Marvel Studios’ God of Thunder will do what no Marvel Cinematic Universe character has yet done and return for a fourth installment of his solo series when Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters February 11, 2022.
Set to be written and directed by Taika Waititi, the filmmaker who wrote and helmed Thor: Ragnarok, Thor: Love and Thunder will bring back Chris Hemsworth as Thor, along with a host of other familiar faces from the MCU. Here’s everything we know about Thor: Love and Thunder so far.
As the coronavirus forced movie theaters to shut down, Disney delayed a number of films, forcing the MCU into a release date shuffle. Ultimately, that led to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness being bumped to March 2022, putting it in theaters after Thor: Love and Thunder, which eventually received a new release date of February 11, 2022.
The film will follow a slew of new heroes starring in their own movies: Black Widow, The Eternals, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It now precedes Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Black Panther 2, and Captain Marvel 2.
Loki, Silver Surfer, and … Iron Man?
Taika Waititi hosted a live watch-along event for Thor: Ragnarok on Thursday (aka “Thor’s day”) via Instagram, and along with featuring virtual visits from Ragnarok actors Tessa Thompson and Mark Ruffalo, the session also included some interesting details shared by the filmmaker.
Although Waititi would neither confirm nor deny the presence of rumored cast member Christian Bale or the potential return of Tom Hiddleston as Loki, he did indicate that one character definitely won’t be appearing in the film, contrary to recent rumors: The cosmic hero known as Silver Surfer.
Waititi described Thor: Love and Thunder as “like 10-year-olds told us what should be in a movie and we said yes to every single thing.”
The event eventually transformed into an impromptu question-and-answer session with Waititi, and the filmmaker pranked viewers with what is certainly a joke script from Thor: Love and Thunder.
The script revealed the return of Tony Stark — with “Science” being the only explanation for his resurrection — and had him utter the line, “Wazzuuuuurrp!” The fake script also indicated that Thanos was back, and the team would be renamed “The Avengererers” in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Although this fake script was good fun, speaking with the BBC, Waititi did describe the actual script for Thor: Love & Thunder as “insane” and “romantic.
“I think it’s going to be really good,” he said. “We’ve finished, we’ve been writing the script off and on for over a year and I’m just, actually this week, doing another pass on it. It is so insane and also very romantic. I’m into romances now. I just want to make a romance. I want to make something that I’ve never done or never cared for. I would like to attack something like that.”
So while Stark probably isn’t coming back from the dead to fall in love with Thor, some other crazy romance may be in store.
From Gotham to Asgard
In early January, an unconfirmed report indicated that Batman himself, Christian Bale, was the leading contender to play an important, unidentified role in Thor: Love and Thunder.
That report was later confirmed by Marvel actress Tessa Thompson, who indicated Bale was indeed in talks to play the villain in Thor: Love and Thunder.
The god herself?
In one of the biggest announcements to come out of Marvel’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the studio revealed that actress Natalie Portman will not only reprise her role as Jane Foster in Love and Thunder but will also become a new, female Thor.
Portman made a surprise appearance on stage during the event to announce her return to the role — a character she hasn’t portrayed in a featured role since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World.
How Portman’s new God of Thunder will be integrated into the MCU remains a mystery, one that’s already generating quite a bit of buzz.
Speaking with Serena Williams on Instagram Live in July, Portman expressed her excitement to reprise the role. “She’s actually The Mighty Thor. The comics had the female Thor when Jane becomes Thor, and she’s The Mighty Thor,” she said. “We haven’t started [filming]. More time to get jacked. Which I have not. I’ve got the carbo-loading down, but not the exercise part! Obviously everything is weird because of pandemic time, who knows what’s happening. It will be exciting and I’m interested to see if I can gain muscle.”
Although Hemsworth is expected to reprise his role as Thor, he won’t be the only prominent Asgardian featured in the film.
Tessa Thompson, who made her debut as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok (see above) and reprised the role in Avengers: Endgame, will also return to play a key role in Love and Thunder.
The film will reportedly feature Valkyrie’s search for a partner to rule Asgard beside her, after having been given the throne in Endgame. Valkyrie will become the first, official LGBTQIA+ character in the MCU.
Behind the camera
For Marvel fans, Waititi’s return as director is welcome news. Thor: Ragnarok, Thor’s third solo adventure, charmed audiences with its unique mix of humor and action and its colorful, Jack Kirby-inspired production design. Thor: Ragnarok earned $854 million at the global box office, and helped pave the way for Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, in which the beer-guzzling, pot-bellied “Bro Thor” quickly became a fan favorite.
Waititi’s Thor encore comes with at least one casualty. Warner Bros.’ live-action take on Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo’s seminal manga and anime film, has been put on hold. Previously, Waititi was expected to direct the adaptation, but delays stemming from script problems pushed Akira‘s production date too close to Love and Thunder, forcing Waititi to leave the project.
Love and Thunder isn’t the only big project on Waititi’s plate, either. The small-screen adaptation of Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows, which Waititi both produces and occasionally directs, has already been renewed for a second season. Waititi will also be directing an episode of the Disney+ Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian, and will play one of its supporting characters, the assassin droid IG-11.
We last saw Thor at the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, when the thunder god headed into space alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy, his shiny new ax in hand. Right now, it’s not clear if the highly anticipated “Asgardians of the Galaxy” team-up will continue, or if Thor and the Guardians will go their separate ways for their respective sequels.
Reports so far suggest that Thor: Love and Thunder might actually shift its focus to the characters around Hemsworth’s Thor, with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) inheriting the “Mighty Thor” mantle and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) serving as the ruler of Asgard.
Correction. She's called Mighty Thor.
— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) July 21, 2019
Still, as one of the few founding Avengers still standing, Thor is poised to play a major role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fourth phase. With Tony Stark and Black Widow gone, the Hulk injured, and both Captain America and Hawkeye retired, it’s up to Thor to bridge the gap between the members of the old-school MCU and newcomers like the Eternals and Shang-Chi.
Updated on July 27, 2020: Added comments from Natalie Portman on her role.