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Thor: Love And Thunder - What We Know So Far

Another Asgardian flick is on the way, with "Thor: Love and Thunder" set to be one of 2022's biggest blockbusters. The Marvel Cinematic Universe's 29th film makes history at Marvel Studios, marking the first time a character has gotten a fourth solo movie. Chris Hemsworth debuted as the God of Thunder back in 2011, and if the actor gets his way, he'll continue with his MCU role forever.

The newest Phase 4 film follows "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," making "Thor: Love and Thunder" the second MCU film of 2022. The second "Doctor Strange" didn't give us any hints about what we can expect from the fourth "Thor" film, as Phase 4 films seem to be standing on their own — for now. However, there is plenty we do know about "Thor: Love and Thunder," thanks to a teaser and official first trailer, plus plenty of interviews from the cast and crew. Here's everything you need to know about the new film before trekking out to theaters later this summer.

When will Thor: Love and Thunder arrive in theaters?

In a universe where COVID-19 never happened, we would have already seen "Thor: Love and Thunder" by now. At 2019's San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige revealed during the Marvel Studios panel that the fourth "Thor" film would premiere on November 5, 2021. Thanks to delays from the pandemic, that date ended up going to "Eternals." "Thor: Love and Thunder" was pushed back multiple times, first to February 18, 2022 (per The Wrap). Shortly after that switch, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the movie was bumping up one week earlier to February 11. But Marvel Studios wasn't done yet.

According to Variety, "Thor: Love and Thunder" was moved to May 6 (the eventual release date of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness") before finally landing on July 8. This date is as set in stone as it ever will be, so mark your calendars for the second Friday of July — or July 7 if you're lucky enough to get out on a Thursday to catch a preview.

Chris Hemsworth returns for his fourth Thor film

As if there were any doubt, Chris Hemsworth is returning in "Thor: Love and Thunder" to play the titular hero. This marks the Aussie's ninth MCU film appearance, which includes his small cameo in "Doctor Strange." While that's a whopping amount of MCU flicks, it still puts him behind Stan Lee (22), Samuel L. Jackson (11), Chris Evans (11), and Robert Downey Jr. (10) for the most movie appearances — cameos and all.

If Hemsworth is to be taken at his word, "Thor: Love and Thunder" will not be his retirement movie. In an interview with Elle Man (via CinemaBlend), the actor joked that his character is far too young for him to consider leaving the MCU. "Are you crazy?! I'm not going into any retirement period (laughs). Thor is far too young for that. [He] is only 1500 years old! It is definitely not a film that I say goodbye to this brand. At least I hope so," the actor noted.

We'll have to wait and see if Thor makes it out of his fourth film alive before we predict the character's future. We don't think anyone would be disappointed to have Hemsworth stick around in the MCU for as long as possible.

Natalie Portman returns to the Thor franchise

While Chris Hemsworth's return in "Thor: Love and Thunder" is to be expected, the announcement that Natalie Portman would be returning to the MCU in the film was quite the shock. The news of the actress's return came during the Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019 (per Deadline). While on stage, director Taika Waititi introduced Portman to the Hall H crowd, saying she was the only person who could play Female Thor in "Thor: Love and Thunder."

Portman's last MCU appearance came in "Avengers: Endgame," although she never showed up to the set, according to People. Old footage of Jane Foster was recycled from "Thor: The Dark World" and used. The sequel marks the last time Portman filmed for Marvel Studios, as she did not appear in "Thor: Ragnarok." Her absence in that film is explained when a passerby mentions to Thor that Jane had broken up with him. Variety reported the off-screen reason was that Portman was disappointed with "Thor: The Dark World" and was perturbed when original director Patty Jenkins left the project.

The past is the past, and Portman is back and better than ever in "Thor: Love and Thunder," playing a different version of the god who fans are sure to love.

Tessa Thompson is back as King Valkyrie

"Thor: Love and Thunder" will be Tessa Thompson's third go-round as Valkyrie after debuting in "Thor: Ragnarok" and fighting at the Battle of Earth in "Avengers: Endgame." The last we saw of Valkryie was after Thanos (Josh Brolin) was defeated in the fourth "Avengers" film. She says goodbye to Thor, who informally declares her the new king of Asgard. At the aforementioned Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, Thompson revealed that one of Valkyrie's first orders of business would be to find her queen (via CinemaBlend).

This makes Valkyrie's return in "Thor: Love and Thunder" all the more important, as MCU fans will finally see a relationship between two LGBTQIA characters. Thompson noted her excitement about this plot point when catching up with The Wrap earlier this year. "We talk so much about representation and obviously, in terms of the LGBTQIA community, there's still so much work to be done," she said. "Unfortunately, there's not a lot of time invested in love stories in Marvel movies in general. I think that will be a little different on the new 'Thor,' which is exciting. And getting to play a character that historically is not written for somebody that looks like me, all of that felt exciting."

