Few franchises are as rich in Easter eggs, comic book references, and other inside jokes and secrets as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and in the case of Thor: Ragnarok, the film is an absolute treasure trove. Every scene in Taika Waititi’s new space action-comedy seems to have some sort of hidden detail in it and we can’t wait to explore the film’s extra features when it hits home video to see what ones we may have missed. For now, here are the most noteworthy hidden details you may not have noticed while watching Thor: Ragnarok.
Oh and just to be clear, this post contains major SPOILERS for the film!
21. Surtur And The Eternal Flame
The fire demon Surtur and his realm of the same name play a pretty important role in the comics and Thor: Ragnarok finally gives him his due by having the God of Thunder face off against him in the film’s opening sequence. While we don’t actually see how Thor ended up in his voluntary imprisonment, Surtur catches him and the audience up on his role in causing Ragnarok. Surtur tells Thor that reuniting his crown with the Eternal Flame kept in Odin’s vault is the key to unlocking his power but in the comics, it’s actually Surtur’s sword that needs to be returned to the flame.
Thor also makes reference to Odin having killed Surtur million of years prior and this actually ties into the Allfather’s origins. In the comics, Odin and his two brothers travel to Muspelheim in a quest to defeat Surtur and take the source of his power — the Eternal Flame. Odin is the only one who survives and returns to Asgard with the power of his fallen brothers.
20. Director Cameos
Speaking of Surtur, much buzz has been made about the fact that Ragnarok director Taika Waititi plays the lovable stone monster Korg but did you know that he also plays the sword-wielding fire demon? Waititi did the performance capture for Surtur, though his voice was replaced by veteran voice actor Clancy Brown, whose past comic book-related voice work includes Lex Luthor in Justice League Unlimted and Red Hulk in the Hulk and the Agents of S.MA.S.H. TV series.
19. Frog Thor
During Thor’s opening monologue (yes, it’s technically a monologue since he’s talking to a skeleton), he recounts a number of mishaps that have happened to him over the years, including that he was once turned into a frog. While we unfortunately don’t get to actually see this play out, it’s probably a callback to the time Loki turned the God of Thunder into a frog during Walter Simonson’s run on the Thor comics. Interestingly, there’s also a character in the comics named Simon Walterson who was turned into a frog, but this change ended up being permanent, prompting Simon to adopt the handle Throg, The Frog of Thunder.
18. The Hidden Green Lantern “Crossover”
Taika Waititi had a small role in Green Lantern (2011) as Hal Jordan’s best friend Tom and given how playful the director is with pretty much everything in Thor: Ragnarok, it makes sense that he found a way to reference that movie with a DC Comics “crossover” that is pretty much impossible to notice. When Thor returns to Asgard after defeating Surtur, he discovers that the usual operator, Heimdall, is now a fugitive and has been replaced by Skurge (Karl Urban), who is more concerned with impressing a pair of Asgardian ladies than he is with his new job. As he explains, being in charge of the Bifrost means that he can travel to any of the nine realms and acquire “loot” to add to his collection. Some of his prized possessions include his assault rifles “Des” and “Troy” and a Shake Weight.
As Waititi explains to Fandango, the Shake Weight gag is actually a crossover of sorts with Green Lantern, as he actually bought the infomercial gadget while he was working on the film. Waititi credits his time working on Green Lantern with teaching him a lot about how superhero movie productions work and the problems that can often plague them, which is why he went to the trouble of subtly giving that film the nod with this delightful gag.
17. Those Theatre Cameos
If there’s any scene that proves Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s the farcical play being put on for Loki’s (disguised as Odin, of course) amusement upon Thor’s return to Asgard. As we see, Loki has essentially turned Asgard into one giant ode to himself, commissioning the construction of a statue in his honor and having the kingdom’s theater company act out plays that paint him as a fallen hero. The best part of this scene — besides the visual of Sir Anthony Hopkins lounging around eating grapes — is the actors themselves, as each one represents a pretty big cameo. We have Chris Hemsworth’s older brother Luke Hemsworth (Westworld) playing Thor, Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople star Sam Neill as Odin, and none other than an uncredited Matt Damon playing Loki. We can only hope that the home release of Thor: Ragnarok contains plenty of outtakes from this scene!
16. Murder By Mjolnir
After witnessing far too much of Asgard’s theatre troupe hamming it up on stage, Thor easily sees through his brother’s disguise and comes up with an ingenious way of revealing Loki’s treachery: playing a twisted version of chicken with his trusty hammer Mjolnir. As he tells Odin/Loki, nothing will stop his hammer from returning to his hand, so he places his brother’s head in Mjolnir’s path. Loki yields, of course, leaving Marvel fans with a scene that recalls Walt Simonson’s run on the Thor comics. In issue #359, uses the same tactic to break himself free of one of Loki’s spells and just like in the movie, Loki relents for fear of taking a magical hammer to the face.
