Taika Waititi based Korg's character on Polynesian bouncers: "We wanted to change the idea of what a hulking guy made of rocks could be. He's huge and heavy, but with a light soul, and he's funny and friendly."
Before the sets created for Marvel's Doctor Strange (2016) were demolished, Waititi took advantage of them by writing and filming a scene for this movie featuring Thor meeting Doctor Stephen Strange. Marvel and Doctor Strange (2016) Director Scott Derrickson felt the scene was "kind of perfect" to show Strange joining the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe after his stand-alone introduction in that movie, so the scene appears during the end credits of Doctor Strange (2016).
Cate Blanchett accepted a role in this movie to please her children, who are Marvel comics fans. Blanchett's eldest son Dashiell John Upton suggested she take the role of Hela, saying it'd be a career boost.
The Infinity Gauntlet made its first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance briefly in Odin's vault in Thor (2011), imbued with all six Infinity Stones. The gauntlet was next seen in an Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) post-credits scene, in Thanos' vault with all of the infinity stones missing, and Thanos stating "Fine. I'll do it myself." As most of the infinity stones have been identified within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans speculated that the complete Infinity Gauntlet seen in Odin's vault must have been either a replica created by Odin, or a continuity gaff. This movie addresses the gaff and answers the question. As Hela walks through Odin's vault, she knocks the Infinity Gauntlet over and states "Fake!"
Director Taika Waititi said that he wanted to showcase Chris Hemsworth's comedic talent in this film: "He's so good and underutilized in that department. He's legitimately one of the funniest things in this film."
The Grandmaster's tower features statues of his champions, notable figures from Marvel comics: the Greek god Ares, the alien being Beta Ray Bill, the supernatural entity Man-Thing, and the android monster the Bi-Beast.
Taika Waititi appeared in this movie as Korg. Waititi is the second Marvel film Director to have a major role in his own movie, after Jon Favreau (who directed the first two Iron Man films, and appeared as "Happy" Hogan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is translated as "The Fate of the Gods", although it is often confused with the word "Götterdämmerung". The myth tells of the eventual destruction of the universe and mankind, as well as the deaths of several key figures in Norse Mythology, such as the gods Odin, Thor, Loki, Heimdall, Freyr, Sol, and Tyr, and the monsters, a.k.a. Jotun, Fenris, and Jörmungandr. A new generation of gods, the children of Odin, Thor, and Sol specifically, will take the place of the old ones, as the cycle of the world starts anew.
Sif was originally supposed to appear in the film, but Jaimie Alexander's shooting schedule for the third season of Blindspot (2015) clashed with this movie's schedule. It was decided to have the character written out, with Producer Kevin Feige saying that Sif was off on a mission during Ragnarök.
Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" appears in the film, and the trailer. This is noteworthy, because Led Zeppelin is known for very rarely licensing out their music for use in feature films, television series, or video games. The majority of other films that have had Led Zeppelin music are related to rock journalist Cameron Crowe (Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Almost Famous (2000)), making this one of the few films to feature Zeppelin music that in no way involves Crowe. School of Rock (2003) is another.
The film is mainly based on the Thor comics storylines "Ragnarök" (Thor discovers Asgard is doomed to Ragnarök and must fight to stop it from happening) and the Surtur saga (Surtur appears, and Thor and Loki team up to stop him). It also incorporates elements of the Marvel storylines "Contest of Champions" (The Grandmaster and Death host a tournament) and "Planet Hulk" (the Hulk becomes a gladiator on an alien world).
Taika Waititi described the film as a "1970s and 80s science fiction fantasy, the most 'out there' of all of the Marvel movies." He cited Big Trouble in Little China (1986) as a major influence on the film: "It's a fun adventure film that has big stakes, but also has a breakneck speed and takes you on a crazy adventure."
This film contains three members of the comic book incarnation of The Defenders superhero group: Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Doctor Strange is a founding member of The Defenders.
