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Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a gladiatorial fight against an old friend. Now, he’s on a quest for survival.
USA TODAY

Thor must face one of his greatest fears in his third solo film: The Asgardian superhero sees a barber.

In Thor: Ragnarok (in theaters Thursday night), the godly golden locks of Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-wielding hero are shorn in favor of an edgier new ‘do.

So what’s the deal with the fresh cut? Hair designer Luca Vannella explains. 

It fits the tone of the new film.

In the first two Thor films, the god of thunder took himself and his signature hammer, the Mjolnir, very seriously. In the third outing, however, directed by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), fans will see a “more human and funny” side of the hero, Vannella says.

This time around, Thor has a different weapon, different armor, different sense of humor and yes, different hair.

It’s not inspired by the comics.

Though a short-haired Thor appears in comics including The Unworthy Thor, Vannella says Hemsworth’s hair “is just a whole new look for the movie.”

Thor isn’t Samson losing all of his strength with his mane, but the haircut does illustrate a turning point for the hero who’s used to being in control. In Ragnarok, Thor protests the severing of his tresses before he’s forced into a gladiatorial fight.

The design of the short hair — which is extra-short on the sides with several lines in the scalp — was informed by the ultra-stylish planet of Sakaar, where Thor unwillingly gets the new cut.

Those lines were made to look hand-clipped.

Vannella, whose grandfather was a barber, wanted Thor to look as though his hair was cut with old-school clippers. “I wanted a broken haircut (that) wasn’t very accurate,” he says.

Though Hemsworth didn’t actually have lines shaved into his scalp for the movie —Vannella used hair gel to strategically part his strands — “already on YouTube there are demos” of how to shave lines like Thor’s.

The new ‘do is a darker color.

A too-blond buzz on Thor could look “very fake or it could look like blond tips on a ’90s guy,” Vannella says. A darker shade made more sense, because “his long hair has a dark root” and his hair would have to be dark to account for heroically earned sweat, dirt and grease.

There was plenty of discussion about Valkyrie’s hair, too.

Thor: Ragnarok warrior Valkyrie — a new character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — has light hair in the comic books, but Vannella decided against giving actress Tessa Thompson a blond wig for the role.

“We had a lot of drawings with blond hair on Tessa, and she looked really good,” he says. “But some people could be disappointed that Marvel hired a girl like Tessa and then wanted to change her to blonde.”

Review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is a fun Marvel romp that doesn’t take itself seriously enough

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