Heimdall is the guardian of the Bifrost. In the movie Thor Heimdall is portrayed by Idris Elba, who happens to have dark skin. In the newer Thor series, Heimdall is drawn with black skin in the comics. But I know that originally he had pale skin, like Thor himself.

I want to know when this change happened and if there was an in-universe explanation.

I want to emphasize that I do not care about Marvel's motivation of the change and not necessarily if this is a simple retcon or not. I want to know when exactly it happened.

  • 3
    It’s bog-standard for comics companies to import character traits of popular characters from films back into comics, in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Just off the top of my head, Nick Fury’s appearance changed, Toad’s powers changed, and a million other examples.
    – Adamant
    May 8, 2018 at 21:12
  • 2
    @Adamant Actually Nick Fury's appearance did not really change in the comics, it's rather so that an additional Nick Fury appeared from another dimension and took the place of the old one, who is currently cursed to walk on the moon as punishment for a crime. Alas, if you can say for certain that Heimdall changed after the cast for the movie Thor or after its release, please make that an answer.
    – SK19
    May 8, 2018 at 21:17
  • And mutant powers changing is basically part of their job description.
    – SK19
    May 8, 2018 at 21:18
  • 2
    @SK19 The MCU Nick Fury is based on the Marvel Ultimates universe’s Nick Fury, who was based on Samuel L Jackson who plays the MCU Nick Fury. May 9, 2018 at 0:15
  • 1
    @SK19 - As noted above, the MCU Nick Fury is based on the Ultimate Universe version. However, there are two Nick Fury's in the current Marvel U - the "classic" Nick Fury, and his son (technically Nick Fury Jr., although he lived most of his life under a different name, not knowing Nick was his father). Junior is African-American; in that aspect at least, he resembles the MCU/Ultimate Nick Fury. Junior was the character starring in the Nick Fury comic published in 2017.
    – RDFozz
    May 9, 2018 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


From looking around a bit the change in the comics appears to have first been shown in Loki Vol 2 Issue 4 which was released 16/03/2011 which is before Thor came out in 27/04/2011. Of course though the casting for Heimdall was already known by then. As such the change to dark skin was probably done because of the casting of Idris for Heimdall. An in universe reason doesn't seem to have been given.

In Issue 2 (top) we see him with light skin and in Issue 4 (bottom) we see him with dark skin.

Issue 2 Heimdall is seen with light skin
Click image to enlarge.

Issue 4 Heimdall is seen with dark skin

  • did he have braided hair in the previous issues already?
    – SK19
    Sep 11, 2019 at 19:09
  • @SK19 he does in Issue 2 as you can see above where he still has light skin.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 11, 2019 at 19:10

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