Christian Bale joins the MCU as Gorr the God Butcher

In January 2020, Collider reported Christian Bale was in talks to join "Thor: Love and Thunder." 11 months later, Marvel Studios confirmed on Twitter that the Academy Award winner would be portraying the villainous Gorr the God Butcher. The actor has stayed silent on his role in the upcoming film, only heightening the mystery about his character. Taika Waititi had some interesting comments regarding Bale's Gorr, however. "In my humble opinion, we have probably the best villain that Marvel's ever had in Christian Bale," Waititi told AP when discussing the "Thor: Love and Thunder" cast.

While the news of Bale joining an MCU project was quite the shock, the actor's resume proves he won't shy away from a superhero flick. The actor famously played Batman in Christopher Nolan's highly-praised "Dark Knight" trilogy from 2005 to 2012. Despite those cringy voice performances, Bale was lauded for his portrayal of the Caped Crusader and Bruce Wayne.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" will show us Bale on the opposite side of the superhero spectrum, playing one heck of a baddie.

Russell Crowe is Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder

According to Deadline, Russell Crowe's involvement in "Thor: Love and Thunder" was supposed to be a secret. Unfortunately, the actor was spotted out one too many times in Australia with several other cast members, and the cat was out of the bag. His inclusion in the film was confirmed in March 2021, and his role was later revealed by the actor himself. While chatting with an Australian radio show (via People), Crowe said he had to leave to head to a studio.

"Now, I'm gonna get on my bicycle, I'm gonna ride up to Disney-Fox studios ... and round about 9:15, I shall be Zeus in Thor 4," Crowe surprisingly admitted. "It's my last day of Zeus-ing about." While we can't be certain if he pulled a Tom Holland or Mark Ruffalo, it did seem like his Zeus admission was a slip-up. Like Christian Bale, Crowe's entrance into the MCU is preceded by time working on a DC project. The Oscar-winning actor played Jor-El, the father of Kal-El (aka Superman), in 2013's "Man of Steel."

We're not sure how big of a role Zeus will play in "Thor: Love and Thunder," but Crowe certainly embraces the character. The actor changed his Twitter avatar shortly after the film's first official trailer dropped, with a screenshot of him as Zeus.

The Asgardians of the Galaxy will return

As with many Phase 3 MCU films and beyond, this fourth "Thor" solo flick serves as a superfriend team-up of sorts. "Thor: Love and Thunder" will feature a majority of the Guardians of the Galaxy. When we last saw the team, they were in the Benatar after the Battle of Earth in "Avengers: Endgame." Thor joined them on board, where Peter "Star-Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt) and the Asgardian bantered over who was in charge. The Asgardians of the Galaxy were born, and for all we know, Thor has been traveling across the universe with his new pals in the meantime.

Vin Diesel was the first to note the Guardians' involvement in "Thor: Love and Thunder" to Comicbook.com in early 2020 and quickly noted he probably shouldn't have revealed it. Based on what we see in the trailer and teaser for the film, it looks like all the Guardians are back except for Gamora (Zoe Saldana). The galaxy's deadliest assassin is currently in hiding after time traveling from 2014 to 2023 in "Avengers: Endgame." Star-Lord, Groot (Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) all appear in the previews, as does Ravager Kraglin (Sean Gunn).

We don't expect the Guardians to take center stage in "Thor: Love and Thunder," as it's suspected they will play a role in just the first act. This is hinted at in the official trailer, where it looks like Thor and the intergalactic heroes go their separate ways.

Jaimie Alexander returns as Lady Sif

Another former "Thor" and "Thor: The Dark World" star is returning after missing "Thor: Ragnarok." Deadline broke the news of Jaimie Alexander's inclusion in "Thor: Love and Thunder" in December 2020, revealing that the actress was returning to the franchise as Lady Sif. While Alexander has been on a lengthy break from the MCU, she did return as Sif in Episode 4 ("The Nexus Event") of "Loki," when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was sent to relive one moment from his life over and over again on a time loop. This loop featured Sif punching him in the face after she got a bad haircut. Alexander also voiced Lady Sif in Episodes 3 ("What If... The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?") and 7 ("What If... Thor Were an Only Child?") of the Disney+ series "What If...?"

After Episode 4 of "Loki" aired, Alexander took to Instagram to proudly declare Lady Sif was back, adding that she was here to stay. While Marvel Studios never confirmed Deadline's initial claim of Alexander's "Thor: Love and Thunder" casting, many fans took her Instagram post as a guarantee, according to ComicBook.com. Whether Lady Sif will stick around past "Thor: Love and Thunder" remains to be seen.

Who else is in the cast of Thor: Love and Thunder?

