Of all the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that fans are looking forward to most, Captain America: Civil War rests atop the list. It’s set to feature just about every major hero from the MCU. Not to be overlooked, though, is the third installment in the god of thunder’s trilogy, Thor: Ragnarok. It’s set to release on July 28, 2017, leaving us plenty of time to speculate on everything we might see. What we do know right now is that the stakes will be higher than ever.
Civil War may deal in the fate of the world’s politics, but Ragnarok will be about a far bigger universe. If there’s one thing the Thor movies have done for the MCU, it’s helped contextualize the story in a wider frame. Marvel’s world includes far more than simply Earth, and showing us the world of Asgard paints everything in nice, broad strokes. In terms of the nitty gritty of Thor’s third film, here’s what we know so far.
1. The end is nigh
Ragnarok signifies the end of days in Norse mythology, brought on by the death of numerous gods within the pantheon. It stands to reason that the Marvel movie version will feature similarly apocalyptic stakes. We saw hints to this effect in Thor’s seemingly out-of-left-field vision quest he embarked on in Age of Ultron. The latest Avengers movie spent a lot of time hinting at bigger things for Thor, and soon we’ll see the culmination of that effort.
2. Return of the Hulk
According to Birth. Movies. Death., Hulk will play a major role in Ragnarok, taking what they describe as “a cosmic road trip” with Thor. The two have often played off each other as the strongest physical specimens the Avengers have to offer, so an other-world pairing only makes sense. When we last saw Bruce Banner, he was flying off in a Quinjet by himself. Rumor has it he won’t be a part of Civil War, so Marvel clearly wants to give Thor 3 some ammunition to compete in the MCU in terms of name-brand heroes.
3. Taika Waititi will be directing
Marvel has made a habit lately of shying away from big-name directors for its future projects. Ragnarok definitely falls into this, with the studio tagging Taika Waititi to direct this time around. Waititi’s biggest project to date has been the vampire mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows, so he’s relatively new to the world of high-budget superheroes. It’ll be interesting, to say the least, to see what the newcomer can bring to the table; a solid effort could win him a seat at the Marvel table for the foreseeable future — an enviable position for any director.
4. A new hero will be introduced
Thor comes with an already established cast of characters: Our titular thunder god, Loki, Heimdall, and Lady Sif among them. Ragnarok will see the addition of another hero from the pages of Marvel’s comics, known as Valkyrie. One of her powers in the comics includes the ability to help the dead pass over into the next realm, so the apocalypse theme runs heavy with her mythology. There’s no official casting for the role quite yet, but it’ll represent a good chance for Marvel to feature another strong female hero.
5. It will help bridge the gap to Infinity War