Thor may not be the most interesting personality in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he’s apparently one of its busiest, considering that we haven’t seen the god of thunder since the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. So what, exactly, has he been up to?
When last we saw the Odinson, he was explaining to Tony Stark and Captain America what should have already been glaringly obvious to them: someone is trying to accomplish something involving the Infinity Stones. You’d think that after having dealt with the Tesseract (the Space Stone) and the Mind Stone that was hidden in Loki’s staff before becoming a part of the Vision, the Avengers might have asked themselves, “What’s up with all these MacGuffins, man?” And yet, they did not.
In a surprising moment of mental clarity (no doubt inspired by his encounter with the Reality Stone in Thor: The Dark World), Thor teleports into space to investigate what the hell has been going on in the cosmic sections of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Thor’s absence from Captain America: Civil War suggested that he was a bit too busy to be bothered with Steve and Tony’s tiff, but with new information pouring out from the set of Thor: Ragnarok, we’ve got a pretty solid idea of just what Thor’s been up to. Turns out, he’s been traveling. A lot.
Watching the teaser and trailer for Ragnarok, it’s easy to get a little bit lost trying to figure out just when and where everything takes place in the movie’s story—especially in relation to all the other things happening in the MCU. According to Ragnarok producer Brad Winderbaum, the movie takes place roughly around the same time as Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Turns out, Thor’s been busy traveling through space, hunting for the person he suspects is bringing all of the Infinity Stones together. His quest eventually leads to his being captured in Muspelheim, a fiery realm that’s one of nine controlled by the demon Surtur.
Production designer Dan Hannah described Muspelheim as a Dyson sphere-like construct that’s build around a dying star—the source of the realm’s energy.
Much like his friend from work, the Hulk’s been away traveling for some time when Ragnarok picks up. But while Thor’s been off galavanting on his own, the Hulk was apparently flung into the far reaches of space thanks to a conveniently placed wormhole.
In his final Age of Ultron scene, the Hulk is aboard a quinjet by himself that flies off into the sky despite Black Widow’s demands he return. It’s casually hinted that the quinjet might have crashed, but Ragnarok explains that soon after making it into space, the aircraft was gobbled up by a wormhole and spat out somewhere near Sakaar, the gladiator planet controlled by the Grandmaster.
Eventually, Thor makes it off Muspelheim and back to Asgard where he reunites with Odin, who is actually Thor’s brother Loki in disguise. Loki took their father’s place at the end of Thor: The Dark World and, presumably, has been impersonating him ever since.
While Loki’s been enjoying his time as a false king, though, he’s also learned that there was much more to Odin’s responsibilities than the Allfather led anyone to believe, and Loki isn’t equipped to deal with the threats that his father once handled.
Long distance relationships are difficult to maintain, and the one between Thor and Jane Foster is no exception. Part of the reason the pair split is because Natalie Portman bowed out of the MCU, but within the logic of the movies themselves, you’ve got to remember that Thor and Jane went ages without really seeing or hearing from one another.
By the time Ragnarok fully kicks into gear, Thor’s something of a free agent, but according to Chris Hemsworth, the movie will have some “respectable fun” explaining how Thor and Jane’s relationship met its end.
Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters November 3.