Well, Marvel Studios has been working non-stop to keep their Cinematic Universe moving lickety-split, to the point that we’re now guaranteed more than one MCU flick in only a year. This 2017 has got to be a record, with three installments to the sprawling movie-verse they forged, each one of a different hero and genre to boot. May has “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” for sci-fi, July gets “Spider-Man: Homecoming” for urban super-heroics, and November will premiere “Thor: Ragnarok," the proposed final segment of the MCU’s “Thor ‘trilogy’” starring Chris Hemsworth. Stakes are high with a conflict that could spell a possible end to the world the God of Thunder has known.

New look for Thor

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on sale March 10, gets the lowdown on what’s new going into the swan-song of the “Thor” films, and they drop a bombshell right on the cover. Moviegoers (and Hemsworth fans perhaps) would be very familiar with the long locks of dirty blond hair of the Avenger from Asgard. Dead center on the EW cover is a totally different looking Thor, one wielding swords instead of his trusty hammer Mjolnir, and most pointedly one with short, cropped hair.

Surely there’s an element of the plot that explains the new do, but off-camera Chris mentions how “nice” it had been to no longer sit for an hour in the makeup chair. All he would say was that the changed look is akin to a rebirth for Thor.

Also featured on the EW cover, flanking new-look Thor on each side, are the new main villain of “Ragnarok,” the goddess Hela (Cate Blanchett), and Valkyrie, a new ally and touted love interest for the God of Thunder played by Tessa Thompson.

Yes, if you didn’t know, Natalie Portman isn’t coming back to reprise the original leading lady role of Jane Foster. This is also a remarkable casting choice, with the African-American Thompson portraying a white blond comic character. Director Taika Waititi says it’s a conscious decision in order to diversify the cast, according to Marvel.

Final battle

Plot details of “Thor: Ragnarok” reveal that Hela, imprisoned for thousands of years by Asgard, escapes to launch a catastrophic war on the Gods while their king Odin is missing.

She pre-emptively strikes at Thor to send him across the universe to a distant warlike planet where he unexpectedly meets a fellow Avenger, Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and is forced to fight for his life so he can return and stop the coming doom. Actually that’s one doom out of many lining up for Marvel's MCU films, but more on them in future films.

Aside from Hemsworth, also back for more are Tom Hiddleston as the untrustworthy Loki, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange (from his solo film last year).

Other new characters are Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster and Karl Urban as Skurge. Everything comes to an end for Marvel’s God of Thunder when “Thor: Ragnarok” comes to cinemas on November 3.

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