In this post-Endgame world, the Thor series is breaking new ground for Marvel as The Odinson becomes the first hero to be granted four solo films. Thanks to a ton of new details spewing from the hype factory that is San Diego Comic-Con, we know a little more about what to expect from the upcoming Thor 4. If you’re a little behind on your Thor lore, let’s get you up to speed. In 2017, under the direction of Taika Waititi, Ragnarok sprung into theaters.
The movie chronicled Thor’s attempts to save Asgard from his conniving and powerful sister Hela — along with his struggle to escape from the garbage planet Sakaar with Loki and Bruce Banner. By introducing new characters like Valkyrie — along with everybody’s favorite alien bros Korg and Miek … “Hey man. I’m Korg. This is Miek. We’re gonna jump on that spaceship and get outta here.
Wanna come?” … and injecting a much-needed dose of whimsy into the Thor series, Ragnarok became a welcome addition to the MCU, receiving rave reviews and crushing the box office. Ragnarok finds Thor learning to accept that, as Odin and Heimdall said … “Asgard is not a place — it’s a people.” Recognizing that the only way to save his home is to let it be destroyed, he finally takes his place as king as he shepherds his citizens into space, charting a course for a new home on Earth.
Tragically, that’s where Thanos comes in, leaving half of the Asgardian refugees dead in his quest for the Infinity Stones as Avengers: Infinity War begins. A devastated Thor survives Thanos’ final snap, leaving him to spend Endgame seeking justice and revenge for those he’s lost. When Thanos is at last defeated, Thor is one of the only original Avengers left standing. Ultimately, he ends up joining the Guardians of the Galaxy to fight evil throughout the universe, leaving his right-hand woman, Valkyrie, in charge of the recently-founded Norwegian territory of New Asgard. All of this has set the stage for what’s to come in the next Thor movie.
After the success of Thor: Ragnarok, it makes sense that Marvel would want director Taika Waititi to return for Thor 4, considering the acclaim that Waititi’s irreverent and dry comedic sensibilities garnered for Ragnarok. By taking one of Marvel’s most serious and austere superheroes and making him and his surrounding cast totally accessible and even fun, Waititi immediately left a mark on the franchise and made himself indispensable as a fresh voice in the MCU.
This one time when we were children, he transformed himself into a snake and he knows that I love snakes, so then I went to pick up the snake to admire it, and he transformed back into himself and went ‘MYEH! It’s me!’ Even though Marvel fans are likely thrilled that Waititi is officially confirmed to return for the fourth Thor film, it does get in the way of one of his other long-awaited projects. Waititi is placing his adaptation of the cyberpunk anime classic Akira on hold so that he can return to the MCU, despite the fact that the project had recently been fast-tracked by Warner Bros.
Fans can only hope that Waititi will be able to revive Akira after he completes Thor 4, but it’s still clear that the filmmaker is giving up plenty of opportunities to make sure he can return to the Marvel cosmos. It’s usually a safe bet that Marvel will have a strong showing at San Diego Comic-Con, and in 2019, as the studio looked forward post-Phase 3, there was plenty of breaking news about upcoming Marvel projects, including Thor’s next outing.
During the huge Marvel panel on Saturday, July 20th at SDCC, cast members — along with Waititi himself — made an appearance to make a few major announcements about Thor 4. First off, the film’s official title will be Thor: Love and Thunder, which could give us some indication about the film’s tone as well as tell us a little about what lies in store for Thor himself — maybe the hero will be able to find a little time for romance between fights with various bad guys. As far as the release date goes, Thor: Love and Thunder will hit theaters on November 5th, 2021, serving as the finale of the MCU’s Phase 4.
A fourth Thor movie likely wouldn’t have even gotten a greenlight if Chris Hemsworth hadn’t hopped back on board to play what has now become his signature role, so it’s not surprising that he is expected to return as the God of Thunder. Though Hemsworth’s Thor was a bit too serious in the earlier films, Ragnarok and Endgame both saw a sillier side of the superhero. In Ragnarok, during his time as a captive of Jeff Goldblum’s ridiculous Grandmaster, he ends up slated to fight the Hulk, leading to one of the film’s most infamous lines.
“Hey! Hey! We know each other! He’s a friend from work!” Even as he tries to save his ancestral home from Hela’s clutches, he maintains a healthy sense of humor. Endgame sees Thor returning to his serious roots as he mourns the victims of Thanos, but he still gets plenty of comedic moments when his fellow Avengers discover “Bro Thor” five years after the team parts ways. “No, no — give me that.” “You have the little one.” Serving as an unexpectedly comedic presence in such a heavy film, Hemsworth anchors his emotional beats while still keeping his performance light and entertaining, proving that he’s more than capable of playing Thor in Love and Thunder and for years to come. “Are you crying?” “No….. yes.”
Quite a few familiar faces will return for Thor: Love and Thunder, including one Oscar winner who’s been absent from the film series for a while now. In an unsurprising bit of news that was also announced at SDCC, Tessa Thompson will return to play the fierce, swaggering Valkyrie, who’s currently handling matters in New Asgard during Thor’s post-Endgame jaunt with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thompson and head Marvel honcho Kevin Feige also made it clear that the movie would confirm Valkyrie’s bisexuality, noting that she needs to “find her queen,” making for a landmark in representation and diversity in this multi-franchise universe.
However, the most exciting casting announcement was undoubted that Natalie Portman, who played Thor’s love interest Jane in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World, will return to the franchise and pick up Mjolnir herself as a new Thor — just as the character did in a recent comics run from writer Jason Aaron. As Portman took the stage and held Mjolnir high to celebrate this thrilling development, she quipped, quote, “I’ve always had a little hammer envy.” The talented actress’ return to the world of Thor would have been big enough news, but letting Portman become a superhero in her own right just ups the ante.