The crown prince of Asgard based on the Norse mythological deity of the same name, who has become a “lone gunslinger” searching for the Infinity Stones. Hemsworth had become “a bit bored” with the character after portraying Thor four times previously, and wanted to take some risks and experiment: the character has shorter hair in the film, wears a different outfit, his hammer Mjolnir is destroyed, and he loses an eye. Director Taika Waititi added that “stripping” the character down like this allowed him to become a refugee at the end of the film. Waititi also wanted to use more of Hemsworth’s comedic talents showcased in films like Vacation (2015) and Ghostbusters (2016), and cited Kurt Russell’s portrayal of Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China as an influence on the character.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Thor’s adoptive brother and nemesis based on the deity of the same name. Hiddleston was interested in how Loki’s attitude has changed, saying, “he is always a trickster. It is trying to find new ways for him to be mischievous”. As the ruler of Asgard since the end of Thor: The Dark World, Hiddleston notes that “Loki has devoted most of his efforts to narcissistic self-glorification. Not so much on good governance.” He also added that “the idea that Thor might be indifferent to Loki is troubling for him, because that’s a defining feature of his character … ‘My brother doesn’t love me; I hate my brother.’ And the idea his brother’s like, yeah, whatever, it’s an interesting development.”
Cate Blanchett as Hela
Odin’s first child, Thor’s older sister and the goddess of death, based on the deity Hel, who is inadvertently released from her prison. Screenwriter Eric Pearson did not pitch the idea of Hela being Thor’s sister to the producers, including it instead in one of his drafts at the encouragement of executive producer Brad Winderbaum. The decision to make Hela related to Thor, as opposed to Loki as in the comics and Norse mythology, came from needing more impact with Hela and Thor’s final confrontation.
By making the change, Pearson felt Hela became “the thing that [represents] what it is to rule Asgard, [Thor’s] family, what he’s been told, what he hasn’t been told.” Blanchett talked about the difficulty of playing the role in a motion capture suit rather than costume, feeling the character’s headdress is “such a huge part of when she comes into the height of her powers in the film”. Hela’s design was taken from Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron, while the character Gorr from that comic, who has the ability “to manifest an infinite number of weapons”, inspired a similar ability for Hela. Blanchett worked with stuntwoman Zoë Bell and Hemsworth’s personal trainer Luke Zocchi, and studied capoeira for the role.
Idris Elba as Heimdall
The all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian sentry of the Bifröst Bridge, based on the deity of the same name, who has gone into self-imposed exile during Loki’s reign. After Hela invades Asgard, he helps to hide its vulnerable citizens. Describing Heimdall’s character arc in the film, Winderbaum says, “he’s gone from this elder statesmen, the gatekeeper to Asgard, to this badass warrior-wizard character who lives in the hills and kicks a lot of ass throughout the entire film.”
Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster
One of the Elders of the Universe, who rules the planet Sakaar, and enjoys manipulating lesser life-forms. Goldblum described the character as “a hedonist, a pleasure-seeker, an enjoyer of life and tastes and smells”. He also said that Waititi encouraged improvisation in order for Goldblum to “make [the character his] own”. Waititi explained that Grandmaster does not have blue skin in the film as the character does in the comics, because Goldblum had already played a blue-colored character in Earth Girls Are Easy, and because Waititi did not want to detract from Goldblum’s personality by concealing his appearance. Grandmaster is the brother of Benicio del Toro’s Collector from Guardians of the Galaxy, and producer Kevin Feige expressed interest in seeing the two together in a future film.
Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie
A tough, hard-drinking Asgardian slave trader, based on the mythological being Brynhildr, who was once a legendary warrior of the Valkyrior and now works for the Grandmaster under the designation “Scrapper 142”. Thompson said the various versions of the character from the comics “left us a lot of leeway” in creating the film version. Waititi “wanted to make sure we weren’t making a female character that was boring and pretty”, and Feige said Marvel wanted to pair Thor with a love interest more his equal than Jane Foster.
Co-screenwriters Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost’s original draft of the film had more of a romantic relationship between Thor and Valkyrie. When Pearson started working on the film, he moved away from that storyline, instead focusing more on “the mutual respect” between the characters and Valkyrie “dealing with her PTSD. She’s someone who’s drowning her sorrows in the bottle, and I just thought that was such a cool thing that you don’t often see”. Thompson was inspired by pictures of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day while training for the role, and worked with dialect coach Andrew Jack to create an Asgardian-sounding accent that was different enough to sound like she had been away from there for a long time. Thompson will appear in future MCU films.
Karl Urban as Skurge
An Asgardian warrior, who guards the Bifröst Bridge in Heimdall’s absence and chooses to join Hela to survive. Urban shaved his head for the role, and worked out to “get into the zone and feel” the part even though his body is hidden under a costume. Urban said Skurge “makes a deal with the devil” and becomes Hela’s “henchman. He does the dirty jobs. And that sort of is something he has to—it plays on his conscience.”
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk
A genius scientist who, because of exposure to gamma radiation, transforms into a monster when enraged or agitated. In the two years since Avengers: Age of Ultron, he has become a successful and popular gladiator on Sakaar. He is in “perma-Hulk mode”, having suppressed the Banner side for a few years, and forming the vocabulary “of a toddler”, with the level of Hulk’s speech being “a big conversation” between Waititi and Marvel since it was taking into account future appearances for the character. Ragnarok begins an arc for the character that continues in Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel, stemming from discussions Ruffalo had with Feige. Ruffalo felt Hulk was “much more of a character than the green rage machine you’ve seen in the Avengers movies. He’s got a swagger.” Waititi provided additional motion capture for the Hulk after Ruffalo had completed his scenes.
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
The king of Asgard, father of Thor, and adoptive father of Loki, based on the deity of the same name. The character is in exile on Earth, and was originally intended to be a “crazy-looking” hobo on the streets of New York City, but Waititi ultimately felt that this was tragic rather than funny given the character’s death during the sequence. The sequence was changed to take place in Norway, to “honor” the character’s past and be more authentic to his role as a king of Asgard. Waititi was surprised by the improvisational ability of Hopkins after he was told “to be funny and to really destroy what’s come before [with the role] and recreate it.”
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, Taika Waititi, Rachel House
Screenplay by: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
Production Design by: Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent
Cinematography by: Javier Aguirresarobe
Film Editing by: Joel Negron, Zene Baker
Costume Design by: Mayes C. Rubeo
Set Decoration by: Beverley Dunn
Art Direction by: Bill Booth, Brendan Heffernan, Richard Hobbs, Alex McCarroll, Laura Ng
Music by: Mark Mothersbaugh
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: November 3, 2017