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San Diego Comic-Con 2017 has only just begun, and for Marvel fans the highlight will surely be Saturday's Marvel Studios panel at Hall H. But out on the floor, fans are already realizing that there are spoilers a-plenty. Take, for example, the Sideshow Collectibles booth. Earlier it was revealed that a Loki model drops a tantalizing hint about the sorcerer's role in Thor: Ragnarok. But it turns out that isn't the only spoiler revealed by the Sideshow models.
Behold the 'Roadworn Thor'
Another interesting collectible was a model simply called 'Roadworn Thor.' Scouting raound Sideshow Collectibles, MCUExchange realized there was something strange about this particular figure. Take a look:
Incredibly, the Odinson appears to be carrying the head of Surtur, a powerful fire demon, on his back. We first learned that Surtur would be appearing in the film back at SDCC 2016, where the audience at Hall H were given a glimpse of concept art. In Norse mythology, Surtur is a demon who comes from the south, associated with flames and fire. He plays a major role in the epic poem Völuspá, which tells the tale of Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. In Journey Into Mystery #97, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby adapted the character for #Marvel, revealing him as the ruler of one of the Nine Realms — Muspelheim, the Realm of Fire. There, he was known as the Father of All Cataclysms.
The first trailer for #ThorRagnarok teased that the Odinson's tale would end with him trapped in Muspelheim, chained over a lava lake. It looks as though Marvel has a very different story in mind, though; MCUExchange spotted one more detail. They revisited Marvel's Phase 3 sneak peak, and realized that we'd already seen Thor with Surtur's head on his back. We just hadn't realized it!
What's more, in this clip Thor is still wielding Mjolnir. That means he must face — and slay — Surtur early on in the film, before he encounters Hela and loses his enchanted hammer.
Unraveling The Mysteries
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor left Earth on a quest to uncover the reason the #InfinityStones were gradually being brought into play. For some reason, that quest seems set to take him to Muspelheim, where he will battle Surtur, and then go on to encounter Hela herself.
The first clue, perhaps, is found in the Norse legends themselves. It's possible that director Taika Waititi is drawing on the old legends a little more than he is the classic comics, and there Surtur is envisioned as the guard of Muspelheim. Is it possible that, in the #MCU, Surtur isn't trying to stop people getting into Muspelheim — he's trying to stop somebody escaping? If so, Thor's defeat of Surtur may in itself be what allows Hela to escape her prison, launching her devastating campaign against Asgard.
Meanwhile, there are no Norse legends that would explain why #Thor would keep Surtur's head like this. But there is a Greek one; the legend of Medusa. In Greek mythology, anyone who looked at Medusa's hideous face would turn to stone. In some legends, after she was killed the hero would take her head and carry it with him as a weapon. When under attack, the hero would simply present the head of Medusa, and their enemies would be turned to stone.
It's possible that #TaikaWaititi has actually imported some elements of Greek mythology into Thor: Ragnarok, facing the Odinson with an enemy who he literally can't look at without being defeated. That would explain how Thor is initially defeated at Muspelheim, and ends up chained over a lava lake. It would also suggest how he could ultimately fight back; he'd simply need to ensure he didn't look his enemy in the face. Having emerged triumphant, then, the Odinson would choose to take this potent weapon with him — and would thus carry Surtur's head strapped to his back.
Of course, that's only a theory. What we do now know, though, is that the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok was very cleverly edited, and it doesn't hint at the film's structure in quite the way we thought—as has been the case with most recent Marvel movies. #ChrisHemsworth's narration is misleading, because that lava lake scene most likely happens early on in the movie, and he then goes on to lose Mjolnir. #SDCC2017 has barely begun, and already we're learning a lot more spoilers than we dared to dream. Who knows what we'll learn at Hall H on Saturday?