Thor: The Dark World is one of the MCU's most important movies, actually

To Infinity and beyond; Thor: The Dark World's ending and post-credits scene makes it much more important to the MCU in hindsight.
Thor: The Dark World (2013). Photo by Jay Maidment - © 2013 - Marvel Studios
Thor: The Dark World (2013). Photo by Jay Maidment - © 2013 - Marvel Studios /

The God of Thunder returned for his second solo silver screen outing when Thor: The Dark World graced movie theaters in 2013. It was the second movie in Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, meaning that - much like Iron Man 3 - it was a direct sequel to the character's previous movie while also taking into account the impact of The Avengers.

The Thor franchise probably felt the pressure of acknowledging the 2012 superhero crossover movie more than any. Not only was Thor a part of it, but Loki was its primary villain, while Dr. Erik Selvig had his mind corrupted by the God of Mischief, too. The Dark World also had to explain why Thor never reunited with Jane Foster when he returned to Earth in The Avengers despite telling her he would in the previous Thor movie. It pulled it off (albeit with varying degrees of success) and introduced a new threat for the heroes of Asgard to tackle along the way in Malekith and the Dark Elves.

Thor: The Dark World is one of the MCU's lesser-appreciated movies, but also one of its most forgotten-about, too. If you would like to brush up on your knowledge of what happened in it, or you just happened to watch it for the first time, let's dive into its ending and what it all means. If you have seen it, you might have forgotten that its post-credits scene is one of the MCU's most important.

Loki is alive and well, but what happened to Odin?

Loki didn't play a major role in Thor: The Dark World in terms of runtime, but he did play a pivotal one. The God of Mischief helped the Dark Elves find their way past the guards in their bid to track down the Aether, but that ultimately resulted in the death of his mother Frigga, which broke him. He then teamed up with Thor and Jane Foster to defeat the Dark Elves, manipulating the baddies into thinking he had betrayed his brother again so that they could get the upper hand. But when they did, and Loki proved how selfless he could be, he was mortally wounded... or was he.

Loki in Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World (2013). Photo by Jay Maidment - © 2013 - Marvel Studios /

It turned out that it was all an illusion, because even though Loki died in Thor's arms, he didn't die. Later in the film, we see his trickery as a random soldier ends up in the Dark Elves' homeworld where Loki died. That random soldier then reports back to Odin that his son has died in battle. Except he isn't dead, because it turns out that this soldier was actually Loki in disguise and he has somehow taken Odin's place on the throne.

It's important to note that, even with his trickery, Loki is a somewhat changed man. He could have killed Thor at any opportunity when posing as Odin, but he allowed him to hold onto the hammer, relinquish his duty as King of Asgard, and return to Earth to find Jane Foster. He even implied that he was proud of him. Granted, he could have been telling his brother everything he wanted to hear in order to get him to leave, but he also could have killed him at any moment, and didn't.

He also hasn't killed Odin either, as we learn in sequel Thor: Ragnarok. In his desperation to sit on the throne, he has assumed his father's position, posing as him when the real Odin is... on Earth in a care home.

The Thor: The Dark World mid-credits scene highlights the power of the Infinity Stones

The first post-credits scene of Thor: The Dark World features Volstagg and Lady Sif, who meet with The Collector (portrayed by Benicio del Toro), to present him with the Aether. Confirming that it is indeed an Infinity Stone, they tell him that they are entrusting him with it as they already had the Tesseract in their care on Asgard and didn't believe it would be wise to have two Infinity Stones so close together. The Collector then remarks that with one stone down, there are five more to go.

The Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..L to R: Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and The Collector/Taneleer Tivan (Benicio Del Toro)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2014 /

There are a couple of things to note here; the first being that this the first appearance for The Collector in the MCU. The character goes on to play a recurring role in the MCU, making his first significant appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy. This scene appears to imply that he would like to get his hands on all of the Infinity Stones in order to harness their power. While things don't necessarily play out that way, it does foreshadow Thanos' arrival and storyline.

One of the focal elements of the Infinity Saga is the fear that someone might unite the Infinity Stones and weak havoc by unleashing their power. And after seeing how powerful one of the ones is (the Aether/Reality Stone in this movie, the Tesseract/Space Stone in Captain America: The First Avenger), that is a scary thought. That makes Thor: The Dark World far more important in retrospect, as it's the first movie that presented us with the possibility (or the reality) of that happening.

Thor returns for Jane in the post-credits scene

After Thor returned to Asgard, Jane Foster was nervous that history would repeat itself. The last time she had crossed paths with Thor, the God of Thunder told her that he would return for her; but a Bifrost disaster, out-of-control realms, and an alien invasion in New York separated them for over two years. In those two years, Thor never stopped thinking about her, but he didn't return either. And Jane was terrified it was going to happen again. Until the thunder rattled overhead.

Thor was beamed down to Earth through the Bifrost and the pair reunited with a romantic kiss that felt like the fitting end to any romcom movie. Finally, they could be together; finally, they could just be happy without having to worry about saving the world or being separated again. Until he's needed for the next Avnegers mission, that is.

Jane Foster and Thor reunite in Thor: The Dark World.
Thor: The Dark World (2013). Photo by Jay Maidment - © 2013 - Marvel Studios /

If you're wondering why you don't actually see Jane's face in that final kiss scene, it's because Natalie Portman wasn't on-set to film the reshoots for that particular scene. As a result, Chris Hemsworth's wife, Elsa Pataky, replaced her in the final shot of the movie, donning Jane's clothing and a wig to make it possible. Movie magic for a magical scene, indeed.

The very final scene is purely for comedic purposes, as it sees the Frost Beast that was accidentally brought through one of Malekith's portals go wild in London, chasing some birds and climbing onto shipping containers. I guess somebody sent it home at some point.

What to watch after Thor: The Dark World

Thor returns in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..L to R: Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015 /

Thor: The Dark World is the second movie to feature the God of Thunder in a leading capacity, but it's also part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the second movie in Phase Two. That makes choosing which movie to watch next an interesting discussion, because the answer is always going to be different depending on where you want to take your MCU journey.

With that in mind, here are the titles you can watch after Thor: The Dark World if you're planning on watching the whole MCU, or if you'd just prefer to watch Thor's story instead.

Any other Phase Two movie: Thor: The Dark World is part of the second phase of the MCU, meaning that you can carry on your MCU journey by watching any other film in this chapter. With the exception of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, which need to be watched towards the end of the phase, all of these movies can be watched in any order.

However, if you would prefer to watch the Phase Two movies in release order, here's how you can do that:

Avengers: Age of Ultron: Thor makes his next appearance after The Dark World in Avengers: Age of Ultron. As the title implies, the MCU's Mightiest Heroes reunite to take on a new threat named Ultron; an incredibly intelligent artificial intelligence system that seeks to remake the world in his image. While the God of Thunder doesn't have the focus the same way he did in the first Avengers film, he is one of the primary characters here and an integral part of the battle against Ultron.

Thor: Ragnarok: If you would prefer to just jump straight into the next solo chapter in the Thor franchise, you can pick up with the God of Thunder by watching this 2017 film. It's very different to its predecessors, with director Taika Waititi opting for a more comedic tone, but it does feature the fallout from the major Thor: The Dark World cliffhanger, giving answers in regards to Loki and Odin. If you do decide to just carry on with Thor's story, I definitely recommend watching Avengers: Age Of Ultron before this one as there is a subplot involving a different character that you do require some context from that movie for.

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