Tuesday, December 06, 2022

What Thor: Love and Thunder’s Post-Credits Scenes Mean for Chris Hemsworth’s Future as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Over the past 14 years, in addition to VFX and action, one of the most anticipated parts of any movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the post-credits scenes. Nearly every MCU movie has had one or more post-credits scenes since Iron Man introduced the concept with a cameo from Nick Fury in 2008. Thor: Love and Thunder carries that legacy forward. Read too: Thor Love and Thunder Review: Chris Hemsworth Dazzles, Christian Bale Terrifies

Major spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder ahead!

Directed by Taika Waititi, Love and Thunder is Thor’s fourth solo adventure in the Marvel Universe, bringing back Chris Hemsworth in the titular role. It also stars Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Christian Bale as the villainous Gorr the God Butcher. The film features a mid-credits scene and an end-credits scene, which serve as a continuation to the story.

One of the film’s sequels involves Thor, Valkyrie (Tessa), Jane (Natalie) and Korg (Taika) traveling to the City of Omnipotence, requesting that other gods form an army to stop the threat from Gorr. But things take an ugly turn after the king of the gods Zeus (Russell Crowe) refuses help and threatens to capture the heroes. This leads to a fight that ends with Thor blasting Zeus’ own thunderbolt through his heart and seemingly killing me. Afterwards, Thor and the others take Zeus’ thunderbolt with them to aid in the battle against Gorr.

Russell Crowe Plays Zeus In Thor: Love And Thunder.
Russell Crowe plays Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder.

The mid-credits scene reveals that Zeus is indeed alive, but badly injured. The scene shows the women tending to his wound as he delivers a monologue about how the gods were once feared but now aren’t. He gives a long speech about what it means to be a god and concludes by saying that people will fear the gods again when ‘Thor Odinson falls’. The camera then pans to reveal that Zeus was actually talking to someone, who is his son Hercules (Brett Goldstein in a cameo). Zeus asks Hercules if he understands and Hercules replies that he does.

This interaction potentially sets the stage for a future showdown between Thor and Hercules, potentially bringing back Chris Hemsworth. During Love and Thunder promotions, it was implied – repeatedly – that this might be Chris’ last Marvel movie. He mentioned that his enthusiasm was waning after 11 years in the role. But with Zeus entrusting Hercules with a mission of revenge against Thor, Chris would have to return. This could very well mean Chris returning only for a cameo, potentially to be killed by Hercules. This would serve two purposes – allowing the series to continue by having a new Thor take up the mantle and establishing Hercules as a formidable threat. The movie had Natalie Portman’s The Mighty Thor and the Asgardian children also channeled Thor’s powers into the climactic battle. So Marvel already has several worthy successors ready.

But a bigger indication is the message that appears at the end of the credits. He simply states ‘Thor will be back’. For some, it might mean another actor might return as a new Thor, but Chris’ arc isn’t over yet. And if Thor comes back, he will be there.

Natalie Portman As The Mighty Thor In A Scene From Thor: Love And Thunder.
Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor in a scene from Thor: Love and Thunder.

Between these two is an end credits scene, which brings back a popular character from the MCU. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster dies in the battle against Gorr and like all warriors who die in battle, she goes to Valhalla, the Viking equivalent of heaven. And welcoming her is Heimdall (Idris Elba), the Protector of Asgard who was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. Aside from the cameo, this scene doesn’t do much for the franchise’s future, although it could be a way to bring ‘dead’ characters back into the fold.

Another recent trend is that the Love and Thunder post-credits scene is being used as an actual casting announcement. For a long time, the MCU’s post-credits scenes were used to set up a future story, using existing characters from another movie. The first time new characters were introduced was when the Maximoff twins were introduced at the end of Captain America: Winter Soldier. But lately, the MCU movies have been doing that more and more. Harry Styles’ Starfox was introduced in Eternals, while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness features Charlize Theron as Clea. Love and Thunder does the same, setting up Brett Goldstein as a potential villain/anti-hero in the future of the MCU. Read too: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Charlize Theron Introduces Her Character Clea

For now, no Thor sequel has been announced and there is also no Avengers movie planned. So it remains to be seen how and where Thor will return and when we will see Hercules next. It could very well be in a Disney+ series. San Diego Comic Con is later this month and you can expect an announcement there. But whatever the case, one thing is for sure – the MCU isn’t done with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor yet.

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