“Thor: Love And Thunder” Drops An Electrifying 1st Teaser Trailer

I’m truly sorry to all the straight guys out there who missed the memo, but Thor belongs to the gays and the girls now. And before you come at me like “what memo? I didn’t get a memo!”, well, you did, you just didn’t realize at the time that Cate Blanchett strutting around in a black bodysuit and antlers throughout the entirety of Thor: Ragnarok meant that the straights had officially lost custody of the franchise. It’s okay though, you had your shot, you gave us those two depressingly heteronormative Thor movies that nobody liked or watched, now it’s time for you to move over and let Taika Waititi show you how it’s done, AGAIN.

Thor Love And Thunder
Peter Quill and Thor | gameinformer.com

Waititi has been on a roll recently, and it’s in no small part thanks to the loyal queer fanbase he’s amassed. A fourth season of his extremely pansexual paranormal comedy series What We Do In The Shadows has already been shot, and will likely release later this year. The first season of HBO Max’s Our Flag Means Death, a show about queer pirates in the 18th century which Waititi produced and stars in, has been dominating the streaming charts. And Thor: Love And Thunder is only a hundred days from release, and looks to be another surefire hit for Waititi and Marvel with its colorful 80’s aesthetics, zany new characters, and heavy focus on romances – including some queer ones.

There are at least three canonically queer characters in this film, and of those three, King Valkyrie is the one whom we know for a fact will be confirmed as queer onscreen. Technically, actress Tessa Thompson has been playing her as bisexual since her debut in Thor: Ragnarok, but explicit evidence of her bisexuality was left on the cutting-room floor because apparently it distracted from vital exposition…which sounds an awful lot like an excuse to me, but thankfully, King Valkyrie will return in a much larger role in Thor: Love And Thunder, and Thompson has stated as far back as 2018 that her character “needs to find her queen”.

Unsurprisingly, there have been several willing volunteers for that position already, including Jaimie Alexander (the MCU’s Lady Sif) and Brie Larson (whose Captain Marvel is heavily implied to be queer as it is). But in the brief glimpse we catch of King Valkyrie in the first teaser trailer for Love And Thunder, she appears to be merely daydreaming of her many suitors. Dressed in a fashionable black pinstripe suit, she leans back in the throne of New Asgard and zones out while being heckled by ambassadors from other nations. I confess, I’m actually interested to learn more about how New Asgard interacts with the world (i.e. do they participate in Eurovision?), but I would have liked to see her in a less formal setting for this trailer, perhaps even on a date.

Then there’s Korg and Peter Quill, and in both cases the comic versions of these characters are canonically queer while the MCU versions are not…or at least, not yet. To be fair, Quill was only finally confirmed as bisexual in the comics within the last two years, so it’s not like the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies released in 2014 and 2017 had any precedent for making the character bi (not that that should have stopped them, obviously). But now that such a precedent exists, it’s impossible for me to watch this teaser and simply ignore or overlook the implications behind Peter Quill’s subtly flirtatious interactions with Thor.

If only it weren’t equally impossible to be optimistic, given Disney and Marvel’s track-record when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation. Trust me, I desperately want to read way too much into Quill and Thor’s dialogue in this teaser, and the recent reports that Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 filmed scenes in a gay bar, and the tweets about Quill being bi that Guardians director James Gunn liked last year, but I can’t, or at least I don’t want to, because at the end of the day Quill is a male action hero in a franchise where male action heroes are designed to be salivated over by straight men specifically.

Also, with Chris Pratt continuing to attend and defend an evangelical church that supported the torture of LGBTQ+ people under the guise of “conversion therapy”, I’m not sure if I actually trust him to portray Peter Quill’s bisexuality well, nor do I think it would be received well by the bisexual community regardless. Yeah, it would be cool to have a lead male character in a Marvel movie be revealed as bi, but is it worth it if we have to put up with Chris Pratt either complaining bitterly about it, or worse, using it as a flimsy shield against criticisms of him and his homophobic church? I think I might rather just keep the two queer male action heroes we currently have in the MCU proper.

As for Korg, the friendly rock-giant has previously appeared in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame, but what’s never been mentioned – even in passing – is the fact that he’s a gay character in the comics. I believe there’s a slim chance that this will be remedied in Thor: Love And Thunder through some off-hand line of dialogue, although Waititi has already confirmed that Korg will not have a love interest in the new movie.