Loki's play mentions a time when he turned Thor into a frog. This is a reference to a Walter Simonson story where Loki briefly turned Thor into a frog (but he was able to meet a frog named Puddlegulp and share his power with him, turning him into Throg the Frog of Thunder).
Tom Hiddleston describes Loki as dealing with permanence: "It's in Loki's nature to change. He's a mercurial spirit, and the minute you try to define him he changes shape. But events in Ragnarök try and inspire him to change forever. The Goddess of Death shows up, and the stakes are high for everybody, so Loki, perhaps more than ever, is challenged to define himself in the face of that threat. He and Thor are in such an extraordinary situation where everything is so unfamiliar that their familiarity, as family members, becomes important."
According to Director Taika Waititi, while the film adapts the "Planet Hulk" storyline, Hulk wasn't going to be in the film at all. It was only supposed to be Thor stranded on an alien battlefield-world.
After dispatching Loki, Doctor Strange leaves his business card, which reads "177A Bleecker St." While truly accurate to the comics, and very similar to "221B Baker Street" (the address of Sherlock Holmes, whom Benedict Cumberbatch played on Sherlock (2010)), it is not an Easter egg. It was the real New York City address of Roy Thomas, one of the writers of Doctor Strange.
In addition to his credited role as the voice of Korg, Director Taika Waititi told Empire Magazine that he also played two other roles in this movie: "I am one of the heads on the three-headed alien, this character called Haju. I'm the head on the right. And I'm also the motion-capture for Surtur." Clancy Brown performed the voice of Surtur.
Korg is a member of the Kronan race, and made his debut in Journey into Mystery #83, where he was defeated by Thor. He is most known for his appearance in Planet Hulk, where he fought with Hulk and his Warbound on Sakaar to defeat the Red King, and in World War Hulk, where he assisted Hulk in his revenge against the heroes who shot him into space following the destruction of Sakaar.
In the comics, The Grandmaster has blue skin. Director Taika Waititi decided against applying blue on Jeff Goldblum, because he felt Goldblum was a good enough actor to not need it, and because Goldblum played a blue-colored character in Earth Girls Are Easy (1988).
Chris Hemsworth's trainer, Luke Zocchi, revealed that Hemsworth put on twenty pounds of muscle for his role in the film, taking his weight over two hundred pounds, by following an "old-school bodybuilding regime lifting a large weight-load for small number of reps." Zocchi revealed Hemsworth's favorite body part to train was his biceps, saying, "We design the workout around the body parts he's gonna be showing off the most, he's gonna have his arms and shoulders showing (through the sleeveless armor), so that's the thing we really focus on building up. He probably bicep curls thirty kilo dumbbells on average, each hand, so one hundred twenty pounds total. We always do seated incline curls, standing curls, and hammer curls. We started lighter and slowly, progressively get heavier." Zocchi said they are trying to deliver Hemsworth's best physique yet for this film.
The English term "Hell" for the Underworld derives from Anglo-Saxon references to the goddess Hel/Hela and to her realm of the dead. The Old English term "helle-rúne" (sorceress, necromancer) also derives from the goddess' name.
Director Taika Waititi consulted with theoretical physicist Clifford Johnson, who previously consulted on the second season of Agent Carter (2015), on space travel, and allowed Johnson to view early drafts of the script. Johnson felt Waititi was "receptive and super excited" about the information he provided, and Johnson gave him physics ideas that could "wink at some of the classic old Thor stuff."
Valkyrie's (Tessa Thompson's) flashback used a nine hundred frames per second high-speed rate, and a special three hundred sixty degree lighting rig of two hundred strobe lights to make the scene look as disorienting as possible.
Hela is primarily based on her comic version (the Norse goddess of death and apocalypse), but incorporates traits from Thor's enemy Gorr the God Butcher (an enemy who wields a magic sword and can create constructs) and Thor's sister Angela (a rival to Thor).
