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What will Chris Hemsworth's Thor: Love and Thunder role look like?

Will the real God of Thunder please stand up? At the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige unveiled the studio's highly anticipated blueprint for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although announcements included films centered on new characters such as Eternals, the news that arguably made the biggest splash was that of Thor: Love and Thunder, arriving in November 2021, which will not only return Natalie Portman's Jane Foster to the MCU, but actually give her a chance to play the title character.

Taking inspiration from Jason Aaron's 2014 comic run, Love and Thunder will transform Foster into The Mighty Thor, with Portman admitting that she's "always had a little hammer envy." Taika Waititi, who masterfully breathed new life into the character in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, is back in the director's chair, and things are looking very promising.

However, all of this anticipation overload begs the question: how the heck does Chris Hemsworth fit into all this? It's his fourth solo outing playing the Mighty Avenger, so one would have to expect that he would still be the film's primary protagonist, right? Or could Feige and company have a different idea in mind? No one outside Marvel's inner circle really knows for sure at this point, but here's a look at the role Hemsworth's Thor could play in Love and Thunder.

Thor: God or glutton?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that the Thor in Avengers: Endgame is... eh... let's just say different from the Thor fans have grown accustomed to seeing over the past decade. Sporting a luscious gut where his sexy six-pack once was, the latest version of Asgard's former king was met with mixed reception — some people appreciated the Russo brothers' bold decision, while others were less pleased.

Like it or love it, the last time fans saw Thor, he was heading to space with the Guardians of the Galaxy... and he was still overweight (or, as Marvel has more aptly dubbed him, "Bro Thor"). So what does that mean for Thor: Love and Thunder?

On one hand, it does make sense to take the fans' criticism into consideration, which is something that Marvel has arguably done very well over the years. That being said, how exactly do you explain Thor losing his dad bod while he's in space? Is he doing pushups with Rocket on his back or something? Does Quill's ship have a secret members-only weight room in the lower level? Unless Waititi can come up with a feasible explanation for how Thor slimmed down in the time that's passed since the events of Endgame, don't be surprised to see another round of Bro Thor on the horizon.

Asgardians of the Galaxy

Speaking of the Guardians, who knows what kind of role they'll play in Thor: Love and Thunder? Although Kevin Feige did confirm that there will be a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 at some point in the future, it's clear that Thor's fourth solo outing will precede it. Considering that Thor was last seen on board the Benatar with Quill and crew, is it safe to assume that they'll also make an appearance in Thor: Love and Thunder? Chris Hemsworth's Thor fits in incredibly well alongside the likes of Chris Pratt's Star-Lord and Bradley Cooper's Rocket Raccoon, so if Marvel did decide to include an appearance from the galaxy's favorite misfits in Love and Thunder, it would no doubt be a welcome addition. 

However, given that this movie is seemingly packing in so much new material, will there be enough screentime to go around? Don't forget that in addition to Jane Foster becoming the Mighty Thor, the film will also include Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie finding a queen, thus becoming the first openly LGBTQ main character in the MCU. Thor's new space besties may need to take a breather for the time being.

Passing the axe to its rightful owner

In Avengers: Infinity War, Thor, Groot and Rocket travel to Nidavellir, where the dwarf Eitri (played by Peter Dinklage) forges a new weapon of the Thanos-killing sort: Stormbreaker. Although its creation in the MCU led to arguably the best scene in the entire series, the legendary battle axe actually has quite a different origin in the comics.

In the '80s, Walt Simonson created a character named Beta Ray Bill, a horse-faced alien who was, like Thor, capable of lifting Mjolnir. After Bill actually bested Thor in battle, Odin had the dwarves of Nidavellir craft another weapon from Uru metal for Beta Ray Bill. The resulting product was Stormbreaker.

In a 2017 interview with Crave Online (via IGN), Kevin Feige admitted that Thor: Ragnarok initially had a cameo from the infamous warrior, but it was left on the cutting room floor. "There was a Beta Ray Bill, but it was so quick that you would have the same complaints that you have now... He was in it a little bit more and it just didn't do justice. And the feeling is, if you can't do it justice, do it later." If Thor: Love and Thunder ends up being Chris Hemsworth's final outing as Thor, what better way to do Beta Ray Bill justice than by having him reclaim the weapon he's destined to wield?

Lovers and friends

You know that awkward feeling when you see an ex out in public? Imagine how much worse it would be if that ex was stealing your superpower. In Ragnarok, Thor unconvincingly claims that he "dumped" Jane when questioned by a group of adoring fans in New York. Later, one of the MCU's go-to writers, Christopher Markus, confirmed that Endgame almost featured a reunion scene with Thor and Jane. What's the deal with these star-crossed lovers?

