There's been a lot of discussion online about death in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since Thanos was told that challenging Earth was courting death at the end of 2012's AVENGERS, the MCU has been building to a climax. Right now, it looks like Phase 3 will be that climax, with movies closing out the story arcs of the first round of Avengers leading into AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.
Right now, THOR: RAGNAROK is the MCU Phase 3 movie that is actively finishing up pre-production. Chris Hemsworth is returning as Thor who, will team up with Mark Ruffalo's Hulk to face Cate Blanchett's Hela, who threatens not only Asgard, but the entire universe. In the comics, Hela is a goddess and ruler of the spirits of the dead, and the event of Ragnarok kills and resurrects the gods, so it's a fair assumption that not all the stars of the Thor movies are going to survive the runtime of the film.
Now's the time to look away. If you don't wish to be spoiled about the potential events in THOR: RAGNAROK, then stop reading now.
According to LR's sources about the developing THOR: RAGNAROK story, Hela will take Asgard and, Thor attempts to stop her. Hela lays the smackdown on the God of Thunder, destroying his hammer and straight up murdering Thor's friend Heimdall (Idris Elba).
In AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, there's a scene in the cave where Thor has visions. In that vision, it was Elba's Heimdall that warned Thor of "Hel" right before the visions of the Infinity Stones took over. Now it looks like Heimdall might literally go to Hel.
Thor and audiences probably won't take Heimdall's death well, as it happens earlier than you'd expect. But don't worry, Elba won't bow out of the MCU so easily. The final showdown with Hela will feature an army of the dead commanded by the villainess doing battle with good Valkyries from Valhalla and the souls of the righteous fallen, including Heimdall.
Yup, your favorite keeper of the rainbow bridge is going to be the body that drops to up the stakes for Thor's final solo movie. Marvel certainly seems ready to raise the stakes as it looks to close certain arcs in Phase 3 and prepare for what's to come.
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