Valkyrie wears two armors based on her "Defenders" outfits in the comics: on Sakaar, she has a leather outfit that comes from her 2013 "Fearless Defenders" comic. She later dons a silver-gold full-body armor, her "Defenders" armor from the 1970s.
In the comics and Norse myth, Valkyrie was a fair-skinned, blonde, Viking warrior-woman. In this film, she is played by Afro-Panamanian, Mexican, and British actress Tessa Thompson. According to Director Taika Waititi, this was not a deliberate decision to diversify the film, but to choose the best person: "You're working with comic book Vikings, so you have to look at the source material as a very loose inspiration. A character's skin tone and hair color doesn't matter. I think the story is king, and you want the best person for the job, and Tessa was the best person."
Director Taika Waititi felt that despite the events of the film setting up Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the film would not only stand on its own, but reinvent the franchise: "A lot of what we're doing with the film is, in a way, dismantling and destroying the old idea and rebuilding it in a new way that's fresh. Everyone's got a slightly new take on their characters, so in that way, it feels like Thor (2011)."
Taika Waititi described "The Tragedy of Loki of Asgard" as: "If I was Loki, and I was ruling Asgard, I would write a play about myself and force everyone to go and see it, change the details, and get a huge celebrity to play myself."
The filmmakers cite Big Trouble in Little China (1986)'s Jack Burton as an influence on Thor: "What's the version of Thor just wanting to get his truck back? He's the one looking at the world and bringing a certain sarcasm and irony to this cosmic landscape."
During Captain America: Civil War (2016), all of the current Avengers line-up (apart from Thor and Hulk) turn up, choose a side, and fight one another. In the Civil War comic book storyline, this is also what happens, but on a much grander scale, again both Thor and Hulk are not present. The reason for both of them not being there in the Marvel comic book is because Hulk was on Sakaar and Thor had just been involved in Ragnarök, just like in this movie.
Jeff Goldblum was previously considered for the role of Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk in Hulk (2003). This is hinted at during The Grandmaster's arena intro of The Incredible Hulk, when he announced feeling a connection to him.
Korg (Taika Waititi) offers Thor a three-pronged wooden spear, saying "it's not much use unless you want to kill three vampires who are all clustered together", a clear reference to Waititi's previous film What We Do in the Shadows (2014), about a group of vampires who live together.
Natalie Portman and Jaimie Alexander didn't return for this movie. Natalie Portman declined to return as Dr. Jane Foster and announced she wouldn't appear in anymore Marvel comic book movies, and Jaimie Alexander was busy working on Blindspot (2015). Thor mentions Dr. Jane Foster in dialogue and tells Loki that he dumped her. But, Lady Sif's absence in the film is unexplained, and the character is not mentioned.
In the Marvel Comics Universe, when a Being becomes the last of its race, the Being is imbued with immortality, and that Being becomes part of a new race called an Elder of the Universe. That means they can no longer die, and hence are immortal. It is how the Universe protects the last of a kind in the Marvel Comics Universe. The Grandmaster and The Collector are two examples in the Marvel Comics Universe.
Director Taika Waititi described this movie as reinvention: "While Ragnarök traditionally means the end of everything, in the context of the film, it means disassembling what's already there, and rebuilding it. To me, it's stripping down the establishment, and then building it up in a new way, which is almost like this cyclic idea of Ragnarök. I love heroes that really go through ordeals and then come out the other end completely changed. That's way more exciting and interesting. You can never go back from that."
In The Avengers (2012), Thor tells everyone on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier " Loki is an Asgardian and my brother!" Natasha states "He's killed eighty people!" Thor deadpan face retorts immediately "He's adopted." Loki gets to do the same to Thor as The Grandmaster turns to him when Thor states "Loki is an Asgardian and my brother!", to which Loki retorts immediately "Adopted brother!"
If you thought Sir Anthony Hopkins' role as Odin in this movie seemed a bit small, there's a reason for that: his scenes were drastically changed after test audiences reacted poorly. In a new interview, Director Taika Waititi confirms that the original plan for Odin bothered early test audiences, resulting in a drastic change.