I mentioned that there at least three canonically queer characters in Love And Thunder, and we’ve now gone through all of those – but there’s a few more that I want to talk about, because we know from the teaser trailer that Thor will visit Mount Olympus, the domain of the Greek gods, and…well, if you know anything about Greek mythology, you know where I’m going with this. For those who don’t know, the Greek gods were unapologetically pansexual, long before the word even existed. That includes Zeus, who is set to make his MCU debut in Love And Thunder, portrayed by Russell Crowe. There’s a quick shot of him in the teaser trailer, dressed all in gold and holding aloft a lightning-bolt while addressing the gods of Mount Olympus.

Thor Love And Thunder
Jane Foster | polygon.com

Unfortunately for Zeus and probably 99.9% of everyone assembled in that crowd shot, the antagonist of Love And Thunder is none other than Gorr the God-Butcher, who has made it his mission to slaughter every deity from every pantheon, no matter how minor. But even if Zeus doesn’t make it out of this movie alive (and let’s be honest, he probably won’t), there are theories and credible rumors that his son, Hercules, will live to fight another day. Granted, there were also rumors he was the lead character of Eternals, which turned out to be…not true, but he’s the type of character I could easily envision first appearing in a Love And Thunder post-credits scene, clambering out of the rubble of Olympus and turning dramatically towards the camera.

He’s also bisexual in the Marvel Comics – and no, before you ask, I’m not referring to the parallel universe version of Hercules who dated a parallel universe version of Wolverine back in the mid-2010’s, I’m actually referring to the Earth 616 version of Hercules (i.e. the main version of the character) who recently started dating Noh-Varr and was implied to have slept with Northstar as far back as 2010. That Hercules.

So we’ve established that most of the supporting cast in Love And Thunder is, if not canonically queer, then at the very least potentially queer. But what about Thor himself? What about Jane Foster? Do they both just give off intense amounts of bisexual energy, or is there more to it than that?

To the best of my knowledge, neither character is queer in the comics, and while this should probably go without saying, the MCU versions of the characters have never been depicted as queer either. They were written to be star-crossed lovers in the first two Thor films, although it was never entirely clear why – Natalie Portman appeared to be bored out of her mind every time she had to act alongside Chris Hemsworth, and Hemsworth just looked uncomfortable and indifferent. But at the time, every other male action hero in the MCU had an intelligent girlfriend to counterbalance “his brawn with her brains”, and Thor apparently needed one too.

Natalie Portman wisely got out of the franchise before a male director could kill off her character for shock value, and the in-universe excuse for her absence in Thor: Ragnarok was that Jane broke up with Thor somewhere along the line, and it was messy, and they don’t talk to each other anymore. I don’t think they’ll get back together in Love And Thunder, either. There will probably be some romantic and sexual tension between them still (although Portman and Hemsworth need to put some effort into delivering on that front), but I feel pretty certain that by the end of this film the two characters will part amicably, as friends or frenemies, after finally acknowledging and owning up to their mistakes.

There’s a distinct possibility that Jane will also become Valkyrie’s queen, which could be interesting; we know next to nothing about her, so who’s to say she’s not bisexual? That could be something she discovered after breaking up with Thor, or it could be part of why she chose to break up with him in the first place. Thor has been on a journey of self-discovery these past few years, so he can certainly relate.

In fact, Thor might be able to relate on multiple levels. In that aforementioned flirty moment with Peter Quill, it’s Thor who repeatedly tries to lock eyes with Quill while he’s talking about…looking people you love in the eyes. Quill breaks eye-contact and clarifies that he wasn’t talking about himself, leading to an awkward and very intriguing moment in which Thor bites his lip, looks off to the side, and mumbles “What? Just listening”. It might just be a joke that uses homoeroticism as a punchline, which would be disappointing, but fans got very excited about the idea of Thor having a crush on Quill.

(That being said, the claim that was going around social media yesterday that “Thor is canonically pansexual in the comics” is totally false, and I don’t know where that originated but I couldn’t find any source for it. You want to headcanon him as pansexual, be my guest, but don’t go around saying that he is and praising Marvel for it or attacking other people for saying he’s bisexual).

