During San Diego Comic-Con this summer, it was confirmed by Marvel Studios that Thor: Ragnarok would in fact incorporate story elements from the Planet Hulk comics. The studio showed off Hulk gladiator props from the film and in their presentation included Thor and Hulk in their gladiator costumes.
Ragnarok seems to have it’s fill of threats for Thor and the Hulk with villains Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Hela (Cate Blanchett), En Dwi Gast aka The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), Skurge The Executioner (Karl Urban), Surtur and Fenris Wolf.
However, with the gladiatorial sequences we could see multiple new alien races in and out of the ring, along with some that could make a return.
A couple of these aliens could be more friend than foe to the two heroes.
Director Taika Waititi is already hinting to adding Korg (pictured above) in the film, after a similar character was smashed to pieces by Thor in The Dark World. In the Planet Hulk story, Korg was a good friend to Hulk as the two competed in the gladiator ring on Sakaar.
The Dark World wasn’t the only Marvel film to tease Planet Hulk or the planet Sakaar where the story takes place. Ronan The Accuser’s alien minions in Guardians of The Galaxy happen to be certain group of Sakaarans, who in the MCU are linked to the Kree Empire’s military.
I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if they returned in Ragnarok and were connected to the Grandmaster, as it looks like the film might be heading to Sakaar after all.
We’ve expected that Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster take the place of the Red King.
Some newer alien races showing up has already been teased by some possible character descriptions that could confirm the film taking place on Sakaar.
IMDB lists Australian twin actresses Maggie McGregor and Sophia McGregor (Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) as playing “twin Sakaaran citizens”, this seemingly would confirm planet Sakaar as one of the Marvel locations in the film.
It’s not a smoking-gun, but Marvel has already established that Sakaar exists in the cinematic universe.
The twins are unlikely to look like the Sakaarans above but more likely the humanoid inhabitants like The Sakaaran Imperials and The Shadow People, we’ve actually seen these two alien races already in previous concept art.
Marvel Studios concept artist Josh Nizzi (Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War) posted a bunch of unused concept art from Thor: The Dark World on his official website, revealing a bunch of alien characters that never made the film.
His concept art for the film included concept work for the heroine Valkyrie, who is being played by Tessa Thompson in Ragnarok. So, some of his work could more than likely carry over into the third film like it has with Valkyrie.
A bunch of the characters are labelled as Marauders concepts, but some were clearly linked to the Hulk and more importantly hinting Planet Hulk.
Caiera The Oldstrong is a resident of the planet Sakaar and one of The Shadow People.
Oldstrong is also a key character in the Planet Hulk story as she is an ally of Hulk’s during the overthrowing of the Red King, the two fall in love and have a child together. She also plays a role within the World War Hulk comics, where Hulk returns to Earth with his own army looking to get revenge on The Avengers.
Another Hulk and Planet Hulk reference is the Kaifi Marauder, the family name of Elloe Kaifi one of Hulk’s freed band of gladiators and one of The Sakaaran Imperials, not be confused with the Sakaarans from Guardians of The Galaxy.
Another Hulk alien represented in the artwork is a Sagittarian named Jalin, who was an operative of Thanos. I have a feeling Marvel had intentions to include more links to Thanos in The Dark World and then abandoned them for whatever reason. I could see them recycling the character and using him as a possible spy for Thanos on Sakaar.
The next three aliens include Korbinite warrior which is likely a nod to Marvel hero Beta Ray Bill (their original homeworld was destroyed by Surtur), along with Rigellian colonizer Tana Nile and Deonist K’rll The Soul-Eater.
I feel like these aliens, excluding Jalin, would more likely be in the gladiator ring along with Thor and Hulk.
Then again, who knows if Taika Waititi will include the bulk of these characters or their designs, we’ll have to wait and see.