I am Thor Odinson. King of a broken Asgard. Last of all the gods. And today I will try yet again to see Valhalla. I vaguely remember how this started, so long ago, with a dead god floating in the sea and later a little girl’s prayer on a world without gods, and now this is how it ends. With blood and thunder, with hammer and sword, with one last stand at the gates of heaven. Whatever happens now, whatever my fate, know that I face it like a god.
Imagine a Thor movie starting like that, with words ripped right from the page of Jason Aaron’s epic exploration of Thor, and you’ll understand which way we think the fifth installment in the Thor franchise should go. Thor is the only solo character so far to receive four films. While Ragnarok reinvented the franchise after the uneven The Dark World, Love and Thunder veered drastically into Bad Marvel territory. It still had its enjoyable parts (The Mighty Thor was a highlight and the end credit scene was a nice touch), but an under-utilized villain who didn’t do much god butchering and some awful attempts at humor left us with a bad taste in our mouths. One could argue that Love and Thunder was way worse than Eternals, a movie that gets so much more scorn than it deserves. Still, there is a way to reinvent Thor one more time, while also setting the stage for what’s to come, and Marvel need look no further than Jason Aaron for inspiration.
There would have to be some adjustments made, but a story where Earth-616 Thor goes on a multiversal adventure and meets some of his other selves would give Chris Hemsworth a chance to play multiple versions of Thor. Sure, you’d get some comedy, but it could be a real introspective look at a character who has lost more than almost anyone in the MCU. You could put Hercules in this, building off of the Love and Thunder end-credit scene, and have Hercules hunting Thor across the multiverse while Thor goes on a journey to find himself.
Thor could embark on this journey as a response to his grief for losing Jane while trying to teach Love about what it means to be a god. Marvel has really shown different sides of how people deal with their grief during Phase 4: with Wanda never moving past it, and the Wakandans burying themselves in their work to mask it. Thor would be the first character to actively run from their grief. While the idea of a multiversal adventure may seem similar to what Doctor Strange did in Multiverse of Madness, the difference here would be that you could explore what seeing different versions of himself means for Thor. Imagine a Thor that has lost Cap, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Jane Foster meeting a Thor who never returned to Asgard and stayed with Jane. Envision Earth-616’s Thor, a proud member of the Avengers, meeting a Thor who was an adversary for the Avengers. That sounds like the kind of thing Hemsworth is alluding to in what he wants to see in terms of character growth and the opportunity to do something different. Tying his own self-exploration (he saw Thanos coming and didn’t kill him, he didn’t see Gorr coming and couldn’t kill him, and he now wants to be ready for whatever is coming next) into the overarching multiversal war that is coming means that Thor gets the chance to step into the limelight as a leader of the Avengers as his life is winding down. Whereas King Thor fought Dr. Doom for almost 100 years, you could have this version of that character fighting Kang for almost 100 years.
Because Loki wasn’t pruned from existence after stealing the Tesseract, there is now an Earth where Thor actually becomes King substantially sooner than he was set to in the Earth-616 timeline. With no Loki to lull Odin into his eternal sleep, thereby replacing him on the throne, you have a Thor that returns to Asgard with no brother and no Tesseract. Putting that grief aside and stepping up to take the throne, he would stand to inherit the Odinforce upon Odin’s passing: in one of the What If…? episodes, Loki becomes King shortly after Thor comes to Earth and is killed by the Wasp, so while one would assume it is Loki’s trickster ways that lead to Odin’s death, it could be the banishment of his son and true heir. Earth-616 meeting this Thor, who warns him of a variant of Kang The Conqueror that he has been at war with, could set the stage for Thor versus Kang before Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
Earth-616’s Thor being warned of Kang by King Thor would be the first part of this journey. However, having this variant of Kang kill the multiverse’s King Thor so that Earth 616’s Thor becomes the new King of that world’s Asgard would finally allow Hemsworth to be King, briefly. It would be him taking the throne begrudgingly while trying to convince Hercules that they should work together to defeat Kang. Hemsworth would be moving closer to the Thor we see in Avengers: Endgame, albeit with more on his shoulders and returning to a point where he felt a responsibility to Asgard’s people. Having Earth-616’s Thor seek Kang out for revenge much sooner than he’s meant to could really up the ante in terms of what awaits the Avengers. Not only would this confrontation bring Kang The Conqueror from Quantumania’s quote about “have I killed you before” into focus, it lets the general public know that we haven’t met the worst version of him yet. Because I would have Kang kill Earth-616’s Thor and send him to Valhalla. This death would be the catalyst for Hercules swearing to protect Earth-616 for Thor in the war ahead.
In the Jason Aaron King Thor run, the only thing that can bring Thor back from Valhalla is the Phoenix Force. In that regard, he’s almost immortal. Saving a bearded Thor’s return, perhaps with the Necrosword in his possession, from Valhalla for Avengers: Secret Wars with all the fallen Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Mighty Thor, Loki, a Star-Lord that dies in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Ant-Man after Kang turns him into ant dust) would top the portal scene from Endgame.
All hail King Thor. It’s time. And let Gareth Evans direct it.