Although this movie is technically Thor's third solo outing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he appeared in both Avengers movies and Doctor Strange (2016), making this his sixth appearance in the franchise, not including the Team Thor promo videos for this movie. (As of this movie's release.)
When Thor crashes into Sakaar, and he's talking to the scavenger people, in the background there is the body of a Bilgesnipe that he refers to in the The Avengers (2012) "Large. Scaly. Has big antlers".
During his introductory scene, The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) plays a sort of synthesizer keyboard. Goldblum is, in actuality, a very accomplished pianist. He and his jazz combo, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, play semi-regular gigs at the Rockwell in Los Angeles, California.
When Thor is trying to get the password for the Quinjet, the successful password was "Point Break" which was a subtle nod to Tony Stark's nickname for the blonde Avenger, as he resembled Patrick Swayze (Point Break (1991)) quite closely. Point Break is also what Iron Man calls Thor when they meet in the first Avengers.
Loki's armor in this film is based on his dress in the "Agent of Asgard" comic, where he sought to change his destiny and become a hero, or at least not be seen as a villain anymore. This movie references this when Thor tells Loki he will always be the same, and this inspires him to try and be genuinely heroic.
The Grandmaster's cousin Carlo, who got melted, is named after a comic book artist, Carlo Pagulayan. Pagulayan created the character Korg, and was responsible along with writer Greg Pak for The Incredible Hulk comics between 2006 and 2007, and the Planet Hulk storyline. Both of them were given a special mention of thanks at the closing credits.
The retirement home in New York City is named "Shady Acres", the same name as the retirement home where Stan Marsh's grandfather lives in South Park (1997), and the same as the psychiatric institute in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), which was a play on that film's director Tom Shadyac.
Thor disguises Mjölnir as an umbrella and taps it on the ground to change it back into his hammer. This is an homage to the early "Thor" comics when Thor took the mortal form of Dr. Donald Blake and he disguised Mjölnir as a walking stick. However, an umbrella is a more suitable disguise for a god of thunder.
This movie marks the third time that a Kronan has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first was in the opening battle of Thor: The Dark World (2013), then in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) as Rocket and Yondu venture to Ego's planet.
The fact that Hela is the daughter of Odin, combined with the fact that this movie is produced by Walt Disney Pictures, by default makes her a Disney Princess. In this case, she is Disney's first Princess featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as their first Princess to take on the role of the villain.
In the final end credit sequence, The Grandmaster declares the Contest of Champions a tie. This is most likely a wink at an error that made it into print. In the original Contest of Champions comic book limited series, The Grandmaster picked heroes to fight against a hooded opponent's heroes to snag prizes. After the final round, The Grandmaster was declared the winner, but due to a screw-up in the production of the comics, if you count all of the battles, the original Contest of Champions should have ended in a tie.
"Hela" is the Marvel Comics version of Hel, the ruler of an Underworld of the same name. Hel's realm is part of Niflheim ("Abode of Mist", world of the darkness"), one of the Nine Worlds. Niflheim was depicted as a realm of primordial ice and cold. The souls of men who did not die a heroic or notable death (including those who did not die in battle, and those who died of sickness or of old age) were send to Niflheim and fell under Hel's control.
In Norse mythology and the comics, Hel (Hela) is the daughter of Loki, Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Death. Her domain mirrors the appearance of Asgard, as she awaited Ragnarök to fill her kingdom with dead souls. This movie shows quite the opposite, with Hela as Odin's daughter and Loki's half-sister, and her trying to rule Asgard, rather than biding her time and waiting to be the Queen of the dead Asgardians.
In this movie, Valkyrie rides a winged horse. According to Marvel comics, the horse is named Aragorn. Aragorn is a major hero in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Cate Blanchett (Hela) and Karl Urban (Skurge) played Aragorn's allies Galadriel and Eomer, respectively.
Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe described working on the film as both satisfying and frustrating: "As a Cinematographer, your function is to achieve a technically flawless image, to the service of the Director, and a key character of production, which is the Visual Effects Supervisor. At times, it is difficult to know where you are inside the movie, but I am very happy to have been able to respond to such incredible technical requirement."
When showing off his "treasures" to the girls, Skurge is briefly seen using a "Shake Weight", an infamous product sold on late night television. Another Marvel character, Wade Wilson, made a reference to the "Shake Weight" infomercial in Deadpool (2016).
The "Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!" attraction in Disney California Adventure is themed as the fortress of Taneleer Tivan (otherwise known as The Collector). The fortress is part of the city skyline behind The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum).
In the Prose Edda (thirteenth century) by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241), Hel/Hela is depicted as a daughter of the god Loki and the female jötunn (giantess) Angrboda (whose name means "the one who brings grief" or "she-who-offers-sorrow"). The same work depicts Hel/Hela as a sister to Fenrir (a giant wolf, destined to kill Odin) and Jörmungandr (a sea serpent, destined to kill Thor and to be killed by him, in a battle where both combatants die). Hel/Hela is the only one of the three in a humanoid form.
In the Contest of Champions arena when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is getting ready to meet the reigning champion, The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) introduces the opponent, about to enter the ring, as "..Your Increeedibllleee..." before the Hulk smashes through the door screaming. This is a direct nod to The Incredible Hulk comic books, first published by Marvel in 1962.
Valkyrie carries the designation of SR-142. In the Marvel comics, Valkyrie was briefly a mortal woman named Samantha Parrington, who served as an adversary for the Hulk in "The Incredible Hulk #142" (August 1971).
The only Avenger who has had shirtless scenes in all of the films he's been in (except for his Iron Man Three (2013) cameo) is The Incredible Hulk (his solo film, the two preceding Avengers movies and this film). Thor had a shirtless scene in both previous Thor films and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). This film would be the fourth film they have both been shirtless.
During the final battle scene when Bruce proclaims he's got this and jumps to try and change midair to battle Fenrir only to crash land references The Incredible Hulk (2008), when Bruce jumps out of a helicopter to fight The Abomination. The fight scene also pays homage to The Hulk (2003), where he fights giant mutated dogs that are able to pierce through his skin with their teeth.
Korg, the rock monster played by director Taika Waititi, introduces himself with a rock, paper, scissors joke when he first meets Thor. Korg explains that he ended up as a gladiator because he didn't print enough pamphlets. Paper beat rock. Later, at the end of the movie, Korg thinks that he accidentally crushed Miek, his blade-armed alien gladiator friend, and killed him. Though Miek does wake up, Korg killing Miek would mean that rock beat scissors.
The Shake Weight that Skurge is seen with in the beginning of the movie, belonged to Director Taika Waititi. Waititi bought it while filming Green Lantern (2011), in which he had a role. He bought it while watching an infomercial late at night.
In Marvel Comics stories, Valkyrie/Brunnhilde has lost numerous host bodies, and her spirit survives by merging (temporarily or long-term) with various women, both mortal and immortal. The most prominent of these "host" women are the Asgardian goddesses Enchantress/Amora and Lorelei (who are sisters to each other), and the mortal women Barbara Denton/Barbara Norriss, Samantha Parrington, and Sian Bowen. This has led to some complications, such as Valkyrie and the host having access to more than one set of memories, not having access to all necessary information on the host, or dealing with confused relatives, such as Barbara's estranged husband and Samantha's parents.
When Bruce Banner wears Tony Stark's clothes, the t-shirt depicts the album cover "Rio" by Duran Duran, and this is a subtle moment of foreshadowing, because the album contained the single "Hungry Like The Wolf". A very large wolf appears shortly after this sequence.