It's no secret that Thor and Jane's relationship is considered one of the worst pairings in the MCU, most likely due to their perceived lack of romantic stakes. It also must be noted that Thor's most successful solo movie was the only one without Jane in it. Thus, is it safe to assume that Waititi is going to try a fresh new angle with the characters, since clearly their romance wasn't translating onscreen the way Marvel thought it would? The smart money is on option B. In other words, don't expect much in the way of a rekindling between these former flames — Thor: Love and Thunder should instead find Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman testing different (and altogether more combustible) forms of screen chemistry.

Who you callin' Unworthy?

In 2014's now-infamous "Original Sin" comic run, Nick Fury told Thor a secret that somehow took away his ability to lift Mjolnir. The Asgardian warrior dropped his trusty hammer on the moon, where it was eventually lifted by a cancer-ridden Jane Foster, granting her the powers (and title) of Thor. Thor's sudden "unworthiness" is what ultimately results in Jane taking up the mantle.

While this was a highly engaging twist on the page, one has to question how it would play out onscreen, especially given that we've already seen a hammerless Thor in the MCU after Hela reduced Mjolnir to crumbles in Ragnarok. Heck, come to think of it, Odin even deemed Thor unworthy of his hammer way back in Thor's first movie in 2011. Would Waititi yet again go down this seemingly well-worn path?

If Thor: Love and Thunder included yet another instance where Thor's worthiness is brought into question, there's a good chance fans might perceive that as lazy writing. We probably shouldn't count on any more "Unworthy Thor" storylines — and we're excited to see how Waititi makes Jane Foster the new God of Thunder.

Laughs and thunder

When Taika Waititi took the reins of the Thor franchise in 2017, he created a funnier, more lighthearted version of the character. Where the pre-Ragnarok God of Thunder was stoic and boastful, this new hero was down to earth and not afraid to laugh at himself. He was still a badass, sure; however, he felt more humanized.

By turning Ragnarok into a comedy, Waititi couldn't help but create some friction among the fans. However, don't expect things to change in Thor: Love and Thunder. After the sequel was announced, the writer-director was criticized on Twitter by a fan claiming that Ragnarok's comedy ruined the film, and that he hopes the next one is different. Waititi's response didn't exactly appease the request: "Sorry in advance, suckaaaaaaa."

If you've been hoping that Chris Hemsworth's Thor would return to his Dark World-era moodiness, you might be in for a disappointment. If Taika's leading the charge, you best believe that there will be laughs.

Oh brother, where art thou?

The fraternal relationship between Thor and Loki has been one of the best-developed arcs in the MCU. Tom Hiddleston's Loki evolved from enemy to ally over the course of the three previous Thor movies, and when he was offed by Thanos in the opening moments of Infinity War, audiences watched with a heavy heart.

Although the time-traveling in Endgame opened the door for more Loki in future, it sounds like he'll be limited to a series on Disney+, never making it back to the current timeline of the MCU. This means that Thor: Love and Thunder will be the first time audiences see a Loki-less Thor. How will his brother's permanent death affect the character?

On one hand, it potentially opens the door for Thor to develop such a relationship with a new character. There's always a chance that Rocket or Ragnarok standouts Miek and Korg could fill that hole, but Loki was always more than just comedic relief. Endgame explored the heavy toll that excessive loss took on Thor's psyche, and Loki is at the root of that. Has Chris Hemsworth's Thor fully come to grips with losing someone like Loki, or is a part of him still in mourning? Little brothers... can't live with them, can't live without them.

The end of a thunderous era

Will Thor: Love and Thunder mark Chris Hemsworth's final appearance in the MCU? This is perhaps the biggest question in fans' minds, as Endgame saw series regulars like Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man and Chris Evans' Captain America take their final bows. With Natalie Portman's Jane Foster taking up the mantle, now could be an appropriate time for Hemsworth to also pass the torch.

When speaking with Variety in May of 2019, Hemsworth admitted that he wasn't ready to hang up the hammer quite yet. "I'd still love to do more, to be honest... I feel like we've opened up such a different character. I feel more energized for the possibility of where it could go... But I'll use that in other places and other characters if it's the end here."

Honestly, Love and Thunder may be the best opportunity to give Hemsworth's Thor the swan song he deserves. With an impressive eight MCU films under his belt, there's no shame in saying farewell to a character audiences have come to love.