Essential Thor

Essential Thor: The Casket of Ancient Winters

Learn the full history of the Casket of Ancient Winters from the comics that inspired the film!



“Thor” storms onto Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on September 13, and to celebrate the event we’ll be bringing you daily doses of content featuring the Mighty Avenger. Check back to daily for looks back at the film and Thor’s storied history, and pre-order “Thor” now on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and on iTunes now!

By Jim Beard

Loki wields the Casket of Ancient Winters in "Thor"

Big things often come in small packages. Observe, please, the ancient Asgardian artifact known as the Casket of Ancient Winters--who would ever think that such a small, innocent-looking box could cause so much trouble for not only the people of Earth, but the gods of Asgard, too?

Created in antiquity, the Casket reportedly houses the power of a thousand winters, each one of them fueled by the worst imaginable cold and ice. This power may be unleashed simply by opening the lid of the diminutive Casket, so it’s been closely guarded over the eons to prevent unleashing such devastation.

Of course, unscrupulous individuals have sought out the Casket for nefarious designs and schemes, including Loki in the hit "Thor," coming to Blu-ray and DVD September 13.

But before the Casket made its big screen debut, it plagued Thor severeal times in the pages of his own comic series. Now, pull on some heavy clothes, turn up the heater and stand ready to brave our brief journey through the history of this incredible magical item.

The Surtur Saga

The first appearance of the Casket of Ancient Winters

The Dark Elf Malekith sought out and found the Casket’s mortal protector Roger Willis to steal away the item and use it to open a doorway for Surtur the fire demon to enter our dimension. Once that plan found fruition, Surtur and the unleashed winters could only be defeated by a heroic teaming of Thor, Beta Ray Bill and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers. It took Roger Willis to close the Casket and imprison its icy storms once more, but the final battle between Surtur and Odin came at a heavy price…

Look for the entire saga in THOR #345-353, collected in THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOLS. 1 and 2!

More Dark Elves, More Trouble

Malekith with the Casket of Ancient Winters

Some time later, the Dark Elf Jagrfelm wielded the Casket of Ancient Winters, but he lost both the artifact and his life to Malekith. Thor’s old foe allied himself with an ice demon from the Casket as well as the villainous Kurse and invaded Asgard with the power of the ancient winters behind him. Ultimately, the might of the so-called Gem of Infinite Suns that countered the Casket, and with the Gem attached to the wintery item, Thor sends them both into another realm for safe-keeping.

You can thrill to the entire story in THOR #29-32, which also finds a home in the THOR: ACROSS ALL WORLDS collection!

From Screen to Screen

Thor frozen by the Casket of Ancient Winters' power in "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!"

The Casket of Ancient Winters also makes its big screen debut in the “Thor” feature film, snatched up by Thor’s evil half-brother Loki from their father Odin’s treasure room. In addition, the mighty item turns up in an episode of TV’s “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” animated series. There, Malekith once again used the Casket to stir up icy mischief for the Avengers.

2010’s “Thor” feature film may soon be found on Blu-ray and DVD, and the “Casket of Ancient Winters” episode of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” can be streamed right here on and purchased on iTunes.

MORE IN Thor Movie See All

MORE IN Essential Thor See All

MORE IN Movies See All