Each installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe claims it will stand out from all the others, but based on early buzz about Thor: Ragnarok, those words ring true with the third solo Thor adventure. One element that reportedly makes the film stand out is its sense of fun and whimsy, thanks in due part to embracing iconic Jack Kirby comics from the '60s.
"1960s Jack Kirby was our inspiration," production designer Dan Hennah told Marvel.com. "I've read Jack Kirby comics since I was 15 years old. So for me it was fantastic and to really get deeply into it, I was always just influenced by this big star of the comics."
While Ragnarok might not have mimicked Kirby's images exactly, the spirit of the icon can be felt throughout the film's entire aesthetic.
"Now our set design becomes another world, you have to analyze how he got his shapes, what they wore, what was put on them, how he used them," Hennah detailed of incorporating Kirby's aesthetics. "You know, it doesn't look anything like Jack Kirby, but it does have the influence. So that's really cool for me to find something—which is the process to design—finding things, subconscious things."
The films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have explored various realms, dimensions and planets, but Ragnarok marks the first time audiences will see the iconic Sakaar.
"That was really a Jack Kirby influence and Mayes Rubio—who's costume designer—took the ball we had and ran with it as well," Hennah admitted. "So we sort of were on the same page from day one in terms of the Sakaarian look; the people, the concept of Sakaar."
The production attempted to use real-world inspiration for some sequences, but that wasn't quite ambitious enough for Ragnarok.
"The early concept work that I inherited was largely Roman based gladiatorial and it's been done so often that the sandals have worn out, you know," the designer confessed. "It's time for something new and so we sort of went all alien with it. We toyed with a lot of different concepts, but we ended up with one where the arena itself is surrounded by bleachers which have standing up bleachers, not sitting down."
You can check out Thor: Ragnarok when it hits theaters November 3.