This is a pretty straightforward question.

Before Thor: Ragnarok, Thor had yellow hair.

After having it cut in Thor: Ragnarok, his hair is suddenly brown.

Is it supposed to imply that the arena employees dyed it on top of cutting it?

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    You can see in some scenes that he has darker roots even with the longer blonde hair, which would probably explain it. – JAB Nov 6 '17 at 19:26
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    Out of universe answer; "“When we started Hemsworth on Thor,” Feige tells me, “he has blond hair; he has a hammer; he has a cape. These are the things that make Thor. He has now appeared as that character so many times [that] Chris Hemsworth is Thor. So we cut his hair, we got rid of his hammer, and it’s still him.” - vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/11/… – Valorum Nov 6 '17 at 19:30
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    It might be as simple as in real life. There's plenty or folks with light to mid Brown hair that go more blonde due to sun exposure, but the roots are still Brown. Cutting the hair just gets rid of the sunbleached parts. – Paul Nov 7 '17 at 12:55
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    @Valorum: "Chris Hemsworth is Thor. So we cut his hair, we got rid of his hammer, and it’s still him." - aha, they're aiming for the same effect as with Jaime Lannister on GoT, when he got a haircut between seasons. Even though I watched the respective seasons in direct succession, I was totally confused about the sudden appearance of the new actor and new character before traces of an injury the character had received previously allowed me to figure out who he was after a while. – O. R. Mapper Nov 7 '17 at 22:48
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    @Broklynite - yeah, but it's an odd similarity, it might be some kind of subtle reference or joke to the original myths – Megha Nov 8 '17 at 7:05

Symbolically, it represents change in the character. In the first Thor, he was the bright blonde, naive, and still thinking he was pure. His transformation shows him growing up, becoming more complex. While originally he represented lightness and Loki darkness, they've added shades of complexity.

You can see this in the "Get Help" scene. It's not about two warring gods reluctantly put together. It's about two brothers (insert Rick and Morty) who acknowledge that they have grown apart and traveled different paths. Recognizing that however much they genuinely care for each other, the bond they had is now forever shattered.

This is the same movie where we also see Thor berift of his hammer. And so when you strip the godhood away, you are left with the fundamental man. The point here is that Thor has gradually shifted from his previous haughtiness and godliness to something more like the man he truly is. The innocence has been stripped away leaving a man who is flawed and imperfect, and in doing so becomes more relatable as a person than the previous "incarnation."

At least that's how I interpret it. But from the comments, it was clearly a deliberate choice- take away the armor, the hammer, the blonde hair- and he remains fundamentally Thor. The Thor at the core of who we knew.

Edit: just want to make sure we are clear here that I am not saying that this whole idea of white/blonde=good and dark/black= evil is sane or right. I'm saying that it's a trope that has been used for a very, very long time.

  • This might be what they were going for, but is there any reason his hair might have changed color in-universe? – Adamant Nov 7 '17 at 23:35
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    @Adamant didn't realize it was meant to be in-universe only. I would argue that comic books and their movies tend to push physiognomy (they way you look reflects your inner self) as a natural way the world works. In other words, his looks changed because he changed as a person in-universe. – Broklynite Nov 8 '17 at 0:45

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