Today, Marvel dropped some huge bombshells in regards to their Phase Three plans. One of the biggest announcements was the long-rumored title of the third Thor film: Ragnarok. Thor hasn’t always been the most popular comic book character though, so even though this is also the title of one of his most epic stories, I haven’t seen it discussed all that much.
So if you’re wondering what the heck Ragnarok is, here’s what Marvel may be looking at for inspiration.
Before we go any further though, let’s all acknowledge the fact that just because it shares a title with a famous Marvel comic book arc, doesn’t mean it’s a straight adaptation. Anyone who’s read Age of Ultron can certainly attest to that.
Oh, and spoilers for the comic book storyline of Ragnarok, obviously.
So basically, Ragnarok is about the end of the world; or at least, Thor’s world. In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is the ultimate, climactic battle that will end reality as we know it. Asgardians, being the proud warrior race that they are, look forward to this foretold, final blaze of glory.
However, Thor learns that it is all a ruse. Ragnarok is not the end, it is a cycle that is perpetuated by beings even more powerful than the Norse gods: Those Who Sit Above in Shadow (that’s what they’re actually called). These beings feed off of the life energy from Ragnarok, and so they perpetuate the cycle to survive.
While this is happening, Loki is causing a major shit-storm. He’s given Surtur, ruler of the Fire Demons of Muspelheim and a major baddie, the ability to create hammers similar to Thor’s. This results in the Fire Demons embarking on a rampage of destruction with their newfound power.
To keep things brief (there is a lot of crazy, epic storytelling in this arc), Thor eventually manipulates Sutur into commencing Ragnarok, by invading Asgard with his army of Fire Demons. Beta Ray Bill leads the defense, while Thor heads to the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree of life.
Thor has a trick up his sleeve you see. He’s not interested in letting the cycle begin again, with the Norse gods acting as pawns for Those Who Sit Above in Shadow. Instead, Thor seeks out the Norns, beings who spin the literal fabric of time (yeah, Thor stories can get a little nuts).
Thor decides that to give Asgard the final glory it seeks, he will sever the thread that leads from the beginning of the tapestry to the loom itself, effectively ending the existence of himself and his people.
Those Who Sit Above in Shadow acknowledge that Thor is their equal for discovering the truth, and beg him not to go through with his plan, and thus bring an end to Asgard and the Norse gods. Thor aint having none of that shit though, and he slashes the thread.
Thor’s life flashes before his eyes, Asgard is erased (but as we find out later, lives on in the memories of mortals), and Those Who Sit Above in Shadow get booted from reality. With nothing left to do, Thor falls into the slumber of the gods.
Him being a comic book character and all, this isn’t the last we see of him, but at the time, it felt like a pretty climactic ending.
So that’s Ragnarok. I think a lot of those events would be a stretch for the movie universe, but I can certainly see the DNA of a script in there.
The idea of a final climactic battle to end all battles makes sense for the end of the Thor trilogy, and the denizens of Muspelheim (which we briefly see in The Dark World) would make fitting enemies. With Odin dead and Loki on the throne, there’s definitely ample opportunity to set something like that up as well.
Again, we have no idea if the Ragnarok arc will be Marvel’s primary source of inspiration. Maybe, like with Age of Ultron, they just liked the title.
Still, there are a lot of cool bits in Ragnarok that Marvel can pull from, and with no Thor 4 on the horizon, it’s not too much of a stretch to think that we just might be seeing the end of Thor or Asgard.