And so, it has all been leading to this. With [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) just over the horizon and advance reviews sounding pretty damn nice right now, it's easy to forget that all this is building up to the ensemble cumulation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3, which is of course the Infinity War two parter.
Civil War and The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo are also on board to ride the Infinity War train all the way to the finish, as they've been down to direct the two parter ever since the massive success of their first foray into the MCU.
Comicbook.com recently had a wee chat with the Russo Brothers themselves regarding the upcoming spectacle, asking which character in particular they're looking forward to working with in Infinity War. Their answers might surprise you...
Anthony Russo: "The movies are intended to be a culmination of everything that's happened before in the MCU so you don't want to get into spoilers, but I'm a big fan of what James Gunn has done... Star-Lord is a fantastic character and Chris Pratt is an awesome performer so you'd be very excited."
So, this is pretty exciting. We've long wondered how exactly the two sections of the Marvel universe — the Earthbound and the Cosmic — would be brought together for Infinity Wars, with this year's Doctor Strange feeling like the most likely to be the one to bridge the two.
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has been keeping a pretty tight lid on what's happening with [Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2](tag:1081113) (due for release next year), but at least now we have confirmation that by the time Thanos comes knocking for Infinity War the filmmakers will have found a way to bring different characters together from different corners of the MCU.
But it was Joe Russo's response which really got us excited, as he teased the presence of long running Avengers member Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Infinity War. We'd long suspected this, but now it's officially confirmed — which has some pretty big implications for another Phase 3 film.
Joe Russo: "I'm excited to work with Thor. They're doing some really interesting stuff with 'Ragnarok' and where he's gonna be at the beginning of 'Infinity War' is gonna be a very interesting place and I think very profound. I think he's gonna have a real emotional motivation after that."
Alright, so unless Joe Russo is trolling us this is potentially a big spoiler for Thor: Ragnarok, as there's been much speculation regarding whether or not the titular character would make it out of Ragnarok alive.
There's been plenty of rumors swirling recently that a big name Avenger is set to bite it soon in the MCU, and Thor's name has been tossed around in this debate more than a few times. Cause — you'know — Ragnarok and all that
Whilst we still don't know all that much about what Thor 3 will entail, it's a pretty safe bet to assume that the film will draw at least to an extent from the most recent iteration of Ragnarok in the Marvel comic books. This chimes with the fact that Thor is not present during the events of Civil War; in the comics at this time he's assumed dead and replaced by a robotic clone known as... Ragnarok. Oh.
Ragnarok In The Comics
The events of the comic book Ragnarok actually take place before Civil War, and Thor is assumed dead as a result of said events. As in all good Thor stories Loki has a hand in the destruction which occurs, but he's aided by the fire demon and foe of Odin, Sutfur. Said fire demon defeats and supposedly kills Odin, and the Odin Force then passes to Thor as the new ruler of Asgard.
Loki comes into possession of the mould used to create Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, and uses it to create new weapons for his Storm Giants to attack Thor with, resulting in a war which destroys Asgard (great job Loki).
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. Those Who Sit, who are basically gods to the gods, have set Ragnarok up to repeat the destruction of Asgard eternally, so that they can feed off of the energy created by the event.
Thor sacrifices himself to end this cycle, which destroys Asgard and the rest of the Asgardians who hadn't already been killed off in battle by this point. This leaves Thor's body in a limbo-like state of death, or hibernation. It is during this time that he's assumed dead, and temporarily replaced by the Cyborg-Clone (and if you've read the Civil War comics you'll know exactly how that turns out).
Shortly after the events of Civil War on Earth Thor eventually returns via the meshing together of his previously separated personas ('Thor' and 'Donald Blake'), and sets about restoring both Asgard and its people upon Earth, floating over Oklahoma to be precise.
Ragnarok In The MCU
Obviously this is a very 'comic-booky' storyline, what with all the dying without dying going on (Odin eventually returns too), but there are many elements of it which could make the leap from page to screen.
Most interesting in regards to this narrative are Joe Russo's comments about "where [Thor's] gonna be at the beginning of Infinity War", which sounds a lot like he could be teasing the fact that Thor ends up in the dimension of non-existence he enters into at the end of the comic book Ragnarok.
The mention of a profound "emotional motivation" is also intriguing; does this mean that Asgard will in fact be destroyed in Ragnarok? Sadly there's still a good while to go until we find out, with Thor: Ragnarok set to release November 3, 2017. Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 follows up with a May 4, 2018 release date.
What do you think will happen to Thor during 'Thor: Ragnarok'? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.