There’s no denying that when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Avengers, the ‘Big Three’ spring to most people’s minds: Iron Man, Captain America and Thor.
But considering how large the MCU has expanded over the years to include multiple new Avengers and that both Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., and Captain America, played by Chris Evans, permanently left the franchise in 2018’s Avengers: Endgame, it seems like only a matter of time before we see Chris Hemsworth as Thor for the last time.
Hemsworth will be the first actor in the MCU to star in four solo films when Thor 4, Love and Thunder is released in just a few weeks – Downey Jr., Evans and Tom Holland have starred in three solo films each (Iron Man 1, 2 & 3, Captain America 1, 2 & 3 and Spider-Man 1, 2 & 3), while Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Rudd have starred in two solo films each (Doctor Strange & Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Ant-Man & Ant-Man and the Wasp).
While the last few MCU projects have introduced new characters – like Shang Chi, Yelena, Marc Spector/Steven Grant, Kate Bishop, etc. – others focused on passing the torch… For example, after the events of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson is no longer Falcon but is the new Captain America.
Looking at the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer we can see that Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, can now wield Mjölnir and is wearing a classic ‘Mighty Thor’ getup, leading many to think that by the end of the film, Hemsworth will no longer be Thor in the MCU and Portman’s Jane will take over the mantle.
However, according to Games Radar, Taiki Waititi, the director of Thor 4 has said that while Jane is taking Thor’s hammer from him, it does not mean Thor will definitely exit the MCU.
“… It’s really fun, the idea that Thor’s got Stormbreaker – that big axe – and now his hammer’s back and it’s in the hands of someone else. It’s no longer his hammer. It’s the idea that someone’s taking his place.
I think a lot of fans are gonna potentially assume, ‘Oh okay, this is the passing on of the torch’… I’m not privy to any plans Marvel has for the future, but I don’t think that’s the case.”Taiki Waititi
Plus, in 2020 Hemsworth himself told Elle Man that Thor 4 is “definitely not” the last time he’s playing the loveable character.
“Are you crazy?! I’m not going into any retirement period. Thor is far too young for that. He’s only 1,500 years old. It’s definitely not a film that I say goodbye to this brand. At least I hope so.”Chris Hemsworth
If anything, Thor: Love and Thunder might be the last time we see Portman as Jane; Waititi did admit that the film was hugely influenced by Jason Aaron’s The Mighty Thor comic book series.
“We stick pretty closely to Jane’s storyline and what happened to Jane [in Aaron’s Mighty Thor comics]… because that was such an influence on the film. We’re trying to take the best parts of that.”Taiki Waititi
For anyone unfamiliar with The Mighty Thor comics, Jane has cancer and becomes worthy of Mjölnir – meaning she gains all the powers of Thor (as established in previous Thor comics and the MCU’s first Thor film). However, wielding the hammer actually undoes all of Jane’s chemotherapy, meaning that becoming a female Thor is extremely harmful to her.
Throughout that comic book run, Jane knew that transforming into Thor was slowly killing her and eventually realised that if she transformed one more time, she’d die. However, when a Mangog – a powerful entity – becomes a serious threat, she decides to become Thor one last time to defeat it; which she does but then she sadly dies too.
In typical comic book fashion, Jane is ultimately resurrected but the MCU could just kill her off permanently; only time will tell! In the meantime, enjoy Thor: Love and Thunder’s trailer below: