After a bit of a drought of information we've been getting some pretty big news recently regarding the upcoming [Thor: Ragnarok](tag:956858), and it's starting to look pretty exciting as we move closer towards the Marvel Norse apocalyptic showdown.
The Big Bad Confirmed?
The most recent big rumor is that the wonderful Cate Blanchett may be on board to portray villainess Hela, which is pretty darn exciting. However nothing has been officially confirmed, even director Taika Waititi says he can't confirm anything regarding her role yet.
Speaking to Collider at Sundance 2016 he said:
"Look, it’s so early I’m not sure exactly what the extent of it is, but it’s looking good, which would make me very happy."
Awesome news. Lets hope negotiations don't fall through. He also declined to comment on the possibility of her playing Hela, as he said "I can’t say anything. I’ve probably said way too much."
Oh well, little news is better than no news we suppose. There's a bunch of other big rumors floating around from industry "sources", but until they're confirmed we're going to take them all with a pinch of salt. For now at least.
But one thing is for sure, things are going to go apocalyptically south for our titular hero Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the rest of the crew when Thor 3 rolls around. But has the end of Asgard already been foreshadowed?
Throwaway scenes included to foreshadow later films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are often the first to go when cuts need to be made to conserve time and pacing, and there's two [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) scenes in particular that give us big hints towards Thor: Ragnarok.
Watch Your Six
Firstly in Watch Your Six, the second deleted scene on the DVD extras which takes place the morning after the party happens and Ultron escapes, has a pretty interesting reference to Heimdall (Idris Elba). Namely in a conversation between Thor and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) which plays out thusly:
Steve: [to Thor] "Any help from on high?"
Thor: "Heimdall's either away from his post or he's been ordered not to answer."
What the hell is going on in Asgard then? Remember that Thor hasn't been back there since the events of [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462), leaving Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to wreak havoc on the throne in the guise of Odin (Anthony Hopkins).
The fact that Heimdall - the all seeing gatekeeper of Asgard - was unable to come to the phone right then means that things are definitely not okay back in Asgard, prompting Thor to jet off back home at the conclusion of the film to find out what in the heck is going on.
This also ties in with a scene we do see in the film - Thor's Scarlet Witch-induced vision about the decay of Asgard and the cloudy-eyed Heimdall who claims that Thor is damning them all to hell (or perhaps, Hel). Could this be a reference to Hela, the ruler of (Hel and Niffleheim)?
The Norn Cave
The Norn Cave is a useful extended scene that clarifies one of the big problems with Age of Ultron, namely, what the hell was Thor doing hallucinating in that pool? Presumably drugs, but the answer turns out to be slightly different.
The scene with Thor and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) hanging around in that creepy looking cave with the pool Selvig describes as "The Water of Sight" was originally much longer. In the extended scene there's a lot of interesting stuff, including a bunch of chatter about the MCU's Infinity Stones, but more pertinent for Thor: Ragnarok is what appears to be a reference to Thor's main antagonist, his adopted brother Loki.
Whilst Thor is possessed by the Norns they speak a few lines which appear to reference other characters:
"Your enemies are closer."
"God fear father's ambition... and brilliance only blinds."
So "father's ambition" and the brilliance that blinds in the context of Age of Ultron alone could be referring to Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Tony's ambition to create the AI led to him becoming the 'father' of Ultron and blinded by his own brilliance he didn't realise that what he was doing could have deadly consequences.
Alternatively - and perhaps more likely given the cosmic subject matter - this could also be a reference to Loki. This makes sense in relation to the "your enemies are closer" line - Thor's enemy is literally hidden in his immediate family - but perhaps more interesting is: "God fear father's ambition."
The core of Loki's personality has always been his ambition, namely to rule Asgard as King. He now sits atop this goal in the guise of Odin - Thor's father, and the hold he has over Asgard and it's inhabitants is surely something that Thor (who is regarded as a god himself) should fear.
The deleted scene of Loki confronting Thor in his Scarlet Witch vision would appear to feed into this too, hinting at his survival. Like Heimdall, Loki would have appeared as a hallucination to Thor during his vision. Joss Whedon [Age of Ultron Director] says that he would've made a reference to his Odin disguise here, even if it's one that Thor wouldn't quite understand:
"We even had a little reference to the fact that he’s taken the throne, which was Tom [Hiddleston] doing his Anthony Hopkins impression when Thor says, 'Oh, what would father say?' Then Tom does his Hopkins impression, and Thor’s like, 'That is uncanny!' It’s sort of like his subconscious is telling him that Loki was imitating his father. But he would never make that connection."
Additionally Thor and the Norns also have a tenuous connect to Hela herself. In Journey into Mystery issue 102 Thor seeks out the wisdom of the Norns in order to discover how to wield the hammer Mjolnir, and they respond by telling him that in order to be worthy he has to face Death - aka - Hela.
It's a shame that all this foreshadowing didn't make it into the final cut of Age of Ultron, but they certainly make us even more excited for the potential of seeing Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. Only one year, eight months to go...