Karl Urban Reveals What Convinced Him To Join Thor: Ragnarok

Karl Urban reveals why he immediately signed on to play Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok after getting a call from fellow Kiwi, director Taika Waititi. Urban is a talented actor who has appeared in everything from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, to 2012’s Dredd (in which he played its titular Judge). In 2017, he joined another major franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing the former Einherjar warrior Skurge.


As the 17th film to take place in the MCU and the follow-up to 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, Ragnarok picked up with Loki masquerading as Odin as the ruler of Asgard. After banishing Heimdall, the God of Mischief anointed Skruge as guardian of the Bifrost Bridge, which he used to access everything the Nine Realms had to offer — including twin Colt Model 604s dubbed “Des” and “Troy.” Once Thor discovered Loki’s ruse, Skurge was demoted to janitor before Thor’s sister, the Goddess of Death Hela (Cate Blanchett) was unleashed upon Asgard. Skurge then aligned himself with Hela to serve his interests. While Skurge may not have enjoyed being Hela’s lackey, their time together is what attracted Urban to the role.

Related: Every Karl Urban Movie, Ranked From Worst To Best

Urban recently sat down with GQ to discuss some of his most iconic characters. While talking about Ragnarok, Urban revealed the opportunity to work with Blanchett was enough to get him to sign onto the film immediately. In fact, the actor need even read the script before accepting. Read his full quote below:

“I really just got a call from Taika out of the blue saying, ‘hey, do you wanna come and play? I’ve got this cool role of Skurge. You’d be working with Cate Blanchett.’ I’m like, sign me up. I don’t need to read anything. It was fantastic. I remember turning up to work one day on set and there’s Sam Neil, Anthony Hopkins, and just sitting around. And that, to me, was one of my favorite days. When you’re sitting around with Tony Hopkins and Sam Neil shooting the sh-t. Sam Neil was probably one of the actors that had really inspired me to be an actor. Coming from New Zealand, getting into an international career. And same with Anthony Hopkins.”

As Disney and Marvel Studios expand the MCU, its projects across all platforms continue to attract top-tier talent—something that was spearheaded by the casting of Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man and recruitment of previously-indie filmmakers like Waititi for Ragnarok. If the MCU’s “certified fresh” record on Rotten Tomatoes and unrivaled profit margins weren’t enough, actors are now compelled to join the universe to work with those they admire. For example, Blanchett is a beloved, Academy Award-winning actress and one of the franchise’s best villains, so it is more than understandable that Urban was motivated by working with his fellow Lord of the Rings alum.

Although Blanchett also starred in The Lord of the Rings, she and Urban didn’t share any scenes. In the past, Urban has said this contributed to him deciding to join Ragnarok’s cast. In hindsight, the film did much more than bring together some of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. In addition to reinvigorating the Thor franchise, it introduced memorable supporting characters like The Grandmaster, Valkyrie, Korg, and Urban’s Skurge. Despite being often overlooked, Urban’s character undergoes a complete arc, from self-serving Executioner to assault-rifle-wielding defender of Asgard. Sadly, Urban, Blanchett, and Hopkins’ characters didn’t survive the events of Thor: Ragnarok. However, ironically, Urban now regularly mocks the comic book genre as Billy Butcher in The Boys.

More: Thor: Ragnarok’s Greatest MCU Legacy Is Not What You Think

Source: GQ/YouTube

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