Following the introduction of new heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel on Disney+, the MCU is ready to welcome back an established hero on the big screen. Thor: Love and Thunder will release in theaters on July 8 and features an ensemble cast of notable returning characters. Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Thor, Natalie Portman returns as Jane Foster aka Mighty Thor, and Tessa Thompson returns as Valkyrie with Taika Waiti once again providing the voice acting and motion capture for Korg.
Love and Thunder will also include a brief appearance by the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as welcome Christian Bale as the villain Gorr the God Butcher. Marvel Studios is no stranger to surprise cameos and subtle easter eggs that tease the future of the franchise. While fans are eager to enjoy Love and Thunder as a standalone film, MCU enthusiasts are also eager to predict what surprises could be in store for the fourth chapter in the Thor franchise.
Thor: Love and Thunder predictions
Setting up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
The ensemble cast list boasts a number of established characters from the MCU such as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Based on trailer footage alone it's assumed that their appearance will be for only a short period of time, perhaps very early on in the film. That being said, it doesn’t mean that we won’t get a tease at what future lies ahead for the team of space heroes. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will hit theaters in May 2023 and their appearance in Love and Thunder could give a nod as to what threat the Guardians must prepare for.
The last we saw of them in Avengers: Endgame they were planning to continue their search for Gamora. Before they depart from fighting alongside Thor in this film, fans may just get an update on where they stand on their search for their absent team member.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever connection
The trailer reveals that at some part in the film our titular characters will travel to Olympus for a meeting with Zeus, King of the Greek Gods and portrayed by Russell Crowe. Officially released photos of the film show Valkyrie and Mighty Thor sitting in the crowd among fellow Gods across different mythologies, including the Goddess Bast. For MCU scholars, Bast is the ancient Egyptian Goddess that provides the Black Panther their powers.
Given that we know Gorr’s motive in attempting to kill all Gods across the universe, is there a chance that the Goddess Bast is in some type of danger? And if so, could that potentially have a ripple effect once Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases later this year? If Bast does find herself in danger, perhaps the circumstances call for her to find a new Avatar of sorts to carry the mantle, which could play into the story for the Black Panther sequel following Chadwick Boseman’s passing in 2020.
Thor gives up his powers
The second trailer for Love and Thunder started off with Korg telling a group of children about the history of the “space-viking” Thor, who was a God. The dialogue and context in this scene are interesting given the uncertainty around Chris Hemsworth’s future in the MCU. Much of the footage released so far has hinted that Thor hopes to carve his own path and bid farewell to his days as a superhero. Meanwhile, we know that in the comics storyline for Mighty Thor, the more that Jane Foster uses her powers the less effective her treatment for cancer becomes. In essence, it's her sacrifice that makes her worthy but it also is killing her.
This fact, coupled with the threat of Gorr the God Butcher, places Mighty Thor in great danger. Could this result in Thor having to make a sacrifice of some sort in order to guarantee Jane Foster’s safety? The MCU has already bid farewell to a few of the original Avengers such as Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow. Hawkeye effectively “retired” and passed on his mantle to Kate Bishop in his Disney+ series. Bruce Banner will be training She-Hulk in her own live-action series.
All of these signs point toward the MCU gradually transitioning to the next era of the MCU, and the same might be said for Thor. It remains to be seen whether a sacrifice would literally mean giving up his life, but at the very least we could see Thor relinquishing his powers to save Jane Foster. He would still be active in the MCU, but just not as we are used to seeing him.