The opening scene in which Thor fights the demon Surtur is heavily reminiscent of the "mines of Moria" sequence in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Surtur bears a close resemblance to the Balrog the Fellowship fights in the mines, and in addition swarms of demons crawl down pillars towards Thor in the same way Orcs are shown to do in the Moria scene. Additionally, this scene is inter-cut with Skurge on the Bifröst bridge, played by Karl Urban. Urban portrayed the character of Eomer in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
In the Prose Edda (thirteenth century), the god Baldr (who was killed, not in battle, but after Loki tricked Baldr's brother into shooting him with an arrow made of mistletoe) is sent to Hel/Hela and kept in her realm. Baldr is even mentioned as "Hel's companion". When his brother Hermod negotiates for Baldr's release and resurrection, Hel/Hela's terms are that she will only release Baldr "If all things in the world, alive or dead, weep for him". When a giantess (who actually is Loki in disguise) refuses to weep for his death, Hel/Hela gets to keep her prize.
The Grandmaster's Commodore spaceship resembles the spaceship on the cover of Electric Light Orchestra's "Out of the Blue" (1977). The song "Mr. Blue Sky", sampled in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), comes from this album.
In the early 1990s, The Incredible Hulk writer Peter David was asked who he'd like to see portray Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk in a big screen feature film. His choice at the time was Sir Kenneth Branagh, who directed Thor (2011).
In the Prose Edda's depiction of Ragnarök, "all of Hel's people" leave Niflheim and join the battle under Loki's leadership. However, Hel/Hela herself is not depicted participating in the battle, and her death or further fate are not actually depicted.
The "Bartholomeus saga postola" (Saga of Bartholomew the Apostle), is a Christian saga from the thirteenth or fourteenth century, depicting the life of Bartholomew the Apostle. In the text, Bartholomew captures a demon who was posing as a god. The unnamed demon claims to be in service of Queen Hell, and mentions a war between Queen Hell and Jesus. According to the text, Jesus (who was killed on a cross, but did not die in battle) was send to Queen Hell's realm, but managed to defeat her and escape. "Queen Hell" is evidently Hel/Hela, and the text depicts her as Queen in a Christian underworld. Indicating that the Christianized Norse people had not stopped believing in her.
The Marvel Comics character Valkyrie was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema, first appearing in "The Avengers" vol. 1 #83 (December 1970). Her real name is Brunnhilde, and she is loosely based on Brynhildr the Valkyrie, depicted in the Nibelungenlied (late twelfth century or early thirteenth century) and the Völsunga saga (thirteenth century).
Hilda Ellis Davidson (1914-2006) was an academic and folklorist, who studied Celtic and Germanic mythologies, and noticed several similarities and connections between them. She viewed Hel/Hela as a probable equivalent/counterpart to the Irish goddesses Badb ("Crow" or "Battle Crow") and The Morrígan ("phantom queen" or "great queen"). Both Celtic goddesses are associated with death, with war, with death on the battlefield, with destiny, with prophecy, and with warnings of future doom. Davidson suggested that all three goddesses represent "the fierce destructive side of death, with a strong emphasis on its physical horrors."
In the "Gesta Danorum" (thirteenth century) by Saxo Grammaticus (1160-1220), Hel/Hela seems to be identified with Proserpina, the Roman goddess of death and the underworld. Saxo called her Proserpina as she prepares to claim the soul of Baldr. Proserpina is typically identified with Persephone, the Greek goddess of death and the Underworld.
In Danish folklore from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, there is mention of Helhest (Hel horse), a magical three-legged horse, which roams freely and spreads death, illness, and the plague. Jacob Grimm (1785-1863), a German philologist and mythologist, suggested that the horse is the steed of the goddess Hel/Hela, and that the legend could be traced back to Norse mythology.
Though most people think the Duran Duran Rio t-shirt worn by Banner may link to the scene when Hulk fights the Wolf (Hungry like the Wolf), it is also possible that it links to Dr. Durand-Durand in Barbarella (1968), from whom Duran Duran got their name. He is the "Mad" (Angry) "Scientist" (speaks for itself) who "creates a weapon that could destroy humanity" (himself).