Matt Damon confirmed his return to the MCU in "Thor: Love and Thunder" on The Jess Cagle Show in 2021. "We were kind of reprising a cameo that we, that Luke Hemsworth and I did in the last one ... Taika [Waititi] had us back again, to kind of run that joke back and upgrade it a little bit," the actor said. This means Damon is back to play Actor Loki, a character he made famous in a hilarious "Thor: Ragnarok" cameo. Luke Hemsworth will be back too as Actor Thor, but the cameos don't stop there.

Also returning is Sam Neill, who played Actor Odin in "Thor: Ragnarok." A "Thor: Love and Thunder" update account (not endorsed by Marvel Studios) on Twitter shared some leaked set photos which showed the "Jurassic Park" actor in full Odin gear. With these three stars returning, we suspect we'll get another Asgardian play — this time perhaps about the events of "Thor: Ragnarok." 

This means we'd need a Hela. While still unconfirmed, it looks like Melissa McCarthy will be playing Actor Hela. The Daily Mail shared photos of the actress on the "Thor: Love and Thunder" set sporting a costume that looks an awful lot like Hela's (Cate Blanchett) from "Thor: Ragnarok." These photos landed three months after McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, shared a pretend audition tape on Instagram asking Taika Waititi if they could be in "Thor: Love and Thunder."

Taika Waititi is back helming his second MCU film

As previously mentioned, Taika Waititi is back in the director's chair for "Thor: Love and Thunder." The filmmaker became a household name after saving the "Thor" franchise with "Thor: Ragnarok" in 2017. Waititi managed to bring color, laughter, and a solid story to the Asgardian world, which makes his return to "Thor 4" no surprise.

Waititi is approaching "Love and Thunder" differently than "Ragnarok" though. When catching up with Entertainment Weekly, the director admitted he didn't want to make the same MCU film a second time. "'Ragnarok' felt a bit like a party," Waititi told the outlet. "It was quite festive. This one is still fun, and it's got moments of being over the top, but thematically, it's about something a bit deeper than the last film. It's not a serious film, and it's not a drama, but we do deal with ideas that I think a lot of humans deal with — universal themes about love and loss and our place in the world."

He also noted that his experience with his first MCU film allowed him to shoot "Thor: Love and Thunder" in a much more efficient way. Waititi also returns in the film as Korg, the lovable Kronan we met on Sakaar in "Thor: Ragnarok."

What we learned from the Thor: Love and Thunder teaser

The first "Thor: Love and Thunder" teaser dropped in April 2022 and briefly touched on what's been going on with Thor since we last saw him. We got a brief shot of Bro Thor with his massive beer belly exercising with chains while sporting a "Strongest Avenger" trucker hat. It looks like he sheds the weight with ease, as the rest of the teaser shows him in tip-top shape.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are featured heavily in the teaser, with Star-Lord seeming annoyed with his new friend. Thor sports some Ravager-looking clothes and bids the Guardians farewell as they fly through a portal, resembling one like the space jump scene from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."

The teaser hints that "Thor: Love and Thunder" will see Thor on an emotional journey as he tries to find out who he is and what his purpose is in this universe. It looks like most of the characters are on a path to self-discovery, including Valkryie, who seems rather bored with her leadership role on New Asgard. The peacefulness of the teaser is disrupted at the end when Jane Foster claims Mjolnir, and we get our first look at Mighty Thor before the clip abruptly ends.

Even more was revealed in the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer

Following up the teaser was the first official trailer for "Thor: Love and Thunder" a month later. With 45 seconds more of content, there was a lot to unpack. While the teaser was light and airy, the trailer was a tad darker as it gave us the first look at Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher. Clearly, this guy has a grudge, but all we know from what we were shown is that he seeks to kill all gods. Gorr is one creepy-looking son-of-a-gun and looks like he'll be a worthy adversary to Thor.

Also stealing the show in the trailer is Jane Foster, who we only see in Mighty Thor gear and wielding Mjolnir. Thor is totally shocked to see his ex-girlfriend show up out of nowhere, let alone holding his beloved hammer, and it's clear there are still feelings between the two. Valkyrie picks up on this and questions Thor about what's going on between them. Mighty Thor is also shown summoning lightning in a mysterious dark hall or cave, surrounded by gold statues. The identity behind those statues is intriguing and one of the small details fans might have missed.

Additionally, the trailer takes us to Olympus, where we see Zeus (Russell Crowe) for the first time. Surrounded by women, the god has Thor chained to the floor and strips off all of his clothes, causing all those around to faint. There's also a look at Jane competing in some kind of battle on Olympus, but it appears to be for sport.

What's the deal with Mighty Thor?

