Stones has essentially been sidelined, as the Son of Odin is now struggling to deal with threats on a scale that would stagger even his fellow Avengers. Thor: Ragnarok opens with Thor a prisoner of the fire demon Surtur on the Realm of Muspelheim, which production designer Dan Hannah described as a sort of "Dyson Sphere." It's an incredibly dangerous place, populated by demons and dragons and other amazing creatures who live off the energy of a dying star.
The Lord of Muspelheim is Surtur, a fire demon who played a major role in the last trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. In Norse mythology, Surtur is a warrior associated with flames and fire, and he played a key role in the final war of the gods — Ragnarok. There, the poems from Norse legend tell of Surtur locked in battle against the Thunder God himself. It's certainly appropriate for this monstrous being to appear in a film called Ragnarok!
The Most Dangerous Threat Of All Is Hela
Although Marvel has kept fairly quiet about Cate Blanchett's Hela, she could in fact be the most dangerous threat of all, one that Loki was blissfully unaware of. Odin has kept her imprisoned for countless eons, but now she's broken free. As Cate Blanchett told Entertainment Weekly:
"She’s been locked away for millennia, getting more and more cross, and then, with a mistake, she get unleashed and she ain’t getting back in that box."
We don't yet know who makes that crucial mistake. Will Thor's ongoing quests unwittingly lead him to free Hela? Or will Loki, as King of Asgard, accidentally release Hela from Odin's prison? Whatever the case may be, Blanchett's understatement is pretty amusing; I'm sure Hela is more than "cross!"
We finally know why Thor hasn't been seen on Earth for the last two years. Frankly, he's been remarkably busy locked in a series of adventures while battling for the fate of the universe. No wonder Sideshow Collectibles called the Thor of Muspelheim "Roadworn!"
But the greatest threat of all is Hela, a threat who may well spell doom for the Realm Eternal. As we saw in the first trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, even the might of Mjolnir can't contend with the Goddess of Death! Find out whether Thor and his allies can triumph when Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3.