Today's Marvel Studios panel at SDCC has left Marvel fans reeling! Although Thor: Ragnarok is only five days into shooting, Marvel chose to share some key concept art. Sadly, the images haven't been released online, but according to Marvel's liveblog, they included the fire demon Surtur!
Who (Or What) Is Surtur?
In Norse mythology, Surtur is a warrior demon who comes from the south, associated with flames and fire. Surtr played a major role in the poem Völuspá, which described the fall of the gods and the world ending in a devastating inferno. This end-of-the-world scenario is the basis for the legend of Ragnarok. The poem Vafþrúðnismál added further details to this, revealing that the final war of the gods would be fought on the plains of Vígríðr. This poem established a strong tie between Surtr and the Thunder God — Thor.
In Journey into Mystery #97, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby adapted Surtur to suit the world of Marvel Comics. He became a fire demon who rules one of the Nine Realms, and awaits the day when he can exact brutal revenge upon the gods of Asgard. He swiftly became a recurring villain, time and again threatening Asgard. In one legendary arc, Surtur was actually successful in destroying Asgard, bringing about the fall of the gods!
What Role Will Surtur Play In Thor: Ragnarok?
Although giving the third of Thor's movies the title Ragnarok was great for drama, fans had been puzzled. Suddenly, the mention of Surtur tells Marvel fans that we really will see Ragnarok. Surtur is a powerful enough threat to literally bring down Asgard, and it's entirely possible that Marvel will choose to show Surtur devastate this most noble realm. With Avengers: Infinity War on the horizon, weakening — or destroying — Asgard would leave the Avengers without help when Thanos strikes.
In the comics, Surtur's power can be amplified by a mystic fire known as the Eternal Flame. This was stolen from Surtur by Odin, who keeps it away from him. If Surtur can get his hands on the Eternal Flame, his powers will be amplified a thousandfold, and he will bring about Ragnarok. The Eternal Flame has already made an appearance in the MCU. In Thor, it was one of the relics guarded by the Destroyer. So it's entirely possible that Surtur will seek out the Eternal Flame once again — will Loki unwittingly give him the power he seeks? If so, this would be Ragnarok indeed.
One thing's for sure: With Surtur involved, Chris Hemsworth's Thor is truly in for the fight of his life. Thor: Ragnarok looks set to escalate in a way few could have imagined, and all of Asgard may pay the price as a result...