Thor Love And Thunder
Thor | thedisneyblog.com

So is Thor: Love And Thunder about to be the gayest movie that Marvel has ever made? You’d better believe it. Is the bar for mainstream LGBTQ+ representation depressingly low? Absolutely. Is this a textbook example of fans (like myself) creating the representation we seek, and doing Marvel’s job for them? Possibly. I have a limited but not insubstantial amount of faith in Taika Waititi to give us representation onscreen, or at the very least to tell us what he wasn’t allowed to show us, and I hope Marvel’s promises regarding better LGBTQ+ representation aren’t entirely empty, but it’s difficult not to be cynical, and I understand the benefits of being cynical.

I won’t say “wait to see the movie”, because I hate that studios are able to lure fans into the theater on the promise of representation alone, but for now I guess let’s just hope for the best.

Trailer Rating: 9.5/10

Thor: Love And Thunder Villain Gorr The God-Butcher Is Absolutely Terrifying

While it certainly wasn’t the biggest reveal from the crowded Disney Investors Meeting on Thursday, the confirmation of the Thor: Love And Thunder main villain was still pretty huge news for Marvel Comics fans – and exactly the type of thing I couldn’t wait to write about, because I love few things more than extensively researching obscure Marvel deep lore. And Gorr the God-Butcher is one of the most fascinating villains in the comics: a terrifying, complex, tragic Shakespearean figure…who just happens to also be an immortal mutant alien symbiotically fused with a cosmic death sword.

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Gorr | comicbook.com

Academy Award-winner Christian Bale is officially attached to play Gorr, joining Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor, and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, in the fourth (and until further notice, final) installment in the long-running franchise. We still don’t know how director Taika Waititi was able to land an actor of Bale’s caliber for this role, but I have a few guesses. Firstly, it goes without saying that Waititi is one of the most creative, inventive, and unique filmmakers working today. He was able to nab Cate Blanchett for the super-campy role of the goddess Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, before he was even fully established in Hollywood. Secondly, methinks the character of Gorr could be achieved at least partly via practical effects, as we know Bale loves his transformative roles, and physically becoming a literal alien could be his most shocking metamorphosis yet. And thirdly, the character of Gorr has a fascinating backstory that seems like juicy material for a dramatic actor.

Gorr first appeared in 2013, during Jason Aaron’s tenure writing Thor. The ageless alien being hails from a tumultuous planet traumatized by eternal war, famine, plague, and chaos. On this planet, as you might expect, the population spends most of their time praying to their gods for aid – to no avail, as Gorr personally loses his parents, wife, and all but one of his children to various disasters. Having lost all faith in the hope of gods, Gorr flees into the wilderness with his last surviving son, only to accidentally discover that the gods are real after coming across Knull, a primordial deity of darkness. Gorr’s lack of faith turns into an undying hatred of all gods who ignore the prayers of their worshipers, and he quickly kills Knull and takes All-Black the Necrosword, Knull’s powerful weapon, as his own. Armed with All-Black (quite literally, since the sword is symbiotic and fuses into his body), Gorr travels the universe, hunting gods and slaughtering them one-by-one. He meets his match in Thor, whom he initially tries to kill in the 9th Century and many times afterwards – but the cause of his downfall is none other than his own son, Agar, who tells Gorr that, in his quest to exterminate the gods, he has himself become one: the God of Hypocrisy.

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Gorr | comicbook.com

Because we’re talking about comics here, Gorr doesn’t stay dead for long. His spirit lives on in All-Black, and he gets resurrected again, pursuing Thor and Loki for vengeance. But his best story remains his original appearance, which gives him a surprising amount of depth, and provides the perfect basis for Thor: Love And Thunder‘s adaptation of the character. Knowing Taika Waititi, I expect him to give Gorr just a little more flair than in the comics (perhaps a morbid sense of humor), but that’s not the only thing that might have to change.

