Thor: Ragnarok- Cast Revealed and Director Discusses Marvel’s Hiring Practices

After months of speculation, Marvel officially announced the cast for Thor: Ragnarok.  Keep reading below to find out who Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum and Karl Urban will be playing in the third film for the God of Thunder.

  • Cate Blanchett as Hela
  • Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie
  • Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster
  • Karl Urban as Skurge
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Collider provided the following description of each of the characters from the comics and how they could be incorporated into the overall plot.

“Blanchett is indeed playing the Thor sequel’s villain, and she’ll be bringing to life the comics character Hela, a powerful villainess who was appointed goddess and ruler of the northernmost realms of the dead, where she oversaw the souls of all who did not die in battle. As Odin’s focus grew more broad, Hela attempted to annex the realm of Valhalla, which houses the souls of those who did die in battle, leading to a pretty epic tet-a-tet in which Odin’s band of Valykrior, the custodians of Valhalla, lost their physical forms.

This leads directly to Thompson’s character, Valkyrie. The Creed actress will bring to life the idealistic feminist leader of the Valkyrior, marking a mighty exciting addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Goldblum, meanwhile, will be playing “the eccentric” Grandmaster, one of the oldest living beings in the universe and one of its Elders, who is capable of traversing space, time, and the dimensions, which could serve as a strong connection to the upcoming Doctor Strange. Grandmaster also has close ties to Thanos, as in the comics its his losing of one of the Infinity Gems that leads to Thanos gaining the ultimate power of the Infinity Gauntlet. And finally we have Urban as Skurge, a somewhat minor villain in the comics universe who will likely serve as a more physical antagonist to the film’s heroes, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk.”

When Cate Blanchett was first rumored to be attached to Thor: Ragnarok, Hela was one of the names thrown around.  Considering the build towards Infinity Wars in the coming years, it made a lot of sense to include the character.  In the comics Thanos pursued the Infinity Gauntlet and the destruction of much of the universe in order to court the personification of Death (a female in this case, because why not).  Hela could potentially be a stand in for this character since she is a ruler of the dead.  If that’s the case, we could be seeing more of Blanchett in future films potentially fighting side by side with Thanos against all the Avengers for the two-part Infinity Wars movies.  Similarly, if Grandmaster also contains an infinity stone in the movies (like he does in the comics), Goldblum could also appear in Infinity Wars Part 1 as Thanos attempts to assemble all the stones.

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As a minor sidebar, how cool is it that Jeff Goldblum and Karl Urban are now apart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Let this sink in, a Thor movie now cotains a cast consisting of Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins, Zachary Levi, Tessa Thompson, and Stellan Sarsgaard.  That’s a ridiculous amount of talent even without Oscar-winner Natalie Portman returning.  Yes, my fellow geeks, this is the world we live in now where well respected Hollywood talent is lining up in droves to be in a comic book movie.

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While on the subject of Thor: Ragnarok, director Taika Waititi  (What We Do In The Shadows) sat down with Bmag to discuss Marvel’s hiring process and his opinion on why the MCU remains fresh and entertaining.

“True, but if you ask the fans, they’ve got no idea why Marvel asked me to do it. I’m absolutely an outside choice for them. Which is good! That’s why I think they do so well. They just keep choosing weird people to make their movies. I think it’s great. It’s awesome. It’s a genius move, really. Why would you get the obvious choice?

It’s like when Hollywood sees a movie that does really well and then they copy that movie. If you’re trying to get someone to make a certain film, you don’t get someone who made the last film that was like your film that you’re trying to make. Because you’re going to get the same film, and it’s going to be boring, and everybody’s going to see how boring it is.

You should get someone who’s really weird, like me, who’s never made one of these things before. And then you guide them and shape them and make sure they don’t spend all the money on leather jackets.”

If you stop to think about it, it’s really impressive what Marvel has been able to accomplish with the directors they hire.  They have brought in numerous directors that, on paper, appear to be way out of their element and yet they have a nearly flawless track record.  I may not be a fan of the Thor movies to date or the 2nd and 3rd Iron Man movies, but none of the films have been critical or commercial failures.  Even Pixar has a Cars 2 on their resume.  What’s crazy is that they haven’t pulled this off by hiring the biggest A-list director out their for each of their films, quite the contrary.  Many of their movies have been directed by virtual unknowns, or at the very least directors who have never handled a big budget blockbuster movie previously.  Eventually I imagine we’ll get a movie that completely flops with the director way over his head, but against all odds that hasn’t happened yet.  Marvel is continuing this strategy of hiring well respected indie talent (what a concept, searching for talented directors instead of names) with Jon Watts (Cop Car) directing Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ryan Coogler (Creed) directing Black Panther, Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us From Evil) directing Doctor Strange, and of course Waititi with Thor: Ragnarok.  Continue thinking outside the box Marvel

Thor: Ragnarok arrives in theaters July 28, 2017.

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