There was a whole lot to take in from the first official Thor: Ragnarok photos, which debuted yesterday and revealed Cate Blanchett’s goth-y villain, Jeff Goldblum’s eccentric Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson’s warrior Valkyrie and, oh yeah, Thor’s super-short new haircut. Some big changes are afoot in the nine realms, and we’re not just talking about Thor’s makeover; director Taika Waititi has created a more colorful, more humorous return to Asgard, and after seeing those first photos, we’re sure you have lots of questions about the plot of Ragnarok.

And thanks to EW, we have some answers via a feature story that reveals several key plot details from the upcoming sequel, described as a “sort of road-trip film” inspired by movies like 48 HRS., Withnail and I, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The previous films had some elements of humor, but those were mostly relegated to seeing Thor as a fish out of water on Earth. For Ragnarok, Waititi wanted to really take advantage of Chris Hemsworth’s comedic skills, calling him “legitimately one of the funniest things in this film.”

As you probably gleaned from the first photos (and those hilarious shorts featuring Thor’s roommate, Daryl), Ragnarok is quite different from its predecessors in both style and tone. Waititi says his sequel is “kind of dismantling and destroying the old idea and rebuilding it in a new way that’s fresh,” adding “Everyone’s got a slightly new take on their characters, so in that way, it feels like [this is] the first Thor.”

Thor has been absent from the MCU since the end of Age of Ultron, when he decided to investigate who — or what — had been meddling with the Avengers. (And, as seen in Waititi’s short films, he’s made some progress.) Meanwhile, the end of The Dark World revealed Loki (Tom Hiddleston) impersonating Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and sitting on the throne in Asgard, while its rightful ruler had been sent off to parts unknown.

Loki’s carelessness on the throne leads to the release of Hela (Cate Blanchett), a powerful villain who had been imprisoned on Asgard for a very long time. When Thor learns of his brother’s misdeeds, he returns home and has a run-in with Hela, who promptly punts him off to Sakaar. Ruled by Jeff Goldblum’s “charming but nefarious” Grandmaster, Sakaar hosts crazy intergalactic gladiator matches, in which Thor is forced to participate — resulting in the loss of his hair and hammer.

It’s here that he encounters another new face: Valkyrie, an “elite” warrior played by Tessa Thompson. Hemsworth says Thor is a “a fanboy” for Valkyrie, who has stumbled a bit from her former glory; when they first meet, Valkyrie is drinking in a bar. Sakaar is also harboring a familiar face: Hulk. Taking a page from the Planet Hulk series, the alter-ego of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is the reigning champ of the gladiator matches. According to Ruffalo, Hulk is different from the “green rage machine” seen in previous films. On Sakaar, the actor says, Hulk’s “got a swagger. He’s like a god.”

And that’s when the film turns into a road movie, as Thor and Hulk team up to stop Hela and restore Odin to his rightful throne — which involves a brief detour to New York, as teased in the post-credits scene from Doctor Strange.

More details from Thor: Ragnarok are sure to be revealed in the coming months, but given everything Waititi and his cast have shared so far, we can’t wait to see the first trailer and get a real sneak peek at this exciting new take on the character.

Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3.

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