Going into new Marvel movie Thor: Ragnarok, fans will be expecting to see some pretty famous faces.
After all, in a cast boasting the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba, you’d be hard-pressed not to spot a star or two – and that’s not even mentioning the much-trailed cameo for Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer superhero Doctor Strange (of which, more below).
But when they actually sit down to watch the new movie, they might be surprised to see some OTHER well-known faces hidden among the cast, appearing early in the movie for a hilarious (and very meta) scene involving Hiddleston’s Loki and Hemsworth’s Thor.
Look away now if you haven’t seen the film or want to avoid spoilers…
Still here? Then you’ll be among the surprised and delighted viewers who saw the scene in Thor: Ragnarok when Loki (disguised as Anthony Hopkins’ Odin) put on a play about his own supposed death in the previous film, with the Asgardian actor portraying the God of Mischief non other than… Matt Damon.
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Meanwhile, actor-Odin was played by Jurassic Park star Sam Neill (who previously appeared in Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi’s film Hunt for the Wilderpeople), while Thor’s avatar was brought to life by perhaps the most inspired casting choice yet – Chris Hemsworth’s real-life brother Luke Hemsworth (not to be confused with Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth), best known for his role in HBO series Westworld.
“That was just through contacts,” Waititi told RadioTimes.com of how he pulled off the hilarious casting coup.
“If Loki was gonna write a play about his death, then he would want to get the most talented actors he could, the biggest stars of Asgardian theatre, to come and do this thing.”
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“And incidentally, is it the first film since Jurassic Park that Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill have both appeared in the same movie? This is cross-universe stuff here.”
Neill wasn’t the only one of Waititi’s former stars to turn up among the cast, with Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Rachel House playing a key role as an assistant to Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster and the same film’s Cohen Holloway in another small role.
“You know, I often put in a lot of my actors from my other films... that for me makes it more of my film.” Waititi explained of the castings.
“It makes me feel more grounded, and a bit more relaxed.”
Meanwhile, Waititi himself voiced and performed motion capture for his alien gladiator character Korg, portrayed as “a Maori guy from New Zealand” in the director’s own words and a comedic highlight throughout the film.
As for Doctor Strange’s cameo, well, that was a bit more straightforward, with the Thor team-up teased in one of the post-credits scenes from the earlier Cumberbatch movie – though as Waititi revealed, the finished version of the post-credits scene (which sees Thor and Doctor Strange share a drink and decide to work together) ended up being EVER SO SLIGHTLY different, if you’re really paying attention.
“It is the same scene, we shot it at the same time,” Waititi explained.
“We actually shot that for our film, then we constructed that scene for the end of Doctor Strange from our footage.
“But [we] made it a LITTLE different, just because we didn’t want to give away too much in Doctor Strange before we’d edited the film and everything.”
With all this, PLUS the traditional Marvel Stan Lee cameo (in this film, he plays a gladiatorial barber, of all things), it’s fair to say that Thor: Ragnarok may be the most star-studded, cameo-stuffed superhero movie ever to make it to screen.
Well, at least until next year, when Avengers: Infinity War is sure to knock it back into second place.
This article was originally published in October 2017