For one thing, we’ll necessarily have to see Gorr kill some gods for him to appear truly threatening – but most of the Asgardian pantheon (with the exception of Thor, Loki, and Valkyrie) are already dead, thanks to Hela’s purge of Asgard during Ragnarok. A possible solution to this problem would be to bring back Hela, and have her fill the Knull role and/or be one of Gorr’s targets. There’s a storyline in the comics where she sets up a casino in Las Vegas and hosts extravagant parties for villains: that sounds exactly like something Taika Waititi would love, and it would make for an awesome set-piece if Gorr crashed the party and dueled Hela to the death. We could also see Gorr go after the Eternals, who will have been introduced to the MCU by that point: they’re basically gods anyway, and so far they’re most closely linked to the Thor mythos in the comics. I’ve always wondered how they’ll be incorporated into the broader universe, but having Thor team up with them to defeat Gorr is definitely one possibility. It’s also been theorized that Gorr will be tracking Star-Lord, who is technically the demigod son of a Celestial (remember that major plotpoint that’s never been addressed since?), which would explain why Chris Pratt supposedly joined the cast a few months ago.

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Star-Lord | mewallpaper.com

I also doubt that Gorr and Thor will have as long a history together as they did in the comics. MCU Thor has been alive for over a thousand years, but it seems completely out of character for him to have battled Gorr during his youth and won (he was a boisterous, hotheaded idiot right up until the first Avengers movie). And having Gorr be one of Odin’s many secrets feels redundant. It would make a lot more sense for Gorr to first appear in the modern day (perhaps his family were snapped out of existence by Thanos, and he sets off on his vengeful murder spree before they get snapped back by Tony Stark?).

Even with these changes, the story of Gorr is still a great one: and I think it’s pretty clear why Christian Bale would be attracted to this role. The God-Butcher could easily rank alongside Thanos, Killmonger, Hela and Loki as the greatest MCU villains of all time if done well: and if this is the final Thor movie (I’m not saying it is, but it could be), then it only makes sense to go out on a high note.

What do you think? Are you excited for Christian Bale’s version of Gorr? Share your own thoughts, theories, and opinions, in the comments below!

Is There Any Chance Of Hela Returning?

It’s time for a Marvel theory, because we haven’t done one in a little while, and because I don’t really know what there is to say about the fact that a Love, Simon series is coming to Disney+, and I don’t want to get embroiled in the catastrophic mess that is Disney’s live-action Mulan, unless I absolutely have to. So, instead, let’s talk about something nice – the Goddess of Death.

The last time we saw Marvel’s iteration of the iconic villainess Hela (portrayed by legendary actress Cate Blanchett), she was being crushed under the weight of the fiery giant Surtur, and the crumbling wreckage of Asgard at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. As if that wasn’t enough, the entire planet around her then blew up, to the point where it would be entirely possible to ever rebuild, at least according to Korg, the helpful blue rock-monster. So, the general consensus among fans is that whatever remains of Hela is floating somewhere in the frozen void of space. But is it that simple?

According to Cate Blanchett, the character doesn’t have to be permanently dead, and she’s perfectly willing to reprise the role, if director Taika Waititi allows. What with everything else supposedly going on in the fourth Thor movie, Thor: Love And Thunder (two versions of Thor, Valkyrie looking for a girlfriend, possibly a last hurrah from Loki himself)┬áit might be difficult to find a place for the Ragnarok villain, but there’s a few ways that it could work.

Firstly, there wouldn’t need to be any elaborate explanation for how she survived. She’s the Goddess of Death. Maybe she physically can’t die – and if she did, wouldn’t that pose a problem for all the dishonorable dead, who would now lack an overlord? Is her fiefdom now leaderless? What’s happening down in Hel? Honestly, it’s better to just say that Hela survived the destruction of Asgard, fled back to Hel (since she wouldn’t have anywhere else to go), and is now either scheming over some new plan, or has begrudgingly made peace with Thor, her younger brother – even though she kind of killed a large part of his population, cut out his eye, destroyed his homeland and set into motion the tragic events of Avengers: Infinity War. It’s not hard to imagine: take a look at Hela’s Wikipedia page and count how many times people are being brought back to life either by her, or because of her.

So what would she be up to, in the post-Endgame world? Well, it’s obviously too late to have her fill the role of Mistress Death, Thanos’ one true love and divine muse; something that fans had wanted to see. But she could have a few tricks up her sleeve, still.