Hel/Hela seems to be depicted in the "Old English Gospel of Nicodemus", a Christian text from the eleventh century. In the text, a feminine personification of Hell (called "Seo hell" in the text) engages in a flyting (An Anglo-Saxon practice, where two rivals exchange insults and mock each other, often in verse) with Satan. Seo hell commands Satan to leave her realm. The female figure is thought to be the old Germanic goddess, apparently still familiar to the Christianized Anglo-Saxons of the eleventh century.
Hel/Hela seems to be depicted in numerous bracteates (a type of jewelry) from the Migration Period (fourth to sixth century A.D.), predating her appearances in written texts. Some of them depict her as a woman holding a scepter, and preparing to confront or welcome a horseman who enters her realm. Others depict Hel/Hela greeting the dying Baldr.
There are two moments of foreshadowing for the Hulk showing up (other than the movie trailers and posters). When Thor first arrives on Asgard with the dragon head, it's blood is green and purple, common Hulk colors. Then, when he visits New York City with Loki in street clothes, he is wearing a green t-shirt and a purple t-shirt, another nod to the Hulk's colors.
The "Sonatorrek" ("the irreparable loss of sons") is a tenth century poem by Egill Skallagrímsson (904 to 990 A.D.), and identifies Hel/Hela with death. The poem was written to record Egill's grief and suicidal thoughts, after his son Böðvar drowned at sea. Egill reports that remorseless Hel/Hela has taken his son, and that he eagerly waits for his own death.
The Ynglinga saga (thirteenth century) by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) depicts the lives, reigns, and deaths of the legendary kings of the House of Ynglings. Hel/Hela appears in the saga to claim the souls of kings who failed to die in battle. When Dyggvi the Brave dies of illness, the saga reports that he becomes Hel/Hela's new spouse.
When Skurge (Karl Urban) introduces his guns, he says he got them in Texas and named them Des and Troy which becomes destroy. The Dallas Cowboys have a retired Hall of Fame quarterback named Troy Aikman and a former wide receiver, Dez Bryant.
In this movie, Thor finds himself on a trash planet where he becomes a gladiator. Incidentally, Kurt Russell who played Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), starred in Soldier (1998) as Todd 3465, a futuristic commando who is left for dead on a trash planet. Connie Nielsen, who co-starred in that movie as Sandra, starred opposite Russell Crowe in Gladiator (2000) for which Russell Crowe won an Oscar as Maximus, a betrayed Roman General who enters the arena as a gladiator, as he seeks revenge upon the slain Roman Emperor's evil son who assassinated his father. Russell Crowe and Connie Nielsen entered the DC Extended Universe: Crowe as Jor-El in Man of Steel (2013), and Nielsen as Hippolyta in Wonder Woman (2017), parents of Superman and Wonder Woman, respectively.
When she first appears, Hela summons a sword in her left hand and tells Thor and Loki to kneel. Thor then throws his hammer at her and she catches it with her right hand and destroys it. After that, her sword disappears as she uses both hands to make her crown appear then causes two swords to appear, one in each hand.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) meeting Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), and later Hela (Cate Blanchett), was originally to be set in New York City, but Director Taika Waititi felt the setting wasn't right for a dying Odin, and re-shot the sequence in a field in Norway, which he felt was a better setting for the Norse gods to meet. The original footage (shot in Brisbane, Australia) can be seen in the July 22 "offical trailer" in the second shot of the trailer.
Thor gets Loki to remove his Odin disguise by throwing his hammer and grabbing Loki with his hammer hand, so that the hammer would return to his hand and crush Loki unless he removed his enchantment. This came from a Walter Simonson Thor comic story where Thor realized Loki had put him under a love spell.
Tom Hiddleston explains that since Thor: The Dark World (2013), "Loki has devoted most of his efforts to narcissistic self-glorification, not so much on good governance. Loki has always tested the limits of his power and the boundaries placed upon him. He doesn't just stick his finger in the electrical plug socket, he burns the house down. And now he has to deal with the consequences."
