This article contains Thor: Love and Thunder spoilers.
While 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok had a moderate (and amusing) number of cameos, Thor: Love and Thunder really ups the ante in terms of surprise walk-ons. Some of the unexpected appearances in this movie are from Marvel first-timers while others are from characters who previously showed up in either Ragnarok or those other movies about the God of Thunder that we don’t like to talk about anymore. Well, at least Thor: The Dark World—the first Thor is still pretty good if you ask us!)
There are also a handful of cameos from real-life family members of some of the film’s stars and, most intriguingly, there is a trio of ghost cameos as well, which is to say appearances that were filmed but did not make the final cut. Two are from characters we know already, while one remains a mystery as we write this.
By the way, we don’t count the Guardians of the Galaxy as a cameo. While the merits of their presence in the movie are debatable—seriously what purpose do they serve?—their appearance in the film has been advertised for years and they spend at least10-15 minutes onscreen. Our definition of “cameo” runs a bit shorter than that. So let’s lay out who else is in this bloody thing besides the people advertised on the poster, shall we?
Previously on Thor
This batch constitutes the largest subsection of cameos and spans both Ragnarok returnees and folks who have spent time in earlier Thor movies or other corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Jaimie Alexander: It was hyped that the Lady Sif would return for this film following her inexplicable (and to our minds, inexcusable) absence from Ragnarok, and sure enough she does show up. Unfortunately she gets a rather short amount of time here (even less, we daresay, than her time-loop appearance on Loki). Thor arrives on a desolate planet to find her nearly dead at the hands of Gorr, with Sif’s distress signal basically acting as a way to get Thor away from the Guardians and start the real story. She shows up again later on, and missing an arm, to briefly train the Asgardian children to fight.
Kat Dennings: Last seen in WandaVision and before that in Thor: The Dark World, Jane Foster’s former assistant Darcy Lewis visits Jane (Natalie Portman) in the hospital in Love and Thunder, with the two sharing a few fleeting moments together.
Stellan Skarsgard: The almost criminally underused Dr. Erik Selvig hasn’t been seen around these parts since Avengers: Age of Ultron way back in 2015, although the poor bastard was listed among those snapped away by Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. He’s technically in Love and Thunder for a moment, although he’s only glimpsed on FaceTime (or Zoom, who knows) dispensing some advice and sympathy to the gravely ill Jane Foster.
Idris Elba: We had the distinct impression that Idris wanted out of the MCU and the role of Heimdall after Thor: Ragnarok, with his death in the first few minutes of Avengers: Infinity War sealing the character’s fate and the actor’s exit. But lo and behold, in the second end credits sequence of Love and Thunder, the now-dead Jane Foster is greeted at the gates of Valhalla (aka heaven for the most badass Viking warriors) by the former guardian of the Bifrost. Does this mean that both Jane and Heimdall can come back in a theoretical Thor 5? With Zeus declaring war on Thor (more on that in a minute), Valhalla may have to answer the call.
Matt Damon, Sam Neill, Luke Hemsworth: Yes, the Asgardian Players are back, this time recreating the events of Thor: Ragnarok for tourists visiting New Asgard. Luke Hemsworth again plays the actor portraying his brother; Damon and his horrid wig return as the actor playing Loki, and Sam Neill is once more essaying the life that was Odin. It’s a fun bit, even if it feels a bit forced after seeing them in the previous movie. Bonus round: Damon and Hemsworth’s actors show up out of costume later in the movie, discussing their plans to stage the movie that you’re watching at that very moment.
Also, while technically newcomers to the MCU, we feel obligated to mention here…
Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone: McCarthy and her husband, Falcone, have reportedly been jonesing to join the MCU for a while, and now they get their chance as members of the Asgardian theater troupe alongside Damon and company. McCarthy shows up as the actor playing Hela in the stage version of Ragnarok (complete with hilarious antlers) while Falcone plays the director of the troupe. It’s one of the moments in the movie that made us laugh out loud.
Brett Goldstein Is… Hercules!
The breakout Ted Lasso star shows up in the first post (or mid) credits sequence, which also turns out to be the most significant. He’s playing Hercules, the son of Zeus and longtime Marvel Comics deity who has been a frequent nemesis (and sometime ally) of Thor on the page. Like many Marvel characters, he’s been a villain on the page but later flipped and even joined up with the Avengers at various points in the canon. Here, a furious and humiliated Zeus (Russell Crowe) orders his son to seek vengeance against Thor, a task that the energized Hercules seems only too happy to take on, most likely in a theoretical Thor 5.
All in the Family
Chris Hemsworth has turned his fourth standalone outing as the God of Thunder (and eighth overall) into a real family affair this time and he’s not the only one.
India Hemsworth: There are a number of children in Love and Thunder, but Hemsworth’s daughter India gets perhaps the most significant role out of all of them. She plays Love (yes, as in the title), the daughter of Gorr (Christian Bale), whose death sets her father out on his catastrophic mission to destroy all the gods in the universe. India shows up in the opening and closing scenes of the movie, both of which happen to be two of its most moving moments.
Elsa Pataky: Chris Hemsworth’s wife famously stood in for Natalie Portman during the end credits scene in Thor: The Dark World (with her back to the camera) and their kiss generated more heat than all of Hemsworth and Portman’s scenes together in the first two Thor films. Pataky is back to kiss her handsome hubby again in Love and Thunder, this time as a wolf woman in the film’s opening sequence.
Apparently, one of Hemsworth and Pataky’s twin sons plays a young Thor in the movie’s first few moments while the children of Portman, Bale, and director Taika Waititi all show up in the movie as well, presumably as part of the Asgardian kids who are kidnapped by Gorr.
Not Snapped, Not Blipped, But Snipped
It seems as if Love and Thunder might have featured even more cameos… except that appearances by three major stars were all left out of the final film. Hopefully they’ll surface as part of the bonus content on a home video release sometime later this year.
Jeff Goldblum: The ever-entertaining Goldblum did his Goldblum thing in Thor: Ragnarok as the Grandmaster, and fans have wondered and asked if the beloved, eccentric actor would ever return as the character (last seen in the 2018 short Team Darryl, with an alternate animated version also turning up last year in What If…?). Apparently, Goldblum did return for Love and Thunder in a scene with Christian Bale’s Gorr, but the scene didn’t make the final edit.
Peter Dinklage: The Game of Thrones star played the dwarf Eitri in Avengers: Infinity War where he helped Thor forge Stormbreaker in an attempt to thwart Thanos. Like Jeff Goldblum, Eitri shared the screen with Christian Bale during the production of Love and Thunder, but also like Goldblum his scene (presumably his death at the hands of Gorr?) ended up as part of the reported four-hour first assembly cut of the movie that did not survive the editing process.
Lena Headey: Another major Game of Thrones cast member, Lena Headey’s yet-to-be-revealed character did not make the final version of Love and Thunder. While it’s tempting to suggest that she was cast as Eitri’s sister in what would be a nice in-joke, speculation online suggests that she was possibly playing Amora the Enchantress, a powerful Asgardian sorceress who tried to seduce the God of Thunder away from Jane Foster. Amora’s been a part of Thor comics since 1964, and it’s odd that she has yet to show up in the MCU, but if that’s who Headey was playing, perhaps she’ll show up next time. Too bad her former agency is suing her over the job.
Thor: Love and Thunder is now playing in theaters.