The Luke Hemsworth Cameo In 'Thor: Ragnarok' Is Pure, Campy Delight
Spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok ahead. The first Thor film, directed by classically-trained actor Kenneth Branagh, was a Shakespearian tale of brotherly jealousy, family loyalty, and betrayal, amped up to a super-heroic Marvel Universe scale. With the third Thor film, Thor: Ragnarok, things seem to have come full circle. The comedic take on the God of Thunder's adventures includes its own small slice of thespian melodrama, and heightening the silliness brings some surprisingly heavy hitters to the scene, including Luke Hemsworth in a campy Ragnarok cameo.
Neatly summarizing the heavier (and appropriately goth-titled) Thor film The Dark World, Ragnarok features a play-within-a-movie called "The Tragedy Of Loki", a dramatic reenactment of Loki's heroic "death" from the second film. Nested plays are a classic Shakespearian move (think Hamlet), and here, form mocks function while catching everyone up on what's going down in Asgard. Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, returns to his homeland after a long time away, and joins Odin (really Loki in disguise) watching actors playing Thor, Loki and Odin on stage in the play.
Brief as the scene is, it's packed with cameos — Odin is played by Sam Neill, who worked with director Taika Waititi in The Hunt For The Wilderpeople, and also hails from his native New Zealand. Loki is played by Hemsworth's real-life pal Matt Damon in a black wig straight out of a high school play bargain bin. And who better to play Thor himself than Thor's real-life sibling? Luke Hemsworth, older brother of Chris, takes the role of fake-Thor in this brief, ridiculous scene.
Director Waititi says in an interview with GamesRadar+ that initially, the roles weren't even intended as cameos. "We filmed it and then we realized it might be funnier if we make it more of an in-joke, where the stars of this play were stars on earth." That's a little bit of an understatement, considering that it's an "in-joke" incorporating multiple Oscar and Golden Globe winners recognizable the world over. Meanwhile, the elder Hemsworth's been keeping busy too, playing Ashley Stubbs on hit TV series Westworld. The cult show had rave reviews during its first season, and is currently in production for its second season.
Unfortunately the Ragnarok cameo might be the only place to see Luke, for a little while at least. TMZ recently announced filming on Westworld's second season was suspended after a currently-unnamed male cast member reportedly hit his head and had to rush to a hospital to recover. It's too soon at the moment to say when and if filming will resume, or who was injured. Here's hoping Westworld fans won't have to wait too long, and that the actor has a speedy recovery.
Hemsworth's other major project, the sci-fi feature film Encounter, was slated for a Nov. 1 release date but seems to have been pushed back. A throwback to '70s and '80s special-effects heavy sci-fi films, Encounter follows a group of friends who discover a crashed spaceship in a field — with a survivor on board. As the government begins to close in, the friends race against time to try and determine the visitor's true motives. Further details about the film have been slim, with Variety noting that it's Twilight Zone-inspired, and that it's the first feature film written and directed by long-time FX wizard Paul J. Salamoff. With no firm release date announced, and given that the holiday rush is about to hit for large tentpole family films, Encounter may not make it to theaters before the new year.
Still, if you're only going to get to see Hemsworth in one role this year, a delightfully goofy cameo in one of the largest film franchises of 2017 isn't too shabby.