This week has brought us a bounty of first details on Taika Waititi‘s Thor: Ragnarok, from first look images to plot and character details, and it’s been a beautiful, colorful thing to behold. From the moment Marvel brought Waititi onto the project, it was clear that the studio wanted to do something different with Chris Hemsworth‘s Avenging God of Thunder, and indeed, each new reveal has only further proved how the What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople director is putting his offbeat stamp on the material. As it turns out, he’s also taking cues from a delightful source of inspiration: John Carpenter‘s Big Trouble in Little China.
Turns out the Carpenter’s action-fantasy cult classic was one of the titles Waititi referenced when he pitched Marvel on his vision for Ragnarok, and he’s using it as a reference point for how to guide Thor through his new journey. “Big Trouble in Little China was one of those films where Jack Burton is a buffoon but he’s lovable and you’re with him the entire way.” the director told EW. “I thought Thor has got to be the one you want to be with in every scene.”
On a narrative level, it makes total sense. The 1984 action film starred Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, a denim wash and mullet-sporting doofus who’s all fearless, hyper-masculine bravado, out-matched and out-witted by everyone surrounds when he gets himself tangled up in foreign culture of sorcery and warfare. Sounds a bit like a certain Asgardian king who winds up the warrior planet of Sakaar, surrounded by the likes Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), no?
If this week’s first look photos are any indication, it’s also been a bit of a visual influence on Ragnarok‘s electric, vibrant color palette — a distinct shakeup from the rich royal tones of the previous two Thor films. However, Waititi is quick to clarify that, unlike Big Trouble, and unlike most of his previous filmography, Ragnarok is not a comedy, even if he’s determined to play up Hemsworth’s comedic talents.
“It’s not really a comedy,” said Waititi. “There are some really great moments we’re going to have in the film. Knowing that it was Bruce Banner and Thor on kind of a road trip journey, that lends itself to a tone because those guys are both really funny. I was like you gotta exploit Chris’ comic abilities. He’s so good and underutilized in that department. He’s legitimately one of the funniest things in this film.”
Also starring Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba,Thor: Ragnarok opens in theaters on November 3rd.