How Will ‘Thor Ragnarok’ Affect the MCU?

What will happen to Thor, Loki and Hulk after Ragnarok, where are the Infinity Stones, and how will the action play into Avengers: Infinity War?
Chris Tilly
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Thor Ragnarok crashes into cinemas at the tail-end of this year, pitting Chris Hemsworth’s Norse God against Cate Blanchett’s Hela, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster, and his old friend Hulk – again played by Mark Ruffalo.

But how will the film affect the MCU? As "Phase 3" draws to a close, Thor Ragnarok has to be its own standalone story, while at the same time setting wheels in motion for future phases and films.

Having watched the trailer a gazillion times - and read every interview and quote we can get our hands on - FANDOM reckons the future could look a little something like this...

Grandmaster Will Bring the Soul Stone Into Play

There are six Infinity Stones, and thus far the MCU has introduced five: Space, Reality, Power, Mind and Time. The Soul Stone - aka the orange one - is yet to make an appearance, and the smart money is on that happening in Thor: Ragnarok.

But who has it? Heimdall's eyes are orange, so maybe the Soul Stone that allows him to see the length and breadth of the universe. Hela controls the souls of the dead, so she's also a strong candidate.

But the smart money is on Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster possessing the Soul Stone. He previously got his hands on the Mind Gem in the comics, so there's a precedent. And it would really raise the stakes if the Soul Stone plays some part in the games the Grandmaster oversees in Thor: Ragnarok.

Whoever has it at the start of the movie, the Soul Stone will likely be in nefarious hands come the end.

Thanos Will be Ready For Infinity War

After Thor: Ragnarok, the next film in Phase 3 is Black Panther, and then we're onto Avengers: Infinity War. And with Black Panther being a pretty standalone story that takes place on Wakanda, it will doubtless be the job of the Thor movie to set stuff up that will pay off in the Avengers flick.

The aforementioned Infinity Stone will obviously link the two films. But will this entry give us a better glimpse at the mighty being who wields the Infinity Gauntlet and causes the war?

Thanos has been pretty camera-shy until this point, making cameos and brief appearances in post-credit stings. But with Kevin Feige calling him "the biggest, the best, the baddest villain we've ever had" and "more powerful than anyone they've faced" now would be a good time to hint at that power.

So while he might not be the movie's big bad, we're hoping Thanos rears his ugly head at some point in proceedings.

The Age of Asgard is Over

Last time we were on Asgard, the situation wasn't good. The Queen was dead, and Loki was impersonating the king, Odin. Unfortunately, it looks like things are set to get worse in the new film.

In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is pretty much the end of times, and in Thor: Ragnarok, it looks like Asgard's days are indeed numbered. It's only briefly glimpsed in the trailer, but the death and destruction that Hela reigns down upon the realm looks to be devastating, with fire sweeping through the streets and destroying everything in its path.

If the population isn't completely wiped out, those left will be vulnerable and doubtless face attacks from the other realms. And with the Space Stone hidden in an Asgardian vault, Thanos will also be heading their way to snatch the gem.

Meaning that unless Thor performs a whole host of god-like miracles during Ragnarok, the age of Asgard will be very much over by the end of the movie.

The Scene Will be Set For Phase 4

It might be a little early for Phase 4 flicks, but bear with us. After Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, Phase 3 consists of Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel and Avengers 4. Then we're into the mysterious Phase 4. Mysterious because Kevin Feige has recently been saying it will be "very different."

"Certainly as we get to Infinity War there is a sense of climax if not conclusion. By the time we're at untitled Avengers 4 - the 22 movies that will have encompassed the first three phases of the MCU," Feige told Collider. "And what happens after that will be very different. I don't know if it's Phase 4, it might be a new thing."

We know we're getting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 during said phase, as well as a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, but aside from that little else is known. So we're hoping that Thor: Ragnarok sows seeds for potential spin-offs.

For starters, it's about time Loki got his own movie. He's pretty much the only good villain in the MCU, and thanks to Tom Hiddleston's wickedly funny performance, is the highlight of most films in which he's appeared.

Sparing use of the character allows him to pop up, steal movies, then pop off, which is smart. But it's about time audiences got to spend an entire movie with Loki, learning what makes him tick, and pitting his light and dark sides against each other. So we'll be paying close attention to the character's journey in Ragnarok, and where it might lead.

Then there's Thor and Hulk. Their fractured relationship has been one of the most entertaining in the MCU, while Hulk's appearance in the Ragnarok teaser is the very definition of a crowd-pleaser. It's been rumored that the film is something of a buddy movie for the pair. And in the behind-the-scenes video that Chris Hemsworth shot on the set of Infinity War, Thor picks up the Hulk figure and says "you can come with me, because we're now mates." Which suggests that Thor and Hulk will be best buds at the end of the movie.

So if the film lives up to the trailer, and audiences flock to watch the two big guys in action, don't be surprised if this is the start of a beautiful friendship; one that inspires further films about their bromance.

Thor: Ragnarok hits UK screens on October 27 and US screens on November 3.

Chris Tilly
At this point my life is a combination of 1980s horror movies, Crystal Palace football matches, and episodes of I'm Alan Partridge. The first series. When he was in the travel tavern. Not the one after.