Marvel are currently keeping a pretty tight lid on plot details for Thor: Ragnarok, with no director and only three actors currently confirmed. Despite the fact that the film isn’t due to be released for another two years the hype is already building as details of Ragnarok’s link to [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) start to emerge. In a recent interview Jaime Alexander (who plays Lady Sif) confirmed that Civil War will set up plot details for Ragnarok, so until we see Civil War in 2016 it’s going to be tricky to speculate on what we can expect to see the God of Thunder facing off against next.
What (or who) exactly is Ragnarok?
In the Marvel comics universe there are two significant instances that Ragnorak could refer to; either the supervillian named Ragnarok who first appears in Civil War, or the repeating apocalyptical event of death and rebirth, drawn from Norse mythology.
Ragnarok the supervillian is a cyborg clone of Thor (yes, really) created by Tony Stark (Iron Man), Reed Richards (Mr Fantastic) and Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man) during a period of time following the Asgardian Ragnarok/apocalypse in which Thor is missing in action, believed dead.
Ragnarok is actually pretty important in the Civil War comic as he is the first to kill one of the anti-registration superheroes, Goliath (Bill Foster), during a clash of the two factions, an event which devastates both sides and turns the tone of the war. Though Ragnarok is eventually defeated by Hercules, it is later revealed during Secret Invasion that Hank Pym has been a Skrull imposter who planted a reset code within Ragnarok in the event of the Skrull’s death. Thus he is eventually reactivated and goes on to cause all sorts of trouble for the real Thor who has now returned to rebuild Asgard upon Earth.
Does this mean we'll get to see Ragnarok in Civil War?
Though it would be interesting to see the cloned Ragnarok appearing as a supervillian, particularly given hints that Civil War will be instrumental in setting up [Thor: Ragnarok](tag:956858), likely the film will follow the path of the apocalyptical event instead given that Chris Hemsworth does not appear on the cast list for Civil War. We're also missing the central figures of Reed Richards and the younger Hank Pym in the MCU, and given the disaster that was Ultron we'd be hoping that Tony Stark cools his jets on the whole creating life thing.
Ragnarok as Apocalypse
I already mentioned that, after Civil War, Thor eventually returns to Earth and rebuilds Asgard following the events of the apocalyptical Ragnarok brought about by Loki and the fire demon Sutfur. Originally, Sutfur defeats Odin and the Odinpower then passes to Thor. Loki comes into possession of the mould used to create Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, and uses it to creates new weapons with which he attacks Thor, causing a war that destroys both Asgard and Mjolnir. To counteract Loki’s force Thor sets out to gain the wisdom of Odin and discovers that Ragnarok is actually being manipulated by higher beings called Those Who Sit Above in Shadow to repeat itself so that they can feed off of the energy created by the event. He sacrifices himself to destroy this cycle, leaving his body in a limbo-like state of death.
Pretty complicated right?
So how does all this fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe chronology?
All that has been confirmed so far is that Ragnarok will pick up with Thor immediately after the events of [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), which leaves very little wiggle room for preceding events to feed into the narrative. How this will fit with Civil War remains to be seen, but it’s fair to guess that following Thor’s Scarlet Witch-induced vision in Age of Ultron (in which he stumbles through an Asgardian party and encounters a blind, cryptic Heimdall, and from which was cut a scene where he is confronted by Loki) that he’ll be returning to home to uncover Loki posing as Odin on the throne. Heimdall himself, Idris Elba, has confirmed that this scene provides a significant teaser for Ragnarok.
Marvel’s Kevin Feige has also confirmed that Ragnarok will be one of the most important movies of Phase 3 of the MCU, indeed the one that may lead into the Infinity War.
"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: Age of Ultron' and impacts everything that comes after."
Perhaps this means that Thanos, now wearing the Infinity Gauntlet and ready to step into the fray, will show up in the midst of the Asgardian battle to claim the Space Stone contained within the tesseract, now held again by Loki posing as Odin. Whether or not Thanos will side with Loki against Thor remains to be seen, but that certainly would be a worthy trigger for the apocalypse.