‘Thor: Ragnarok’ made a surprising choice with some beloved characters

Spoiler alert: This post contains plot details for Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor: Ragnarok may be the best-reviewed Marvel movie of all time, but fans do have one major complaint.

The third installment in the thunder god’s franchise purposefully takes a hammer to a lot of the established rules of its titular hero’s universe — Jane Foster and her other earthbound friends are nowhere to be seen, Mjolnir is shattered, and ultimately, Asgard is destroyed — but there’s one big change that seems particularly jarring, at least for fans of Mighty Thor’s comic book origins. 

In the first two Thor movies, our hero could always rely on his loyal band of friends, Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and the Warriors Three — Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (played by Josh Dallas in Thor and Zachary Levi in The Dark World and Ragnarok), and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) — but in Ragnarok, they’re pretty much an afterthought.

The Thor franchise has never quite known what to do with Thor’s besties — they got a fair amount of screen time in the first film, but Hogun was completely sidelined in The Dark World, while Sif was reduced to swooning over Thor from afar and exchanging jealous glares with Jane.

That’s probably preferable to how they were treated in Ragnarok, though: The Warriors Three are unceremoniously dispatched by Hela once she reaches Asgard — Volstagg and Fandral die by her blades pretty much as soon as the Goddess of Death steps through the Bifrost, while Hogun is given a slightly more heroic end, leading Asgard’s legions in an ultimately doomed battle against the scene-stealing villainess before being impaled.  

Simpler times...

Simpler times…

Image: marvel

At a press conference for Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige addressed the deaths of the Warriors Three, but his explanation wasn’t particularly convincing. According to ScreenRant, Feige said: “They had noble ends – mainly to serve the arrival of Hela, the arrival of the biggest villain into the MCU, who within the first five minutes destroys the hammer, kicks Loki and Thor out of Asgard, and kills almost anyone we’ve ever met before in the other movies. Which is really – we want it to start with a bang.”

So destroying Mjolnir and killing most of Asgard’s army wasn’t enough of a demonstration of Hela’s power? She had to kill two of Thor’s sidekicks within five seconds of seeing them without letting either of them utter a line? Hmm.

Sif, meanwhile, is never mentioned or seen on screen — no one namedrops her as one of the warriors helping Heimdall evacuate the city, Thor doesn’t question her absence, and she’s not seen amongst the huddled masses who escape the destruction of Asgard on the Grandmaster’s ship.

There’s actually a fairly valid reason for this — Alexander had a scheduling conflict with her NBC series, Blindspot (which films in New York), that prevented her from being involved in Ragnarok (which shot in Australia). She told Yahoo: “I was asked, but the timing of when they were going to shoot and when Blindspot was gonna shoot — it was pretty much the same time … I was hoping for more of a notice from [the studio] so I could make it work, but it was a short notice thing. They called and said, ‘Hey, by the way, would you come do this?’ I said there is no way I can make that work that fast.”

Judging by what happened to Sif’s allies, it’s probably just as well that Alexander was busy, otherwise she might’ve suffered the same ignominious exit as her buddies. When asked to explain Sif’s on-screen whereabouts in Ragnarok, Feige basically gave the verbal equivalent of a Magic 8 Ball’s “ask again later,” telling ScreenRant, “that is a good question for another time.”

Alexander has previously appeared on ABC’s Agents of SHIELD (one of the few tenuous links between Marvel’s TV shows and the movies), so her whereabouts could be explored there, but you’d hope that the movies would give Thor a chance to actually prove that he gives a damn about his BFFs and hasn’t just replaced them with Valkyrie, Hulk, Korg and Miek — although we wouldn’t be opposed to that spinoff

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