ByTom Bacon, writer at
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Tom Bacon

Created by Walt Simonson in 1983's Thor #337, Beta Ray Bill is a powerful alien being, and one of the few to prove worthy to wield Thor's hammer Mjolnir. Simonson created the character to subvert comic book tropes; he knew that readers would expect Bill's visage to be the face of a monster, so turning him into an unexpected hero left fans thrilled.

Fans have long been campaigning for Beta Ray Bill to make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut, and Thor: Ragnarok brought us closer than ever before. You may not have noticed, but the Grandmaster's Tower featured the faces of previous champions. One of them was clearly Beta Ray Bill.

The Grandmaster's Tower. [Credit: Marvel Comics]
The Grandmaster's Tower. [Credit: Marvel Comics]

Surprisingly, it seems Bill actually almost made a cameo. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige told Crave Online:

"There was a Beta Ray Bill, but it was so quick that you would have the same complaints that you have now. He was in it a little bit more and it just didn’t do justice. And the feeling is, if you can’t do it justice, do it later."

Back in the early days of the MCU, Marvel put in Easter Eggs with little care for the future. One of the most famous was the Infinity Gauntlet in Odin's Vault, which became something of a continuity issue as Marvel focused their narrative around the Infinity Stones. It took Ragnarok to cleverly fix that.

Beta Ray Bill May Be More Important Than You'd Think

Surprisingly, it turns out Beta Ray Bill may actually still play a major (albeit subtle) role in the film. Note: Spoilers follow from this point.

Later in the movie, Loki arrives on Asgard in a battleship he's stolen from Sakaar. We can presume this ship crashed through one of the wormholes surrounding this strange world, but that it wasn't in a bad state of disrepair. The spaceship bears striking similarity to one used by Beta Ray Bill, a sentient vessel known as the Skuttlebutt.

Little by little, the MCU is giving us a dark vision of the recent history of Bill's race, the Korbinites. The (canon) Thor: The Dark World Prelude comics established that the planet Korbin already had ties with Asgard, and was watched over by Heimdall. The destruction of the Bifrost Bridge saw Korbin's enemies launch a devastating attack, one that only came to an end when the Tesseract's power was used to reform the Bifrost. But all doesn't seem to have gone well for the aliens. A Korbinite seems to have appeared in one of the Collector's cases in Guardians of the Galaxy, suggesting the race may have been further struck by disaster.

In the comics, the planet Korbin was ultimately destroyed. The surviving Korbinites fled their devastated homeworld, guarded by Beta Ray Bill and his warship, Skuttlebutt. Now it looks as though Skuttlebutt was caught up in one of Sakaar's wormholes, stranding Bill on the planet as one of the Collector's champions. We don't know whether he escaped, was freed, or ultimately died in the arena. Whatever the truth may be, it seems his people are far less well-defended than they were.

Beta Ray Bill may not have appeared in the just yet, but his story is still taking shape. Sadly, it looks to be one of tragedy. In the wake of Ragnarok, Korbin is defenseless, and its greatest champion is still missing — perhaps even dead. It's going to be interesting to see what has in store for the alien race, further down the line.

How do you think Marvel should introduce Beta Ray Bill? Let me know in the comments!

[Source: Crave Online]


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