When we first met Thor Odinson in Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 film, our favorite long-haired prince was a hot-headed buffoon. After his fish-out-of-water tale taught him humility, Thor has been evolving into a different character as his long-term arc in the MCU continues. Even Loki seemed surprised by Thor’s change in attitude in The Dark World, with Thor opting for a stealthier mission as opposed to his usual brute force tactics. By the end of the 2013 Alan Taylor sequel, Thor abdicated the throne to be with his (then-)beloved Jane Foster. Thor’s evolution continues in Taika Waititi’s threequel, as producer Brad Winderbaum tells Collider during a set visit:
[Regarding Thor’s arc] The idea of worthiness, what makes somebody worthy, what helps someone find self worth is at the core of Thor as a character. That theme remains central in this film; however in the first film where he was a petulant prince who had to learn humility, in this one he wants to become a better man and learn to accept himself as a leader, as a king, as someone who can lead Asgard.
From “petulant,” to smart and responsible, to a “leader” and “king” is the overall arc if we’re looking at the Thor films as a trilogy. It’s neat to see Thor as a team player in the Avengers films, but in Ragnarok we’ll get to see Thor lead his own band of outcasts, with himself, Hulk, Loki and Valkyrie making a fantastic foursome.
Thor has always been one to take initiative, but each of his films takes a different angle of this personality trait. Thor’s stubbornness initially ended him up in trouble in the first film, later making a heroic act in destroying the Bifrost Bridge to save his enemies the Frost Giants. The Dark World had Thor defy his own father for a greater purpose, but still denying responsibility for the throne at the end of the film. It will certainly be interesting to see where Thor ends up by the end of Ragnarok—the Russo Brothers describe him as being in a “profound” and “interesting” position by the time Avengers: Infinity War starts.
We can see what the Russos mean by that when Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3.