This article contains Thor: Love and Thunder spoilers
Thor: Love and Thunder concluded in the way that all fans of the God of Thunder would have hoped for, with the familiar words ‘Thor will return.’ There was always some speculation that this could be Chris Hemsworth’s last outing as Thor, but it’s clear that either Thor 5 or some kind of spin-off story is in store for the Asgardian warrior.
What could that story involve, though? While it’s easy to speculate about all the directions a potential sequel could go in based on the comic books, Thor: Love and Thunder itself actually gave fans plenty of clues. The post-credits sequences were of course dead give-aways, but outside of those there are a number of other beats that future movies are sure to develop further.
Marvel Studios will continue to ask themselves the question “how can we make Thor feel fresh?” With some ideas that currently seem to be on the table, there’s clearly an endless supply of opportunities to explore.
Thor vs. Hercules
The Asgardians certainly aren’t the only godly pantheon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanks to the introduction of Zeus (Russell Crowe), the Olympians are one of the newest additions. The god of gods was surprisingly accurate in his portrayal, with Zeus taking on a more antagonistic role as the movie developed. Exuding a jealousy of Thor and a desire to change a perception that the gods are nothing more than jokes, Thor: Love and Thunder’s post-credits sequence reveals that Zeus sets his best fighter the task of taking down the Odinson.
Hercules’ arrival into the MCU, portrayed by Brett Goldstein, feels very similar to his comic book debut. In the early days, the heroic Greek was pitched as a rival to Thor, with the two facing one another in battle countless times. Over the years, however, the godly duo would learn to work alongside one another, their egos put to one side for a common enemy. Hercules’ hunt for Thor surely has to be the top contender for a Thor 5 narrative.
But just like in the comics, it’s unlikely that the Olympian and the Asgardian will remain foes for long, even if Zeus continues to manipulate events from afar. Could a new superhero team consequently be in the early stages of development?
The God Squad
Both Thor and Hercules have been members of the God Squad in the comics. It’s a team of united deities who are brought together to face a threat bigger than themselves. Sound familiar? Well, that’s because it’s exactly the sort of team that Thor suggested forming alongside Zeus in Love and Thunder on the gang’s trip to Omnipotence City, but the plan failed and the concept of the team was forgotten about; the unit of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Korg (Taika Waititi), and Thor led the charge instead.
There would have definitely been some gods from Omnipotence City who would have been sympathetic to Thor’s cause though, and with the introduction of Hercules, any sequel might revisit the idea of a God Squad. Other famous members in the comics included the Olympian’s human companion Amadeus Cho, Sersi of the Eternals (Gemma Chan), Silver Surfer, and Galactus.
The themes of the past few Thor MCU appearances certainly support the narrative, with the god bouncing from team to team (the Avengers, the Revengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy) hoping to find the perfect fit. It would have to be a pretty monumental threat for the team to face if these huge names are finally brought together on screen.
Other Godly Antagonists
It was rumored for a while that Christian Bale wouldn’t be portraying Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder, but instead the businessman Dario Agger, who doubles as the Minotaur of legend. That wasn’t the case, but the mere suggestion showcases that there are so many other godly antagonists that Marvel could explore in the future. Many of them might have already popped up in Omnipotence City.
There was a very clear aim to demonstrate just how wide-ranging the deities are in the Marvel Universe. There are those like the Skrull gods who are set to make an impact in spin-offs such as Secret Invasion. But which of the existing eternal beings are likely to be a threat to Thor and his companions in a sequel? Surely not Bao god of dumplings!
There are a few contenders among the group, but one certainly stands out. In the crowd, it looks as if there’s an appearance from Amatsu-Mikaboshi, the Japanese god of chaos, evil, and the stars. This is a deity that very much relies on the shadows that Gorr also utilized. But what’s more, the comics saw Mikaboshi appear as part of the God Squad, before his eventual betrayal and transformation into the Chaos King, a being that almost wiped out all of existence. Is that the huge-scale narrative in store for a sequel?
The second post-credit sequence in Thor: Love and Thunder saw Jane Foster, who tragically died during the events of the film, make her way to Valhalla. This isn’t the first time that an afterlife of mystical proportions has been seen in the MCU. Only recently the Field of Reeds from Egyptian mythology was portrayed in Moon Knight, while Black Panther previously introduced the idea of the Ancestral Plane.
Foster’s arrival is met with fanfare from Heimdall (Idris Elba) who must have seen her coming! The idea that all of Thor’s previous allies are happy in Valhalla opens up an interesting concept, though. What if Thor was to venture to the realms beyond? He wouldn’t be the only one with a motive to. Valkyrie’s story has been focused on the death of her sisters, and her previous role in guiding the dead into the afterlife.
