You might remember that Idris Elba’s Heimdall, the all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian sentry god of the Bifröst Bridge, was greeted with initial controversy, but has since won the affection of fans with his powerful and respectful big screen embodiment. Some might even have felt that he has been criminally sidelined in the first two Thor movies.
Hopes were not high for a larger role in, Thor: The Dark World, as the god of thunder destroyed the Bridge at the end of Thor. That pessimism was justified as writers found a way to link Midgard (Earth) and Asgard in the absence of the Rainbow Bridge, utilising the approach of ‘the Convergence’, a rare alignment of the Nine Realms, which causes portals linking the worlds to appear at random. Then, in this year’s, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as each Avenger had a Scarlet Witch-induced vision, Thor’s showed him the apparent disintegration of an Asgardian party in which he is grabbed by a cloudy-eyed Heimdall blaming him for damning them all to Hell.
Rumours assume that it is that vision which is going to be important in setting up the events of, Thor: Ragnarok – a decayed, apocalyptic Asgard and the all-seeing Heimdall somehow blinded by Thor’s actions. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor heeded Heimdall’s warning and he left earth at the end of Ultron to return to Asgard, possibly to set the foretold events in motion… Or to prevent them.
There may be a clue in the title. Ragnarok means “the end of all things”, but Ragnarok was also a clone of Thor created during the Civil War storyline who turned out to be not such a stand-up guy, later joining Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers. Latino Review reported their source’s suggestions that Elba may play an important role in the Ragnarok narrative, “Hela will take Asgard and Thor attempts to stop her. Hela lays the smack down on the God of Thunder, destroying his hammer and straight up murdering Thor’s friend Heimdall… But, don’t worry, Elba won’t bow out of the MCU so easily. The final showdown with Hela will feature an army of the dead commanded by the villainess doing battle with good Valkyries from Valhalla and the souls of the righteous fallen, including Heimdall.”
So, there is hope that Elba will be a big player. The new villain, Norse goddess Hela, ruler of the Underworld, will be played Cate Blanchett, and Jeff Goldblum has joined the cast as the eccentric Grandmaster. Tessa Thompson (Creed, Dear White People) will play Valkyrie, an Asgardian warrior based on the mythological being Brynhildr, and love interest for Thor. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/The Hulk will also feature. He has compared Ragnarok to a “road movie”, referencing its similarity to the film, Midnight Run.
Marvel boss Kevin Feige confirmed it would take “place within the cosmos primarily, very little Earth… There are only a couple of scenes on Earth in this movie. 80 to 90% takes place in the cosmos.” Hemsworth indicated that he wanted a lighter tone than the preceding Thor films, and it was said that humour was being added to the screenplay in pre-production.
Filming began last month, and is expected to last until late October 2016 in Australia and New Zealand, and although the cast were largely absent from last month’s San Diego Comic Con, fans in Hall H were still happy, as Feige presented a sizzle reel from the first five days of filming, including storyboards and concept art. Thor 3 director (writer, actor, painter and comedian) Taika Waititi (AKA Taika Cohen) who is of Māori descent, made hiring Indigenous and Aboriginal Australians, along with New Zealanders, a priority for the various departments. “It’s a responsibility you have to the Indigenous people. You’re coming to a country and you’re bringing money into the economy and creating jobs but I think you have an even bigger responsibility to look after the people that have less opportunities.”
Indigenous and Aboriginal Australians were hired as part of an initiative by Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, whose mission is “to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders a foot in the door of the film industry.” This could be one of the last Thor movies, at least with Chris Hemsworth as the title character. His contract expires after Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
The Dark World is among the lowest-grossing movies in the Marvel Comic Universe, along with Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk.
With the killing off of a beloved character like Heimdall, the Thor franchise might be winding down to an end.