I understand that the 9 realms comes from Norse mythology. But with regards to the MCU why would the Asgardians even have a term for this when they clearly have ventured further out than just those 9 specific planets?

I can't remember where exactly, but I seem to remember Thor saying something to the effect of "if it existed in the 9 realms, Asgard would have known about it", as if the 9 realms were all that Thor would have had knowledge of, and he was surprised by any form of technology or even sentient life outside of the 9 realms.

After which I was caught off guard in Agents of Shield when Sif made a comment about the alien corpse possibly being Kree. And even more caught off guard at the end of Dark World when Sif and the Warriors Three went and visited the Collector.

Could this have possibly just been a continuity break between the team involved with the first Thor movie, and the rest of the MCU?

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    It may be a non-literal idiom; consider our seven seas over the ages. – gowenfawr Mar 23 '18 at 21:52
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    The nine realms are the entire universe but there are also other places (Sakaar, wherever the dark Elves were living, etc) that are ... off to one side a bit. – Valorum Mar 23 '18 at 21:54
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    “9 realms” might not mean “9 planets”. A realm could contain many planets for all we know. – Paul D. Waite Mar 23 '18 at 22:04

In the MCU the 'Nine Realms' are nine major planetary bodies that are aperiodically interconnected via a series of portals and traversable via the Bifrost. These realms comprise Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Svartalfheim, Vanaheim, Nidavellir, Niflheim, Muspelheim and Alfheim. Every 5000 years the portals come into alignment and allow free travel from one realm (planet) to the others.

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We learn in Thor: Ragnarok that the original Pax Arsgardia (with Asgard acting as protector and de-facto senior race of the nine realms) wasn't based on peaceful co-existence but in fact was down to Odin, Hela and the armies of Asgard conquering them.

Outside the "Realms" are the rest of the universe, most of which is only accessible by traveling in realspace or via any handy portals.

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    It's just speculation, but I headcanon that the Bifrost links to these nine realms specifically by operating over the same "channels" as the Convergence. The realms are already linked loosely; the Bifrost takes advantage of that. – DanDoubleL Apr 11 '18 at 18:42
  • After rewatching all the MCU, most notably Thor 1, Thor 3, and IW, I do have to say the bifrost seems a bit more versatile than this, though never under normal circumstance. Thor: Loki fell through the collapsing remnants of the bifrost...generator(?) and wound up in Thanos's presence and he didn't have the space stone. Thor 3: Loki and Thor both "fell out" of the bifrost and ended up on Sakaar. IW: Heimadall managed to call the bifrost out of nowhere (after surtur destroyed the planet) to sweep Hulk from the ship to Earth. Though they were still in presumably Asgardian space. – Steve Eggering May 15 '18 at 15:24
  • That's all good information, but it doesn't answer any of the questions the questioner asked. – cowlinator Apr 9 at 4:39

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