The Thanos Connection: How The Grandmaster Could Link ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ To ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Now that all the excitement over Marvel Studios and Disney’s has begun to die down, it’s time to look forward and see what else the exciting Phase 3 of the has in store for us.

Next up is the incredible looking Doctor Strange in November, but next year brings the third instalment in the Thunder God’s franchise, as lands November 3, 2017 in the United States.

Chris Hemsworth will be Thunder God-ing it up in 'Thor: Ragnarok'

Chris Hemsworth will be Thunder God-ing it up in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

A ton of exciting cast members were announced recently for Ragnarok — from the return of Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Tom Hiddleston as Loki, to the introduction of Cate Blanchett as Hela, Karl Urban as Skurge, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie.

Oh yes, and Jeff Goldblum joins the MCU as the Grandmaster — also known as En Dwi Gast — one of the ancient and manipulative Elders of the Universe.

The Grandmaster

Jeff Goldblum is set to portray the Grandmaster in 'Thor: Ragnarok'

Jeff Goldblum is set to portray the Grandmaster in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Some background first: Grandmaster is one of the immortal Elders of the Universe — beings who have existed since the very beginnings of the Marvel Universe. They’re the last remaining members of their respective races, each hailing from one of the first humanoid races to evolve in the galaxy after the creation of the universe.

Each Elder has found a way to achieve immortality, and each has their own personal quirks to go along with their longevity. The Collector/Taneleer Tivan — who we met in , portrayed by Benicio del Toro — is one of the Elders, and he has a penchant for collecting things (funnily enough).

So, as you might’ve guessed from his name, the Grandmaster likes playing games. He’s spent most of his life traveling the universe in search of amusement by playing games, usually those with pretty high stakes, and he’s mastered those of many different eras and civilizations. He’s not necessarily an antagonist, but there have been occasions where he’s set heroes against each other for his own amusement, or to achieve a greater purpose.

The Thanos Connection

The Collector explains the Infinity Stones in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

The Collector explains the Infinity Stones in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

The first Elder of the MCU, the Collector, has already been closely linked to the Infinity Gems (or Infinity Stones, as they’re called in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

He was briefly in possession of an Infinity Stone — the Power Stone — in Guardians of the Galaxy, and the post-credits of Thor: The Dark World revealed that Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) left the Aether — a.k.a. the Reality Stone — in his possession.

Given that the events of The Dark World are assumed to take place prior to those of Guardians of the Galaxy, wasit’s now unsure as to whether or not the Collector still has the Reality Stone, as his base was all but destroyed in the Power Stone explosion inadvertently caused by Carina (Ophelia Lovibond).

But the Collector isn’t the only Elder who has strong links to the Infinity Gems — in the comic books from which the MCU characters are drawn, the Grandmaster was also once in possession of one of the Infinity Gems.

The Grandmaster with the Mind Gem — 'Thanos Quest'

The Grandmaster with the Mind Gem — ‘Thanos Quest’

In his case it was the Mind Gem which the Grandmaster had in his possession. So what happened to it? It was taken from him. By who? I hear you ask. Well, by Thanos of course.

Thanos retrieves the Mind Gem from the Grandmaster during Thanos Quest, when he was travelling throughout the universe gathering the six Infinity Gems (this will become important later).

The Grandmaster bets the Mind Gem on the outcome of a game, which Thanos wins by being sneaky and also killing the Grandmaster for good measure, because why not? (It’s alright, he comes back later on, they always do).

Thanos retrieves the Mind Gem — 'Thanos Quest'
Thanos retrieves the Mind Gem — ‘Thanos Quest’

What Does This Mean For The MCU?

As always, it could mean nothing. Many elements from the comic books have already been dropped or altered for adaptation into the Marvel movies, and the MCU version of the Mind Gem has already been seen multiple times.

It’s the Stone which once lived within the scepter given to Loki by Thanos in The Avengers, from which Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch gained their powers in the post-credits sequence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and ended up embedded safely in the head of new Avenger Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The Mind Stone in Vision's forehead — 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'.

The Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead — ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’.

But this could give a clue as to why the Grandmaster is popping up now in the MCU. Phase 3 is shuffling all the Avengers towards Avengers: Infinity War, in their respective movies and the ensemble pieces. The same can be assumed for Thor: Ragnarok.

How the Infinity Stones came to be housed in their individual containers is a matter yet to be clarified, but it’s not unlikely that Thanos was the one who converted the Mind Stone into a weapon for Loki and the Chitauri to use to conquer Earth. Regardless, Thanos gave Loki the scepter which housed the Mind Stone sometime shortly before the events of The Avengers, which means that the Big Blue (or Purple, depending on who’s drawing him) was in possession of the Mind Stone at this time.

Loki's scepter could control minds — 'The Avengers'
Loki’s scepter could control minds — ‘The Avengers’

If the MCU do borrow from the comics, it’s entirely possible that Thanos came into possession of the Mind Stone in the first place by stealing it from — that’s right — the Grandmaster.

Does This Mean We’ll See An Infinity Stone In Ragnarok?

Could we see Thanos taking the Mind Stone from the Grandmaster in flashback form in Thor: Ragnarok? Will the backstory of the Mind Stone be explored? Or will the Grandmaster just be another player thrown into the mix to make things difficult for Thor and the gang when Ragnarok comes a-knocking?

The inclusion of another Elder of the Universe is certainly an interesting one, and the presence of the Grandmaster could have bigger implications for the road to Avengers: Infinity War if the history between the Elder and Thanos is allowed to play out in the MCU.

Thanos challenges Grandmaster — 'Thanos Quest'
Thanos challenges Grandmaster — ‘Thanos Quest’

Perhaps the most interesting part of all this is that Thanos Quest — the limited series in which Thanos takes the Mind Gem from the Grandmaster — functioned as the set up for The Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, and Infinity Crusade narrative arcs of the comic books. Those names should be recognisable to you, as it’s likely that one or all of them will form the backdrop to Avengers: Infinity War (the clue is in the name).

If Marvel Studios wanted to include this plot element in Ragnarok, all they’d have to do would be to substitute the Mind Stone for one of the as-yet undiscovered Gems (the Time Stone and the Soul Stone), and have Thanos show up to retrieve it from the Grandmaster. This could potentially play into the Ragnarok storyline, perhaps even contributing to the apocalyptic event itself.

As always though, we’ll just have to wait and see what games the Grandmaster is playing when Thor: Ragnarok thunders into cinemas at the end of next year

Thor: Ragnarok arrives November 3, 2017.

What do you think the Grandmaster’s presence in Thor: Ragnarok means? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Tags

MP Staff Writer. Superheroes, comic books, Marvel and DC, film, sci-fi, video games.