15. Shady Acres
It doesn’t take long for Thor to convince Loki to tell him where he’s been hiding Odin, prompting the God of Mischief to take his brother to New York City. Unfortunately, all they find is a pile of rubble where the retirement home Odin had been living in used to be. However, we do see that the facility was called Shady Acres, which is actually a running joke in Hollywood that goes back to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. In that 1994 film, there’s a special care facility with the same name, which was a play on director Tom Shadyac. Since then, multiple films and TV shows have used “Shady Acres” as a retirement home name, including South Park, which first featured the location in the Season Six episode, “The New Terrence and Phillip Movie Trailer.”
14. Thor’s Umbrella
The sight of Thor carrying around an umbrella during his visit to New York City leads to a funny gag where Doctor Strange warns the God of Thunder not to forget his umbrella. It then becomes apparent that the umbrella is really just Mjolnir in disguise (hey, what would look weirder: Thor carrying around an umbrella or a magical hammer?), the first time we’ve seen him do such a thing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This gag actually originates from the original Thor comics, in which Thor lived on Earth as his alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake. The difference is that Blake carried around a cane instead of an umbrella and could reveal Mjolnir’s true form by tapping the cane forcefully on the ground. We see Thor do something similar with his umbrella when he slams it on the ground to cast away the illusion after Hela ambushes him and Loki.
13. Jack Kirby Influence
From a visual standpoint, Thor: Ragnarok is easily one of the best looking Marvel movies to date and this has a lot to do with it essentially being one giant homage to the style of legendary Marvel Comics artist Jack Kirby. In particular, Kirby’s love of over-designed backdrops and weird looking bits of architecture and armor can be seen all over the planet of Sakaar. In fact, the background in the scene where Loki watches Thor and and Hulk fight from the Grandmaster’s box seat is a replica of Kirby’s artwork on the cover of Fantastic Four #64 (1967).
12. Fake Infinity Gauntlet
When Hela enters Odin’s vault in order to access the Eternal Flame, she reveals that the murals in the throne room aren’t the only lies being sold by her departed father. We see Hela walk up to the Infinity Gauntlet and casually knock it off its pedestal, claiming it’s a fake in the process. This actually addresses an issue introduced all the way back in the original Thor movie, which first introduced the Infinity Gauntlet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The problem was that eagle-eyed fans noticed that the gauntlet was a right-handed glove; a problem that was only compounded further when we Thanos put on the ‘correct’ left-handed glove in the post-credits scene of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. As Hela demonstrates, Marvel Studios essentially retconned this issue by having Asgard’s version turn out to be a fake this whole time.
11. Fenris is Much More Than Just a Wolf
In addition to the undead army housed under Odin’s throne room (why he would keep them there, waiting to be reanimated is anyone’s guess), Hela also brings her wolf pet “Fenris” back to life using the Eternal Flame. Interestingly, Fenris represents quite a departure from his comics counterpart, who isn’t Hela’s pet but her brother. What’s more, the two of them are Loki’s children!
Unfortunately, while changing Hela from Loki’s daughter to his and Thor’s sister ends up fitting in much better with the narrative framework of the MCU (it would be a lot weirder if Loki just suddenly had a daughter who was older than him), this change actually makes Fenris inferior to the comic book version of his character. In the comics, Fenris is as powerful as Odin and can even take a human form. In the movie, he ends up battling the Hulk and getting thrown off of Asgard. Poor doggy.
10. Valkyrie’s Ship
The spaceship owned by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) is notable not only for its death-dealing, arm-controlled weapons system, but for its red, white, and black color scheme. These are actually the same colors of the Tino Rangatiratanga flag, which is the symbol adopted by the Māori of New Zealand to represent their culture, a clever nod to director Taika Waititi’s New Zealand heritage. The color scheme can most clearly be seen during the scrapyard scene when Valkyrie stumbles off of the ship’s ramp. Maintaining that theme, the Grandmaster’s orgy ship that the heroes later use to escape from Sakaar is painted in the colors of the Austrailian Aboriginal flag.
9. Scrapper #142
While Tessa Thompson’s character is known officially as Valkyrie, this is due to her being the only surviving member of Odin’s Valkyrie warriors and not her actual name. We never actually learn her real name but the film gets around this by introducing her simply as “Scrapper-142.” It’s never really made clear if this is a designation given to all of the Grandmaster’s collectors or whether she uses it to keep her ties to Asgard a secret (probably a bit of both), but it turns out that her number is no coincidence; in fact, it pays homage to the Valkyrie as a whole.
The original Valkyrie is named Brunhilde and she made her debut in The Incredible Hulk #142 (1971). The story goes that when Odin came to Earth to battle one of his brothers, he realized that he needed a Valkyrie to honor and escort fallen warriors to paradise, which was their purpose in actual Norse mythology.
8. Hey, Isn’t That From Willy Wonka?
When Thor first arrives at the Grandmaster’s Palace, he gets strapped to a chair and sent for a hallucinogenic ride put on by the tower’s computer system. To help play up the Grandmaster’s eccentricities, the scene plays out as something of a homage to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, as not only does the song “Pure Imagination” play out in the background, but the ride itself bears an uncanny resemblance to the infamous boat ride scene from the 1971 film. While we can’t begin to fathom what inspired Jeff Goldblum’s take on the Grandmaster, it certainly feels reminiscent of Gene Wilder’s iconic performance as the kooky factory owner.
7. Grandmaster’s Palace Heads
The Hulk may be the Grandmaster’s (Jeff Goldblum) favorite champion, but he’s had other beloveds in the past, which he honors with massive busts on the outside of his palace. We see that the Hulk’s bust is still under construction but there are other skulls adorning the walls, each one a reference to a specific character from Marvel lore. The one of particular note to Thor fans is the Korbinite skull, a race of intelligent, humanoid aliens with heads shaped like much like a horse’s. Most likely, this is Beta Ray Bill himself, thus confirming that the character exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Beta Ray Bill is a character who actually weilded Mjolnir for a time, proving to be worthy of the God of Thunder’s power while he was out of commission. Once Thor reclaimed his hammer, Odin gave Bill a hammer of his own and the two became longtime allies.
The other heads look like they belong to Ares (yes, Marvel and DC both have a version of the Greek God of War); the swam monster Man-Thing; and the Mighty Bi-Beast, an enemy of the Hulk with two heads stacked on top of each other who is actually an android designed by an extinct race of aliens.
Korg’s little buddy Miek is quite different from his comics counterpart but in perhaps the best way possible. Introduced in the original Planet Hulk storyline — which Thor Ragnarok draws on heavily for inspiration — Miek is still an insectoid creature but whereas he’s just a small slug-like thing piloting an exosuit with “knives for hands,” Planet Hulk’s version of Miek is a large humanoid creature similar in size to the Hulk himself. This is because he’s able to evolve into a “King” version of his species, with increased size and strength. Considering how popular he and Korg have been with audiences, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see the pair again in a future MCU movie.
5. The Revengers
When Thor approaches Valkyrie and tells her that he’s putting together a team of heroes to take back Asgard from Hela, he somewhat jokingly claims that the team’s name is the Revengers, an obvious play on the Avengers. It turns out that the Revengers are a real, honest-to-goodness team in Marvel Comics and have taken many different forms. The most recent roster of the group includes Wonder Man, Anti-Venom, Captain Ultra, Goliath, Atlas, and Century.
4. “Refuel On Xandar”
Despite both taking place in the Marvel cosmos, the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy movies really haven’t had much connection as of yet, but Thor: Ragnarok changes that with a throwaway bit of dialogue that you may have missed. During the scene where Valkyrie finally agrees to accompany Thor to Asgard, she estimates that it will take a whopping eighteen months of traveling by conventional starship travel, noting that they will need to stop to “refuel on Xandar” along the way. Xandar, of course, is the home planet of the Nova Corps, which the Guardians of the Galaxy saved from Ronan the Accuser in their cinematic debut. However, judging by Ragnarok’s post-credits scene, it won’t be long until we finally see the Thor and Guardians universes properly introduced to one another.
3. Thor’s Eye
Much like other Marvel movies, it never feels like the heroes are in any true danger in Thor: Ragnarok, but that assumption is put to the test when Hela shockingly slices out one of Thor’s eyes during their final fight. While gruesome, one-eyed Thor can be viewed as an homage to both the God of Thunder’s father Odin and to writer Jason Aaron’s recent run on the Thor comics, in which a future version of the character is missing an eye. (It’s also interesting to note that a Hulk punch from hundreds of feet in the air can’t put a dent in Thor’s face, but Hela make stabbing out his eye look effortless).
2. Point Break
In a delightful throwback to 2012’s The Avengers, Thor discovers the hard way that the Quinjet’s computer only responds to him when he refers to himself as “Point Break,” which of course is the nickname Robet Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark gave him in that film. This is, of course, a reference to Thor looking a lot like Patrick Swayze’s character from the 1991 film Point Break. Adding insult to injury, Thor also learns that the Quinjet recognizes Bruce Banner/the Hulk as the “strongest Avenger.”
1. The Arrival Of Thanos
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a Marvel movie end with proper setup work for Avengers: Infinity War, but the post-credits scene in Thor: Ragnarok leaves little doubt as to what it’s teasing. We see Thor and Loki conversing on their ship’s bridge, discussing whether it’s a good idea to be bringing the God of Mischief back to Earth when all of a sudden they come into contact with a big, ominous ship. While it’s possible that the ship belongs to someone else, it seems pretty clear that Thanos is its commander.
We already know that the prologue for Infinity War shows Thor, bruised and beaten, floating through space, only to be picked up by none other than the Guardians of the Galaxy. This doesn’t exactly bode well for Asgard, which now literally only exists on the same ship Thor is traveling on. Hopefully, Thor is the only one who receives a beating from the Mad Titan, giving his people the opportunity to make their escape.