Thor: Love and Thunder definitely didn’t shy away from the loss in Thor’s life either, reminding audiences of the deaths of the Warriors Three, Loki, Odin, Frigga and so many more. The God of Thunder’s final wish might be a storming of Vahalla to right all the wrongs in his life.
The Dead Return
Opening that door may be difficult to close. The heavenly afterlife might greet the heroes, but what kind of underworld is awaiting the villains? There are multiple foes that Thor would have bested that might be lurking in the shadows of hell waiting to be unleashed, should Thor breach those realms.
Hela, Malekith, and of course Gorr are all examples of characters who might be plotting their revenge, even after the latter’s resolutions. The continued interest in the afterlife has to have some kind of purpose, and it’s entirely possible that an unknown enemy lurks among them, waiting to haunt Thor as a ghost from his past.
Valkyrie’s Love Story
Moving away from antagonists, there are a few other narrative threads that have been left dangling. It’s obvious that they are being left for some future development. Valkyrie’s own love story is one such area. Thor: Love and Thunder might have partially been centered on the Asgardian King finding self-love and a sisterhood with Jane Foster, but it still seems as if there is romance in store.
Can Valkyrie find the Queen she has been searching for to rule alongside her? Everyone else in her life has begun to settle down, yet she is still hoping to find that special someone. While fan theories suggest that it could have been Sif all along, hence why she was reintroduced, a return to Vahalla and a revival of the other Valkyries might be another path for the character to locate her love.
Some readers might not be familiar with the Team Thor shorts put together by Marvel featuring Thor and the Grandmaster settling down as housemates to the human Darryl. If you aren’t, they are well worth checking out!. In one of the most unexpected inclusions of Thor: Love and Thunder, Darryl actually makes a comeback as a tour guide. Will the sequel see more of Darryl and maybe even focus on his rise in Asgard…? Probably not, but we can dream.
The Next Generation
The finale of the latest Thor release had quite the unexpected conclusion. Thor has now adopted Gorr’s daughter, played by Chris Hemsworth’s very own daughter, India Rose Hemsworth. There’s clearly a long-term plan here to keep this new status quo going.
Thor has been pretty aimless for years now, never quite landing on how he wants to spend his life. He has now finally been given a purpose, and any future appearance cannot ignore that character development. Ultimately, any new adventures will surely have Love battling alongside Thunder, and there is some precedent for this already in the comics.
Across the multiverse, Thor does have kids and even grandkids that take on the heroic mantle down the line. Any future arcs certainly have the potential to feature a passing of the torch moment. Will the next blockbuster actually be a coming-of-age tale where an out-of-his-depth Thor is learning how to parent a being of galactic potential?
Speaking of passing the torch, Love isn’t the only new Asgardian on the block. Valkyrie has made it very clear that she’s ready to take on the next generation of fighters from among the kids who helped to defeat Gorr. Heimdall’s son, Axl, is the perfect character to introduce this concept with, considering the newcomer has already started to develop their father’s gift of sight. Any upcoming adventures might continue this arc, even if it isn’t the sole focus.
A Multiverse of Thors
Loki is briefly touched upon in Thor: Love and Thunder, but Thor is very much unaware of the new Variant running around time. The next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still heading toward the concept of the multiverse and Thor’s story is wrapped up in that – and not just because of his brother’s involvement.
In fact, Loki brought forward the notion that other Thors could be out there, including Throgg who made a brief cameo in the Disney+ series. Thor: Love and Thunder pushed the idea home that anyone could take on the Thor mantle, from the kids of Asgard to Jane Foster. The legacy of Thor still might be at stake with the multiverse unleashed.
In the comics, Thor’s timeline has played into some of the most important stories involving the Asgardian. The multiverse opened the doors for younger and older Thors who had lived very different lives, while Variants like Beta Ray Bill might also be introduced in this manner, even if he is technically a different character in the comics. The next Thor film could ultimately seek to answer the question of “what makes a Thor a Thor?” Perhaps, deep down, it’s more than just worthiness.
Knull and the Necrosword
Of all the threats that could emerge for Thor in the future, one might have gone unnoticed. The very existence of the Necrosword in MCU continuity raises plenty of questions. In the comics, the sword is classed as the first symbiote, a being of immense power that would eventually go on to bond with the King in Black.
The narrative of the same name saw the rise of the symbiote god Knull, a being far more powerful than the likes of Venom and Carnage. It’s a story that surely couldn’t be adapted to the MCU without allowing the Venom story to play out with Spider-Man first, the clues have been laid on the page already. Right now, the only hero that would be strong enough to push back such a frightening force would be Thor. The Necrosword may ultimately be just the beginning.
Thor: Love and Thunder has certainly introduced new characters, worlds, weapons, and narrative beats. Thor’s promised return means that there are countless more directions for Marvel to take the character, from joining the God Squad to reinforcing his role as a father. It might be some time before fans get to find out what’s in store next, but one thing is for sure; the journey definitely isn’t getting stale.