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Thor Ragnarok: Who Is Heimdall?

Who watches Asgard?

With Thor: Ragnarok coming to theaters on Friday, November 3, you may be wondering who some of the secondary characters are in the upcoming film. Over the course of the next week, we'll be taking a look at where some of these heroes and villains came from and their comic book origins.

Heimdall, who is played by Idris Elba, has already appeared in the first two Thor films, along with Avengers: Age of Ultron, so most fans have a decent idea of who this character is. However, the character's roots in comic books are a bit different.

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Heimdall first appeared in Journey Into Mystery #85 back in 1962. He was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Lieber and modeled after Norse god Heimdallr. The guardian of the Rainbow Bridge out of Asgard has no direct relation to Thor, Loki, or Odin, but he is the brother of Sif, the one-time lover of Thor. Heimdall appeared quite a bit during the Silver Age of Marvel comics as a loyal servant to Odin and a friend of Thor; however, during the storyline Ragnarok, it seemed that Heimdall died.

After the cataclysmic event, a newly reborn Thor found Heimdall hiding in the body of a mortal man. Thor resurrected him and since then, Heimdall has watched over Asgard, which had been reconstructed on Midgard (more specifically in Oklahoma). Together, Heimdall, Thor, and other Asgardians eventually returned their land to its rightful place.

Heimdall is like most other Asgardians, as he has superhuman strength. On top of that, he can withstand great forces, has excellent stamina, and is extremely agile. What sets Heimdall apart is that he has incredible senses, being able to see and hear almost anything happening within Asgard. He doesn't need sleep as much as everyone else--like Odin, who goes into Odinsleep for months and years on end--and that makes Heimdall the perfect guardian for Asgard. Lastly, he's able to sense life forces and trouble within all Nine Realms; however, there have been times where his powers have betrayed him, like when Loki and Norman Osborn joined forces for the storyline Siege.

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Looking for some reading material involving Heimdall? Check out these storylines.

  • Ragnarok: The world is coming to an end as Asgard faces foes from every realm. Can Thor and his allies stop Asgard from being destroyed? Written by Roy Thomas. Art by John Buscema. The collected edition contains Thor #272-78 and Thor: Ragnarok #1.
  • Siege: Loki and Norman Osborn join forces and imprison Heimdall to ensure a victory over Asgard. Written by Brian Bendis. Art by Olivier Coipel. Siege #1-4 are available in trade.

If you want to know more about the third Thor film, check out our review of Ragnarok. In it, GameSpot's Mike Rogueau said, "Thor: Ragnarok shines when it's allowed to stray from the formula set by a decade of predecessors in the MCU, and it seems Waititi is to thank for most of what feels fresh and new here. By the movie's end, Thor and co. have left much of their past behind, ensuring the future is exciting in its potential, especially as we approach the Infinity War storyline."