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Here's The Real Reason Thor Took On That New Look In Endgame

Contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame

Witnessing the death of your brother, then the deaths of billions of living things across the galaxy, and only killing the monster responsible for both acts of malevolence can really do a number on a person. 

For Thor (Chris Hemsworth), it changed nearly everything about him — most noticeably his physical appearance. In Avengers: Endgame, after watching Thanos (Josh Brolin) murder his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and snapping his fingers to halve the universe's population in Avengers: Infinity War, an enraged Thor decapitated Thanos when he realized he had used the Infinity Stones to destroy the Infinity Stones, and there was little the Avengers could do to fix things. Thor went on a bender — burying his grief in booze, sugary snacks, and video games — and came out on the other side of a five-year time jump softer, squishier, and more self-conscious. 

Chatting in an in-depth interview The New York TimesAvengers: Endgame screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus explained the real reason why Thor looked so different in the film. 

The approach McFeely and Markus took when crafting all of the surviving heroes' personal trajectories in Endgame was evocative of Marvel Comics' What If? anthology series, which explored stories set in alternate realities outside of the established lore on Earth-616. Theorizing about what would happen if the Avengers lost a major fight started during principal photography on Captain America: Civil War, which McFeely and Markus wrote. The duo crafted a "master document" that apparently detailed how each Avenger would be affected by total, seemingly irreversible defeat. 

"Chris and I wrote a master document while we were shooting Civil War, and one of the things we were interested in exploring is, remember the What If comics? Well, this is our what if. If you lost, Thor becomes fat. Natasha becomes a shut-in. Steve becomes depressed. Tony gets on with his life. Hulk is a superhero," McFeely explained, referring to Black Widow's (Scarlett Johansson) reluctance to move on with life, Captain America's (Chris Evans) loneliness, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) settling down with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and raising his daughter Morgan, and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) merging his brains with the brawn of the Jade Giant to become the much-loved Professor Hulk. 

When the time came to flesh out the characters' arcs in Avengers: Endgame, the pair originally had the idea to send Thor on a "mission of vengeance" — but that didn't sit right with them. Since the Avengers did lose the battle against Thanos and because Thor already worked toward retributive justice in Avengers: Infinity War, McFeely and Markus decided to carry out their "what if" plan and place Thor on a different path. 

"When we were spitballing for Endgame, we started with, Thor's on a mission of vengeance. And then we were like, he was on a mission of vengeance in the last movie. This is all this guy ever does! And fails, all the time," said Markus. "Let's drive him into a wall and see what happens." McFeely added, "He just got drunk and fat."

In McFeely and Markus' eyes, Thor's transition from muscle-bound god of thunder at the start of Endgame to beer-bellied "Lebowski" for most of the movie's runtime then back to the lightning-wielding, hammer-swinging (but still chubby) hero at the very end means that he received "two movies' worth of story." As Markus noted, "For a guy people once thought of as boring, he's become very useful."

Thor's new look in Avengers: Endgame split fans into those who thought it was funny, those who didn't find it funny at all, those who raised issue over his larger size that resulted from deep pain being used as a punchline, and those who had mixed feelings about the movie "completely regress[ing] Thor's character development for the sake of humor and downplay[ing] his depression for laughs."

Reactions aside, an important question remains: Will "Fat Thor" make a return appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? 

It's a toss-up for now. 

The final moments of Endgame sent Thor off on a brand-new mission, joining the Guardians of the Galaxy and fake-fighting with Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) over who's the real leader of the team, so it seems apparent that the god of thunder could play a role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Whether he'll revert back to the body with six-pack abs and bulging biceps for the third Guardians movie is a mystery for the time being. And in the grand scheme of things, his appearance may not matter all that much. As he proved in Endgame, Thor can still kick all kinds of butt with some extra meat on his bones. No matter what Thor looks like moving forward, we just hope he can forgive himself for what happened in Infinity War, start his personal healing process, and ditch his tendencies to trash-talk other players on Fortnite