Thor: Ragnarok‘s Skurge is being described by one of the film’s writers as being an “Asgardian redneck” who represents the “everyman” of Asgard’s warrior culture.
Directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok is the third solo outing for Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. The film introduces three classic villains from Marvel Comics: Skurge/Executioner (Karl Urban), Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), and Hela (Cate Blanchett.) Karl Urban’s Skurge is an Asgardian warrior who guards the Bifrost Bridge in Heimdall’s absence, until Hela’s attack on Asgard leaves him with a choice: join her or die. As a survivalist, Skurge betrays his people and sides with Hela.
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In an interview with CBR, Ragnarok co-writer Erick Pearson praised Karl Urban’s “fantastic” performance as Skurge and talked about the character’s role in the film. Pearson says Skurge had to be a “reflection of the danger throughout the movie, and the face of worry”:
Skurge is like my dark horse favorite character. The way we went about him is, he’s an Asgardian redneck. He’s representative of the everyman, more like an infantry soldier. He’s part of the warrior culture in Asgard. He’s not as high-profile as Thor or Sif or the Warriors Three. He’s about wanting recognition and feeling like he could do so much more.
This depiction of Skurge isn’t far from what fans are familiar with when looking at the comic book version of Skurge, more commonly known as the Executioner. The Executioner was often seen in the company of the Enchantress, an evil sorceress who was in love with Thor. The Executioner served her faithfully, but always felt that he didn’t get the respect that he deserved. Feeling overshadowed by Thor, Executioner knew he was only a tool to be used and left the Enchantress. Executioner was eventually persuaded to return to her side, but unfortunately the character’s luck never changed. For decades, the Executioner has served as a pawn to the Enchantress.
The character’s mixed feelings about helping her have also affected his loyalty, occasionally keeping him from following through on a plan. Despite Enchantress’ wishes, Executioner has been known to lend aid to Thor and the other Asgardians. This aspect of the character could come into play in the film as well, since Urban has previously teased that choosing sides is the character’s “[central] dilemma”.