Have you ever wondered how the artists of Marvel Studios were able to make a giant fight between two impossible beings look fairly realistic? Now that Thor: Ragnarok is headed for release on DVD and Blu-ray (pre-order here), we’re finding out all about the challenging process behind one of the most iconic scenes of the entire franchise – the gladiator contest featuring the God of Thunder and the Incredible Hulk.
In the green corner, we have a scientist who was once subjected to so much gamma radiation that he developed a Hulk side – turning into an eight-foot-six-inch bouncing rage monster when angry. Evidently, he’s been perpetually cross since the events of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, as he seems to have been in his Hulk state the whole time.
In the icy blue corner, we have Thor, the Asgardian God and heir to the throne as ruler of the Nine Realms. Granted, he doesn’t have his magic hammer, Mjolnir, when he enters the arena on Sakaar – but he can still pack a mighty punch, even if he can’t conduct lightning quite so well.
According to Jake Morrison – Marvel Studios’ Visual Effects Supervisor for Thor: Ragnarok – the way to make that whole scenario work is to choreograph a fight between two stunt people of very different heights, as he explained to ComicBook.com.
“Can you come up with a realistic fight between two individuals, which are literally impossible? The 8’6” character just isn’t something that you can find and actually rehearse or choreograph a real fight. So, trying to find a way to make that moment, ‘cause if you think about it that is almost the moment that sells the tickets for the picture. You know, it’s Thor versus Hulk, it’s the original Marvel What If…? comics.
So, we felt that, that was a moment in the film where we had to try and find a way to make it really just like a battle between two Gods, and make every single punch feel like it was an atom bomb, and male all the physics of the event feel real.
We did the [motion capture] and we cast a 4’8” stunt person as Thor, and then a 6’4” person as Hulk, to get the sort of relationship right. And then removed almost everything from the battle aside from that… You know there were different levels that would go up and down. I can’t quite remember, but there were almost sort of blades swinging around, and channels of water that you could electrocute yourself, and stuff like that.
It’s interesting to hear that in early iterations of the Thor-versus-Hulk battle, there were a number of other visual elements at play onscreen. Thankfully, the filmmakers and Visual Effects department ultimately went with a much simpler, more impactful version.
“And gradually, we stripped all that stuff back and it became clear that the interest would actually be in just a clear God versus God fight.”
This was a correct assessment, and those who’ve seen the threequel will know that the fight scene that resulted is appropriately epic in nature and certainly one of the film’s highlights.
Thor: Ragnarok is now available on Digital HD, with Blu-ray and DVD versions becoming available on March 6th.