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Who Is Zeus In The MCU?

Nobody seems exactly sure how it happened, but in the second half of April 2021, Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe let slip in a morning radio interview that he'd be playing Zeus in "Thor: Love and Thunder." Two questions immediately came to the minds of many: How is Kevin Feige going to assassinate Russell Crowe, and what's the Marvel version of Zeus all about?

If you know Zeus from Greek mythology, you've got a pretty solid primer on the Zeus from the comics. The early-days plot beats are all the same — the son of the titan Cronus, he grew up to be the king of the Olympian pantheon of gods, ruling from Olympus with a stern touch and a disciplinary lightning bolt at his fingertips. Not unlike the Norse gods already present in the MCU, Zeus and company are actually members of a hyper-advanced race of immortal beings. Their home exists in a pocket dimension, accessed through a portal on Mount Olympus.

Obviously, there's a ton of history here. Zeus begat Hercules, who would go on to become an Avenger, a Defender, and a Hero for Hire. Zeus would also team up with the Eternals during the early days of human civilization, using them as stand-ins for interactions with mortals when the Olympians were busy doing god stuff. Let's get into the deeper history of Zeus within the context of Marvel and figure out how he'll fit into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Zeus has odd beginnings in the Marvel universe

In Marvel comic book chronology, Zeus' first canonical appearance came before the company was even called Marvel Comics, in the pages of a bizarre run of books titled "Venus." The series started out as an Archie-adjacent romance comic centered around the Roman goddess of the same name, relocated to mid-20th century Earth. It would go on to become a sci-fi horror anthology book that would introduce, along with Zeus (then going by Jupiter), the original Marvel version of Loki.

From humble beginnings as a widely-worshiped god king and ancillary romance comic character, Zeus has become a Marvel universe regular, with all the abilities afforded by the title of "cosmic superhero god." He's nearly invulnerable, super strong, fast, agile, can live forever thanks to his status as a deified concept, and absolutely rocks at magic. He can teleport and fly. He shoots lightning with the best of them, and like his mythological counterpart, is an absolute creep/hit with the ladies, meaning that technically, either half of the title "Love and Thunder" could apply to him. 

While details about the character's place in the MCU proper have yet to pop up, one thing's for sure: Between a Russell Crowe performance and a Taika Waititti script, the 2022 premiere of "Thor: Love and Thunder" can't come soon enough.