Audiences going to see Thor: Ragnarok this fall have spotted a balding man with a goatee behind Cate Blanchette’s character, Hela. Most fans of the comics will recognize this as Skurge the Executioner, played by Karl Urban.
Urban has had a number of roles related to science fiction and nerd culture over the years. He has played Judge Dredd, Dr. McCoy in Star Trek, Vaako in The Chronicles of Riddick, Detective John Kennex in a short-lived series Almost Human, Julius Caesar in Xena: Warrior Princess and Eomer in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Cate Blanchett was also in The Lord of the Rings as Galadriel. How funny is it that these two would share the same screen again so many years after LOTR? Both of them had significantly more hair in their previous roles. There’s also some memes going out pointing that much out. Overall, it seems we are seeing a trend of actors who’ve worked together in other successful franchises being hired to work together in this film.
Who Is Skurge the Executioner?
There’s a few short shots of Urban’s character firing off some weapon, and him standing background to Blanchett’s character. Other than that, we know very little about his character from the trailers. So who is he, really?
In the comic books, Skurge wielded a magical double bladed axe, and with it became a notable soldier in battles against the Storm Giants in defense of Asgard. After falling in love with Amora the Enchantress, she used him in a number of her schemes. His alliance with the Enchantress makes him an enemy of Thor on many occasions.
His moment of redemption comes when the Enchantress rejects him to pursue Heimdall. Feeling used and rejected, Skurge decides to join Thor and a few other heroes on a mission to Hel to rescue some souls trapped there. Firstly, he uses his axe to destroy a ship of the dead. This ends up delaying Ragnarok, but destroys his axe in the process. Then when Hela, the ruler of that realm, sends her troops out to fight the warriors, Skurge holds the bridge of Gjallerbru, a strategic point between her troops and the escaping warriors. None of Hela’s demons were able to pass him as he mowed them all down with an M-16 rifle, thus affording the other heroes time to flee. However, Hela’s forces eventually overran him and killed him.
His honorable death was remembered by the survivors of the mission. This was also the deed that granted him entrance into Valhalla, a place of honor and sort of paradise for warriors who battled valiantly until the end.
What Will This Mean In Thor: Ragnarok?
Skurge has quite a story. There’s certainly more story than can be told given all that’s going on in Thor: Ragnarok. There’s connections between Valkyrie, the Enchantress, and Skurge. The trailers haven’t revealed what these connections are, if there are any at all. It’ll be interesting to see how the writers approach the story of Skurge, weaving it into what Hela is doing.
Perhaps Skurge in this film loves Hela, and is willing to bring ruin to Asgard for her? Yet, Urban’s character has the two M-16s in that first trailer, bringing the imagery of Skurge’s last stand Gjallerbru to top of mind.
Comic fans will note that last stand was in an effort against Hela and her forces. So what happens between the two where Skurge would turn his back on Hela and decide to fight against her?
We’ll all find out soon enough when Thor: Ragnarok comes out in theaters on November 3rd.