The Future of Thor

Avengers Endgame is now only one sleep away Geeklings. Tonight, when yours truly goes to bed he will wake up in a world where he’ll be seeing the movie event of the year. I’m sorry to those of you who have to wait till Friday. In that case, Avengers Endgame is two sleeps away. Be strong. Me on the other hand, I’m a ball of freaking excitement.

We talked yesterday, with our New Avengers column, that there a lot of changes coming to the MCU post Endgame. This certainly feels like the end of an era for some of Marvel’s major heroes. Iron Man, Captain America, and Hawkeye are on the precipice of some major, major changes. Whether those changes are retirement or something a bit more permanent like death is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain, the MCU that follows Endgame won’t be the same MCU that built it up. Out of Marvel’s big three it would seem that the future of the God of Thunder is a bit more uncertain.

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If I was putting money on it, and I’m not because I’m a broke internet writer, I would say that out of all the MCU characters heading into Endgame that Thor is the least likely to die. Which is strange because his death would actually bring some truly powerful closure to his story arc and make me become the God of Tears. Think about it, is there a character in the MCU that has had a worst go of it lately? Let’s go through the checklist since Ragnarok. His father dies and introduces him to a sister that he banned to Hel. Cool. Turns out that sister hates everything and destroys his hammer, his home, and rips out his eye. Double cool. On top of that, Thanos attacks his ship and kills off half of the surviving citizens of Agard. Then Thanos kills Thor’s best friend and his brother. Not the same person because Loki is incapable of being anyone’s best friend. All is not lost because Thor hooks up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, obtains a new thunder ax, makes a heroic appearance in the middle of Wakanda, and fails to kill Thanos because he wanted to monologue. This, in turn, brings about The Snap which wipes out half of the population… of the universe. Including what remains of the people of Asgard. Yeah, things have been rough for Sparkle Fingers, and if anyone was going to make a grand heroic last stand it makes sense that it would be Thor.

Yet…I don’t see it happening. I think the Marvel Universe needs Thor in its life. In some capacity anyway.

Endgame is going to re-write the script. Changes are coming but you can’t change everything all at once. Fans are going to want to see some semblance of the MCU that they fell in love with once Endgame ends. Starting completely over sounds exhausting, but there are ways of keeping some of the DNA from the first three phases of the MCU and applying them to what comes next. The key to that could be Thor which is funny considering Thor, for a while, seemed like a character the MCU had no idea how to handle. Especially Joss Whedon, and while I loved both of his Avengers movies, it was clear that Whedon had no idea what to do with Odinson which is why he frequently wrote him away from the action. With all the success and praise of the MCU it seemed like they were sort of squandering one of their greatest heroes.

Until Thor Ragnarok. Taka Waititi took the third film in the franchise to completely reinvigorated the God of Thunder, and it worked tremendously. Ask any MCU you fan what their favorite Marvel movies are and you’ll find that a majority of them list Ragnarok in their top five, and for good reason. It finally gave Thor something to do and added some real depth to the character. Suddenly Thor had some real emotion and some deep personal struggles not to mention some character advancement. Dark World starts with Thor not wanting to rule Asgard and ends with him… not wanting to rule Asgard. There is no real growth within that film. Ragnarok takes that narrative and forces change within the character. It isolates him and forces him to rely on himself and his powers and not his hammer as well as thrusting him into a leadership role.

Thor’s arc in the MCU has been the avoidance of leadership. Why lead when he can just show up places, kick all the ass, have great revels, and ride his hammer to wherever he wants? That’s the life Thor wants but Ragnarok makes him grow up. When the film ends Thor is sitting on the throne, so to speak, and looking to lead what’s left of his people into the future. It’s wonderful character development that leads into some truly spectacular moments within Infinity War. Thor becomes sympathetic and a rooting interest. A God of Thunder who has feelings. Hell, when he shows up in Wakanda with Rocket and Groot I cheered in the theater. I’m not sure if I would have done that if it wasn’t for Ragnarok.

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At this point, we still don’t know how Endgame is going to turn out but I will say that no matter the outcome the MCU still needs Thor, and that can come with change though. Keep the DNA of the old MCU but also adapt to what comes next. Yes, there are rumors that Chris Hemsworth wants to do another Thor movie and there has been talk of a fourth film being pitched to Marvel. That’s great. I think another Thor movie would be tremendous, but I also believe there are other ways to keep Thor within the MCU that doesn’t necessarily mean another Chris Hemsworth Thor movie.

What if we get another Thor movie but instead of Chris Hemsworth under the mantle we have Tessa Thompson. The events of Endgame take their toll on Thor and he feels compelled to kind of re-find himself. Loki, Odin, Heimdall, the Warriors Three, and Mjolnir are all dead. Gone. We know from Thor’s pep talk with Rocket that this has all taken a heavy toll on our hero. After helping to save the universe from Thanos in Endgame, at least we hope, Thor deems Valkyrie worthy of the title of Thor and moves on. This allows us to keep a Thor within the MCU and kind of follows comic continuity. Sure, it should be Jane Foster who becomes the next Thor but it felt that Ragnarok made a stronger case for Valkyrie, and I’m all for it. She can join the New Avengers with Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Spider-Man and be their Thor. And it’ll be awesome. On top of that, Marvel can use some strong female heroes and this opens the door to that. Valkyrie’s Thor story could be one of redemption as she searches to atone for all she lost at the hands of Hela.

Now that allows us to keep a Thor within the MCU but what’s to come of Odinson? Well, as my friend Ken pointed out, he’s already displayed quite the chemistry with the Guardians of the Galaxy why not make him a member of the team for a while. At least until he figures out what he wants to do with his life. Thor can be a part of the team, hang out with Rabbit and Tree, get into some space adventures before showing up again in a new Asgard with Valkyrie. It’ll be great! I’d pay good money to see Thor and Star Lord continuously butt heads and I think you would be too.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have had a number of rotating new members in the comics so this would stay loyal to the source material. Heroes like Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Agent Venom, and Ant-Man have all been members of the Guardians at one time or another. It would make perfect sense for Thor to join the team especially with his ties to the cosmic areas of the Marvel Universe. It allows Phase Four to keep some of the original MCU while also being something completely unique and fun. The Guardians movies play heavily on emotions and this new Thor would fit right in as he struggles to find meaning. I’m here for it.

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Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of potential and excitement especially with the Disney acquisition of Fox. And while we look towards the future for our heroes, I think it’s more than okay to hold on to some elements of the past. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is one of the elements that should continue on. We just discovered his potential, I’m not ready to say goodbye to that just yet.

What do you think Geeklings? Would you be happy to see Thor continue on in the MCU? Would you be happy if Valkyrie became the new Thor? What would you like to see happen to the Odinson next? Sound off in the comments or throw me a line over on Twitter @iamgeek32. Let’s figure out if Phase Four has room for the God of Hammers.

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