The one that seems most likely to me, not only because it’s fun but because this is a Taika Waititi movie, and that man is absolutely insane (in a good way), is a storyline from some of the more recent Thor comics, in which the Goddess of Death sets up shop in Las Vegas, Nevada, opening a lair for criminals called the Inferno Club – not to be confused with the Hellfire Club, also from Marvel comics. Here, Hela has met and plotted with some of the greatest villains in the cosmos, including Loki, Mephisto, and even Dormammu (remember him, from Doctor Strange?). Her stories on earth have mostly revolved around her trying to foil the plans of the New Mutants, including Magik and Dani Moonstar, so it provides an opportunity for some X-Men cameos or namedrops. And who wouldn’t pay the price of admission just to see Cate Blanchett, decked out in the character’s campy black-and-green attire and lofty antlers, managing a casino?

As for how she could be tied into the plot, well, that might rely on everyone’s favorite God of Mischief, who may or may not be returning for the final Thor film. If he does come back, it will be a very different Loki than the one who was killed by Thanos in Infinity War: this Loki would be the one who escaped through an alternate reality in Endgame, still very much a villain – i.e., the exact type of person who would get lured into Hela’s club, and who might even strike a deal with his evil sister, if he hasn’t reformed by that time.

So there you have it: a perfectly good, and perfectly Waititi, way to bring the Goddess of Death back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What do you think? Will Blanchett make a return to the role? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

LGBTQ Diversity In Marvel Phase 4!

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe gears up for Phase 4, a variety of things have been revealed about the upcoming slate of movies and streaming shows they’ll be offering in the next two years: so far, we’ve got a general idea of what to expect from the fourth phase – it’s going to be absolutely insane, it’s going to be cosmic in scale, and it will be very diverse. Diverse in this case can mean two things: a general diversity of storytelling styles ranging from raw psychological thrillers (Black Widow) to absurdist comedies (Thor: Love And Thunder) – and a diversity of cast and crew, with an incredible number of minority groups being represented in mainstream superhero films. While a discussion about the diversity of filmmaking styles being used in Phase 4 would be very interesting and engrossing (Eternals will be shot on 16mm Ektachrome??), we’re going to focus on the latter meaning of the word for today’s post.

According to multiple outlets, Marvel may soon add a transgender superhero to its Phase 4 roster: an impressive roster already, one that includes at least three female directors, two or more female-led projects, Marvel’s first Asian-led film and Asian-American director, first deaf superheroine, and two or more LGBTQ characters.

While this new superhero’s name has not yet been revealed, it seems Marvel is looking for a transwoman actress to play her, under the code name “Jessica”. The rumors don’t even begin to suggest what film she might appear in, whether it’s one in Phase 4 or possibly Phase 5, which kicks off in 2022. Interestingly, though, this news story comes hard on the heels of speculation about one of Marvel’s other characters who might be on the LGBTQ spectrum – Ikaris.

Now, technically, in the comics, Ikaris is actually a straight cisgender male: but it seems that Marvel is looking to change that and possibly announce that Ikaris is a gay character – while, at the same time, Richard Madden, who will portray Ikaris in Eternals, will publicly come out as gay (there’s been lots of rumors about Madden himself in recent years). Talk about a publicity stunt! There’s just one thing that’s been nagging people about this: in the comics, Ikaris is probably most notable for his romance with the female sorceress Sersi, who has not yet been cast for Eternals: people have already begun to speculate that, since Ikaris might be gay, Sersi could be genderbent to be a male. This probably doesn’t have anything to do with the rumors about a transgender superhero, but it’s worth noting as another step forward for LGBTQ diversity (or is that a step forward? I can only imagine the controversy that would ensue if Sersi was genderbent to be a male).

As for who “Jessica” might be, it seems from the reports that she might be one of Marvel Comics’ only transgender characters – Sera, a supporting character in the Thor mythos: Sera started life as a male angel trapped within the Tenth Realm of Yggdrasil, but she identified as female; she was eventually rescued from her imprisonment by Thor’s sister Angela, who then became her love interest for a time. There’s a whole bunch of interesting stuff that could be done with the Tenth Realm, Heven, and the characters of Sera and Angela – not least of which is the possibility of Sera becoming the “queen” that bisexual heroine Valkyrie is apparently searching for in Thor: Love And Thunder. Unless that’s Angela? Or Jane Foster Thor? Jamie Alexander announced on Twitter last night that she wants to be Valkyrie’s queen, but, let’s face it, Lady Sif isn’t coming back.

LGBTQ Diversity In Marvel Phase 4! 1
nerdist.com

With so many possible LGBTQ storylines to choose from, which do you want Marvel to prioritize – and who else should come out in future movies? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!