[We’ve added an update at the bottom of this story.]
Captain America: Civil War has just about every superhero except for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), so it makes sense that the two characters should be teaming up for Thor’s next feature, Thor: Ragnarok. According to JoBlo, that will be the case as the two characters will co-star in the upcoming sequel alongside Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Jaimie Alexander’s Lady Sif.
JoBlo also reports that the movie will “involve a ‘distant planet’ that is “not Asgard and not Earth.” They believe that this planet will be the way Marvel gets to incorporate some of the Planet Hulk storyline that has been floating around in the comics, and I think that’s true insofar as the comics tend to provide only the slightest bits of plot for the movies.
Returning to the pairing of Hulk and Thor, it’s good to put them together, both from a character perspective and a business perspective. The Thor movies have received lukewarm reception among the fans, and the Hulk movies have flopped, so perhaps they can give each other boost rather than hoping the third time’s the charm for Thor or that Marvel will give Hulk a third chance at a solo movie. This seems like the smart route to go.
I’m also curious to see how the two characters will play off each other. When you have Hulk, you really have two characters—Bruce Banner and “the other guy”. Banner could be fascinated with the super-advanced science of Asgard (or at least realms that aren’t Earth) and Hulk is the one who can survive whatever outer space has to throw at him. He’s both the audience surrogate, but also ideally suited to survive in a way other Avengers cannot.
Even though I’m not a big fan of Thor or Thor: The Dark World, I have very high hopes for Thor: Ragnarok because I think it needs to shakeup the MCU in the same way that Captain America: The Winter Soldier did. Phase Three is filled with new characters trying to establish themselves, and that leaves it to the established franchises to set up the grand culmination of Avengers: Infinity War. Thor had to do the heavy lifting of explaining the Infinity Stones for Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I hope that his new film is pivotal in setting up Infinity War perhaps to the extent that Thanos is a major player and not some unseen threat. And if you’re going to go up against Thanos, you should probably bring a Hulk.
Thor: Ragnarok opens November 3, 2017.
[Update: THR confirms that Ruffalo is in negotiations for the film and confirms that Hiddleston and Alexander are co-starring with Hemsworth. It will be interesting to see if any other Thor: Ragnarok rumors are borne out in the days and weeks ahead.]