Few Marvel films have re-imagined a character as radically as Thor: Ragnarok. Director Taika Waititi took the things fans already loved about the character, filtered them through a new visual palette and added more jokes than almost any other Marvel movie. The result is probably one of the most rewatchable films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
That means you may want to bring it home when the Blu-ray hits on March 6 (or you can download the whole thing right now). If you do, you’ll be graced with an impressive series of bonus features, including deleted scenes, featurettes, and even a new short film. All of it is absolutely worth checking out, but for those who can’t, we went through all of the extras, as well as Waititi’s director commentary, and pulled out everything you didn’t know about Thor: Ragnarok.
Hemsworth as Thor
• Thor’s scenes with Doctor Strange, which are both in this movie and in the credits of Doctor Strange, were shot eight to nine months before production on Thor: Ragnarok formally started.
• Marvel Studios used the planet of Sakaar to fully embrace the visuals of iconic artist Jack Kirby. The colours were a big part of it, but also many of the background characters, and even weapons and ships, come directly from Kirby’s work.
• You get a brief glimpse of one in the film, but the Grandmaster was originally going to have many more musical scenes, because Jeff Goldblum himself is quite the singer.
• Tom Hiddleston’s favourite Loki scene in the film was when Hulk smashes Thor much like Hulk smashed Loki in The Avengers, which makes all the sense in the world.
• In the Marvel Cinematic Universe chronology, the events of Ragnarok happened at almost the exact same time as Captain America: Civil War.
• The two biggest comic book influences on the story were the original 1960s Journey into Mystery comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, which starred Thor before he got his own series, as well as the classic, iconic “Ragnarok” storyline by Walt Simonson in the ‘80s, which introduced Surtur, Skurge, and more.
• There were also influences from the 2006 “Planet Hulk” storyline by Greg Pak, and the classic “Contest of Champions” comic from 1982, where the Grandmaster pits various Marvel heroes against each other for an intergalactic tournament. Additionally, Jason Aaron’s very recent “God of Thunder” storyline also had a few details plucked from it, specifically Hela’s power to create knives and stuff—although in that context, that particular power was used by the character Gorr, the God Butcher.
Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie
In the “Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie” featurette, Marvel Studios producer Brad Winderbaum cryptically suggests that Valkyrie will lead the next generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
• When we first meet the Grandmaster in the film, the guy who he melts with his stick is his cousin Carlo, because he was gambling with a small camel.
• In order to visualise some of the bigger action set pieces in the movie, the production made very crude, but very cool, 8-bit recreations of entire scenes, two of which are actually on the disc.
• While the voice of Surtur is Clancy Brown (of Shawshank Redemption and animated Lex Luthor fame), Waititi did the motion-capture for the body.
• The shake weight that Skurge plays with at the beginning of the film is actually Waititi’s, and it was purchased while Waititi was filming DC’s Green Lantern movie in 2011. It’s a DC/Marvel crossover, in a way.
Hemsworth with Tom Hiddleston as Loki.
Originally, the scene when Odin dies and Hela returns was also shot in a city location (some of which made it into early trailers). However, Waititi decided that ultimately didn’t work for the story so they reshot it to look like a giant, green field in Norway. In reality, it was shot in Atlanta.
• One of the storyboard artists on Thor: Ragnarok is named Michael Jackson. “He was an incredible artist and, turns out, still is,” says Waititi.
• You may not notice it but, when Hela gets back to Asgard, her suit turns green, a subtle change made to show that her powers have increased.
• Hela isn’t lying when she says Odin’s Infinity Gauntlet is fake. Odin put a fake one in his vault there to trick the galaxy into thinking the real gauntlet was secure and everyone is safe. They are not.
• The scene when Valkyrie opens her beer by cutting it is an homage to the acclaimed New Zealand film Once Were Warriors.
• Valkyrie’s ship, the War Song, was named that because of a verse in the Darraðarljoð, an epic poem about the Valkyries from Njáls saga, from 13th-century Iceland.
• When Thor gets his haircut, one side of his head looks like an “N” and the other is a “Z.” Waititi says that’s an homage to his home country of New Zealand, though he may just be joking.
• One of the other gladiators in the Contest of Champions is a guy with three heads; the right-most head is Waititi’s.
• After the fight with Hulk, Thor is nursed back to health by four women. Two of them are played by Waititi and Hemsworth’s wives, Chelsea Winstanley and Elsa Pataky.
This scene was achieved using a never before seen lighting technique.
The way Waititi was able to capture the stunning, unique visual of the Valkyrie riding against Hela is a brand-new lighting technique that has never been used in a film before. It was invented by two of Waititi’s childhood friends, Carlo Van de Roer and Stu Rutherford of Satellite Lab, and it’s achieved by shooting a scene with a high-speed camera as an array of over 100 strobe lights flash very quickly in succession. The result is drastic, moving shadows, which provide the dream-like look. He says it’s like Bullet Time, but for lighting.
• There’s a deleted scene (not on the Blu-ray) of Korg trying to start the revolution as he and his friend pick weapons, where he quickly realises he’s not a good leader.
• The colours on the Grandmaster’s ship, the Commodore, were inspired by the Aboriginal flag of Australia, while the colours on Valkyrie’s ship were inspired by the flag of New Zealand’s Māori people.
• All of the spaceships in the chase scene leaving Sakaar are named after cars made by an Australian and New Zealand car company called Holden Cars.
• Before they enter the Devil’s Anus, there is a deleted scene of Banner freaking out because he thinks going through the wormhole might transform him back into the Hulk. (This scene is on the digital version of the film.)
The Commodore being chased on Sakaar.
All of the gladiators that battle with Korg are named after Waititi’s friends.
• The final battle on Asgard took over a month to shoot.
• The digital version of the movie comes with a funny scene for Marvel fans, where Yondu, played by Michael Rooker, shows up and stops Skurge from killing the girl in front of Hela. He then asks where Kevin and Lou’s offices are—Kevin and Lou being Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito, two of the three main producers for Marvel Studios. It was shot as a joke because Rooker was filming footage for Disneyland’s Guardians of the Galaxy ride on the same day.
Thor: Ragnarok is available for digital download now and on Blu-ray and on-demand March 6.