During the final battle after Thor's right eye is damaged, and missing, he lands on the bridge in full God mode (also known as Odinforce/Thorforce) with only his left one glowing. This was changed in the trailer, presumably to not spoil it.
After Heimdall protects escaping Asgardians in a forest, he leads them to a cave for safety. The accompanying instrumental theme heard comes from Stargate SG-1 (1997) for the Asgard, an alien race who also protects Earth from otherworldly threats. The Stargate and the Bifröst, which Heimdall guards and Hela seeks, are both portals to other worlds.
When Hela breaks apart the ceiling of the Asgard palace to reveal the true past of her conquests at Odin's side, one of the murals shows Hela wielding Mjölnir, the hammer which was Thor's weapon until she destroyed it at her return. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the only characters who could wield Mjölnir were Thor, Odin, Vision, and Hela. (Captain America did manage to shift it once.)
The song that plays during the opening and final battles (Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song") references Valhalla, the hall located in Asgard where those fallen in battle are carried by Valkyries and laid to rest until called upon by Odin in Ragnarök. In this movie, they are ironically called upon by Hela to begin Ragnarök.
This film has irony affecting Thor and his siblings. Thor is The God Of Thunder, yet he gets electrocuted, Loki is The God Of Mischief, yet gets tricked by Thor, and Hela being The Goddess Of Death, dies.
In a deleted scene featured on the home video and digital releases of this movie titled "Execution", Michael Rooker makes a surprise, uncredited cameo as Yondu, as he interrupts Skurge (Karl Urban) from executing one of the Asgard women that Hela has ordered for execution. This is a joke, due to his death in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) and all Yondu does is ask where Kevin is. He is referring to Producer Kevin Feige to presumably talk about his death in the previously mentioned movie.
Hela never needed the sword of Heimdel, as she had two ways to travel. One, the staff of Odin can be used to launch the Bifröst Bridge, and two, the Tesseract, also known as the Infinity Stone of space. She walked right by it in Odin's Vault of Treasures, and even remarks as she walks by stating "interesting". Could have transported her and her legions anywhere.
When Hela (Cate Blanchett) is looking at Odin's (Sir Anthony Hopkins') treasures, she sees Surtur's horned helmet and remarks, "Hmmm, smaller than I thought it would be". This is an ironic statement because when Surtur shows up again, he is huge, even bigger than before.
It has become typical for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to be tazed and/or his face squished against a glass in all of his movies so far. In Thor (2011), he is in the field after first landing, and Darcy (Kat Dennings) hits him with her tazer. After that, he is in the hospital being held back by orderlies and security , he gets hit with a powerful sedative and squishes his face against the glass. In Thor: The Dark World (2013), while battling Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and passing from dimension to dimension, he lands on top of the building in London and squishes his face against the glass as he slides down. In this movie, when transported, he finds himself outside the Bifröst and landing on Sakaar. He has a net with an electric charge holding him, and where Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson) throws the obedience disc onto him. She electrocutes him, and while being transported, his face is squished against the glass on her ship. The irony is Thor is the God of Thunder, which is the sound made by lightning, and is brought down by a hand-held tazer.
Hela seeks the sword to open the Bifröst , yet in Thor (2011), Loki uses The Staff of Odin to open Bifröst, letting in The Frost Giants. Loki also travelled to Jodenheim, the frozen world of the Frost Giants using the staff, it would figure Hela would already know this, as the hidden mural on the ceiling shows Odin carrying All Fathers Staff into battle.
During the second half of the film, Thor is wearing a cape made from the drapes in Hulk's apartment. This is a subtle reference to his first meeting with Tony Stark in Avengers(2012), and his line, "Does mother know you weareth her drapes?"
In the final battle, Hela asks what Thor is the god of, and he responds with a lightning blast. In the comics, it was Gorr the God Butcher who asked him that question, and he additionally said "Thunder" when he blasted him.