During the aforementioned "Thor: Love and Thunder" panel at San Diego Comic-Con (via Films That Rock) in 2019, Taika Waititi said he read one comic book storyline while filming "Thor: Ragnarok." The director revealed that the new movie is inspired by "The Mighty Thor" from 2015. Written by Jason Aaron, the story follows Jane Foster as she becomes the Goddess of Thunder after wielding Mjolnir. Tragically, Jane also has breast cancer at this time, and every time she holds the hammer and transforms, the chemotherapy is eradicated from her body. However, Mjolnir will not eliminate the cancer from her system, meaning she significantly risks death by continuing to wield the hammer.

Despite knowing it means death, Jane transforms into the Goddess of Thunder one too many times, and she ultimately dies after defeating Asgardian threat Mangog. However, after her death, Jane refuses to go through the gates of Valhalla and is resurrected by Odin. She returns to Earth, and her cancer eventually goes into remission. Could this mean a surprise appearance by Anthony Hopkins? Odin might be gone in the MCU, but if he meets Jane at the gates of Valhalla, anything is possible.

Jane's cancer storyline has been confirmed for "Thor: Love and Thunder" thanks to the description of a replica Thor helmet that's part of the official merchandise for the film. The Direct picked up on this subtle leak, as the helmet's description reads, "Suffering from cancer, astrophysicist and Thor's ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster, visited New Asgard and her life was changed forever."

Who is Gorr anyway?

Specific plot points of "Thor: Love and Thunder" are being kept under wraps, but we can make some educated guesses about what might happen in the film based on the Marvel Comics lore. Gorr first debuted in 2012's "Thor: God of Thunder #2" making him a relatively new character considering Thor was created in 1962. Gorr had it very rough: he grew up on a nameless planet in deplorable conditions and was told his whole life that the gods would provide for him, but they never did.

Everyone close to Gorr dies tragically, including his parents, partner, and children. After living in such devastation, he assumes there is no such thing as gods and gives up on the idea. One day, he comes across two of them battling when they land on his planet. Knowing they're real, he makes it his mission to destroy every last one of them. He successfully kills many and battles Thor on several occasions, but this is where it gets interesting.

Gorr can travel the timestream thanks to obtaining the blood of the Time Gods. This allows him to battle different Thors from different universes, like Earth-14412. He also holds no special powers or abilities and can defeat gods just from thousands of years of combat experience. Those wanting to learn about Gorr ahead of "Thor: Love and Thunder" should definitely check out the entire series of "Thor: God of Thunder" comics.

Where does Thor: Love and Thunder fit in the MCU timeline?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. It's a fickle little sucker that is more confusing now than it's ever been. But whenever a new MCU project comes around, we must figure out where to squeeze it, even if it doesn't necessarily belong anywhere. Thanks to the time jump in "Avengers: Endgame," the actual Earth that we live on does not match the year of the MCU's Earth-616. As we reside in 2022, Earth's Mightiest Heroes are living somewhere in 2024 or 2025.

However, it might be easier to pin "Thor: Love and Thunder" on the timeline based on what we see in the trailer. While newer projects like "Moon Knight" and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" are a little more obscure regarding their time, the newest "Thor" film is surrounded by hints.

Thanks to the appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy, we can assume "Thor: Love and Thunder" takes place immediately after the events of "Avengers: Endgame." This likely puts us in 2023 somewhere. It's entirely possible the fourquel takes place over several months, or maybe even has a time jump of a year, but we fully expect it to pick up shortly after the Battle of Earth. A lot of Phase 4 MCU films (minus "Black Widow") happen simultaneously, so "Thor: Love and Thunder" could very well be occurring during the same time as films like "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" or "Eternals."

Who is rumored to cameo in Thor: Love and Thunder?

Being an MCU movie, "Thor: Love and Thunder" comes with dime-a-dozen fan theories and rumors. Since the project was announced, there has been much speculation about who might be popping up in the film. Cameos in the MCU are extremely hard to keep a secret these days (Think "Spider-Man: No Way Home"), so if the powers-that-be can pull off a shocking cameo, our hats off to them.

Perhaps the biggest rumored cameo is that of Ryan Gosling, who some believe is joining the MCU based on one lunch Gosling and Taika Waititi were spotted having together before filming began on "Thor: Love and Thunder". Gossip site Just Jared shared photos of the duo together in August 2019, and fans began speculating who he might play on Reddit. Beta Ray Bill's name seems to keep popping up, all via fan theory, but it's also possible Gosling isn't in this at all.

Inverse reported on some rumors, which they admitted were sketchy, that suggest Jeff Goldblum will reprise his role as the Grandmaster, and Rachel House will also be back as Topaz. Also possibly appearing is teeny tiny Throg. We got a glimpse of the amphibian in "Loki" Episode 5, which was actually a surprise Chris Hemsworth cameo.

Speaking of Loki, what about the God of Mischief? Even though he is dead in the timeline "Thor: Love and Thunder" takes place in, there are no rumors or confirmations that Tom Hiddleston will pop up in the film.