In what will amount to an earthquake amongst superhero movie fans, new reports suggest that Oscar winner Christian Bale is in talks with Marvel Studios and Taika Waititi to star in Thor: Love and Thunder. Holy crossover of talent, Batman!
Collider first broke the news, reporting the actor most famous for playing the Dark Knight is now close to signing up for Thor 4, joining a cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Natalie Portman. If true, this would be the first time Bale has starred in a superhero movie since 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, which saw the actor (and character) retire from wearing Batman’s mask and cowl.
Den of Geek has reached out to sources close to all parties, but has yet to hear any official comment. However, THR says it has “confirmed” the report, albeit without citing official sources.
If Bale is cast in Thor: Love and Thunder, this might be a bigger shock to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Asgardian realm than that time Thor surrendered his hammer to Captain America. Bale, of course, is something of a superhero movie statesman having been part of the genre’s 2000s renaissance which paved the way for the MCU. Still the only actor to appear as Bruce Wayne in a leading capacity for three films, Bale played the title character in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. Even 15 years after Nolan and Bale’s first effort Batman Begins was released, those three movies are generally held in high esteem for mainstreaming the idea of superheroes as serious adult entertainment. The second entry, The Dark Knight, earned Bale’s co-star Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar and is largely hailed as being responsible for the Academy Awards having up to 10 nominating slots in the Best Picture category after it was snubbed in early 2009.
Waititi and company, meanwhile, have had major recent success with Thor: Ragnarok, a groovy comedy with a cosmic bent that turned the pseudo-gravitas of previous Thor movies, or for that matter the basic default humor of all MCU movies, into something a little sillier and weirder. Considered a major auteur of the last decade himself, Waititi sandwiched Ragnarok between major creative successes like Hunt for the Wilderpeople and 2019’s Jojo Rabbit. Indeed, the latter film is poised to be a major competitor at this year’s Oscars.
Bale, whose career has flourished since Batman, has been highly selective of his roles in the last decade. Winning an Oscar in 2011 for The Fighter, he’s been nominated two more times since for The Big Short and Vice. He also followed up gaining 50 pounds to play Dick Cheney in the latter dramedy by regaining a svelte frame in order to portray race car driver Ken Miles in the 20th Century Fox box office hit, Ford v Ferrari.
Bale crossing the invisible line—at least for fans—between DC and Marvel to work with Waititi, as well as to star in an already subversive superhero movie that will see Natalie Portman become the new Thor, is quite the attention grabber. There appears to be a lot of lightning accompanying this movie’s thunder.