Thor is having a rough time in the new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. Without his hammer Mjolnir to help him in battle, the Mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is mighty powerless as he’s taken across the galaxy to become a gladiator slave for the Grandmaster (played by, uh, Jeff Goldblum). Directed by acclaimed New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows), the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is looking like a cool-as-hell romp through space that’s loaded with neat visual homages that comic book fans will love.

Strictly speaking, the story of Thor: Ragnarok adheres somewhat to the Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema storyline from 1966. In Thor issues #272-278, the evil goddess of death, Hela tried to usher in Ragnarok, the cyclical event known in Norse mythology as the apocalypse. But pieces of Waititi’s new movie seen in the new teaser also homages huge moments from comics that Marvel fans will totally recognize. So for college students procrastinating on their world lit final, don’t use Thor: Ragnarok as a study guide. For everyone else, here are six moments from the Ragnarok teaser trailer to keep an eye on.


Thor Hulk Gladiator

1. Gladiator Hulk, From Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk

Few people know the Hulk better than writer Greg Pak, who in 2006 sent Hulk off into space to become a gladiator on the planet Sakaar. This all happened during the events of Marvel’s Civil War from Mark Millar, so if you were wondering why Bruce Banner sat out of the film version, that’s why.

While Planet Hulk isn’t being turned into a movie by itself, it is being adapted into Thor: Ragnarok as a slave Hulk stands as an obstacle in the way of Thor, who must stop Hela from destroying Asgard. Speaking of Hela …

2. Everything About Hela

Cate Blanchett enters the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing Hela, the ruler of Hel (the Norse underworld) who makes a stunning first impression by smashing Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir, to pieces. Fans on Twitter have commented just how eerily accurate Blanchett’s Hela is from the comics, at least when she’s in her “true” form.

Thor ragnarok
Top: Karl Urban as "Skurge" in 'Thor: Ragnarok.' Below: Skurge's standoff from the comics.

3. Skurge Stands Alone

Skurge, played by Karl Urban (Star Trek, Dredd) is also known as the “Executioner” and was once an adversary of Thor who sought redemption in his aid at the end of Ragnarok. Armed with human military weapons (that Ragnarok storyline seriously went places), Skurge held off Hela’s forces in a touching moment a lot of fans remember to this day: “And though the Executioner stands alone,” the third-person narration reads as Skurge heroically sacrifices himself, “and the warriors of Hel seemed numberless, not one sets foot upon the bridge across the river Gjoll.”

While Thor: Ragnarok might still change things up, maybe it’s wise to prepare for a few tear-jerking moments.

4. “Unworthy” Thor

Recently, Thor became “unworthy” and lost the right to wield Mjolnir, allowing Jane Foster to take his place in the Marvel Universe. Thor’s less-dignified look from Jason Aaron’s Unworthy Thor is borrowed for Hemsworth’s gladiator gear, which is fitting since Thor is without Mjolnir in the arena as well. A popular fan-run Instagram account, @accurate.mcu, compared the two looks, and the similarities are uncanny save for the red Destiny-style hood and his lost left arm.

Thor Mjolnir Perrikus

5) A Broken Mjolnir

For such a sacred weapon, Mjolnir has been broken at least a dozen times in Marvel’s comics. Hela’s impressive destruction of the hammer in the Ragnarok trailer is the first time fans have seen Mjolnir smushed in live action. But in comics? Well, there was that time Perrikus sliced it up …

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When Molecule Man vaporized it using science …

Thor hammer destroyed

To when the Hulk smashed it, albeit probably in a dream sequence? (I, um, never read this one before.)

Thor Hulk Mjolnir

And other noteworthy moments. You get the picture, it’s not indestructible.

Thor Hulk Ragnarok
'Thor' #112, featuring Thor battling the Hulk.

6. Thor vs. Hulk

Thor and Hulk have been longtime rivals in comics, which stems from the mere fact they’re the two biggest bruisers of the Avengers. Fans love the paradox of Hulk, the strongest individual in the Marvel Universe, being unable to lift the mighty Mjolnir.

Their various battles are well-known, and were already homaged in their scuffle in 2012’s The Avengers. But Ragnarok is taking it up a notch.

Thor Jack Kirby Ragnarok
Top: The bright colors in 'Thor: Ragnarok.' Bottom: The bright colors of Jack Kirby.

7. It’s Pretty Much Jack Kirby Everywhere

The legendary Jack Kirby would be celebrating his 100th birthday if he were alive today. DC might be commemorating the occasion on Legends of Tomorrow, Waititi told Total Film that the influential writer and artist was the basis for Thor: Ragnarok. “I was really excited when Kevin [Feige] and the rest of Marvel jumped on board with the idea to use Kirby as a big influence in the design of the film,” he said. “What’s really hard is staying authentic.”

The eye-popping primary colors and pulpy style of Ragnarok are signatures of Kirby, who also served as the design influence on last year’s Doctor Strange alongside Steve Ditko. The trailer’s full of bright reds, blues, and yellows, and the movie feels like a live-action version of Kirby’s famous ‘70s comic book art.


Thor: Ragnarok will be released on November 3, 2017.

Photos via Marvel Comics, Marvel