Marvel Studios has returned with another movie, which means another round of exciting post-credits scenes that fans can theorize on for years to come. Thor: Love and Thunder, like many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films before it, features two extra tags at the end of it’s runtime. The first of these teases continues the tradition of introducing surprising new characters after the credits roll, while the second brings back a familiar face to put a nice little bow on the fourth Thor story. As always, there’s quite a bit to break down, so sit back and relax your brain while we do the work and explain what exactly is going on in those signature Marvel stingers.
Well, if you’ve made it this far, you probably already know that Brett Goldstein is Marvel’s Hercules. About halfway through Love and Thunder‘s credits, the Ted Lasso star pops up as the Greek Prince of Power in a surprise reveal. The scene acts as a continuation of an earlier sequence in the movie where Chris Hemsworth‘s Thor confronts Russell Crowe‘s Zeus for refusing to act on the rise of Gorr the God Butcher, a conversation that would ultimately result in Zeus’ very public humiliation in Omnipotence City. After the chat between both Thunder Gods turns sour, a physical conflict begins, and Thor’s best buddy Korg is seemingly struck down by Zeus’ powerful lightning bolt. Korg turns out to be alive, but that doesn’t stop an enraged Thor from catching Zeus’ next bolt and chucking it right back to where it came from. The bolt goes through Zeus’ chest, and the renowned leader topples silently from his regal perch.
The mid-credits scene lets the audience know that Zeus is not dead, but is instead plotting his revenge on Thor while recovering from his wound. To do this, he enlists the aid of his son, Hercules. Following a dramatic monologue in which Zeus laments the lack of fear modern mortals have for gods, he asks Hercules to find Thor and prove that the gods are still a force to be reckoned with. The camera then cuts to Goldstein standing up in full comic book Hercules attire, complete with flowing chest hair and his fun little club weapon.
The character has long been rumored to be making his MCU debut in Phase Four, and Love and Thunder was such a perfect place for the entrance to happen it’s almost shocking it didn’t occur in the main story. In the comics, Hercules has encountered Thor many times, at first as an enemy but eventually as a longtime friend. When the two first meet, Thor is searching for Olympus alongside his brother Loki on a mission of peace, but Hercules’ natural desire to prove his strength leads to initial conflict. In fact, the concept of Herc and Thor duking it out to prove who is stronger would become a recurring thread in their relationship. Despite actually becoming quick pals, a friendly rivalry would remain for the rest of their days. As Herc himself would eventually say in Tony Isabella‘s Champions #1; “Whatever Thor canst do – Hercules can accomplish more mightily!“
The MCU’s introduction of the character implies a potential Thor 5 plot might revolve around Hercules and the Greek gods clashing with Thor and his Asgardian comrades. However, as previously mentioned, these two entities are often more in line with each other than they are in opposition. Not long after Hercules meets Thor, the former is tricked by the Enchantress into visiting Earth and attacking the Avengers. He’s swiftly snapped out of it, but his actions anger Zeus and, like Thor before him, he’s banished from his home on Olympus and forced to live among the mortals. Hercules then becomes an on-and-off member of the Avengers, later co-founding his own team called the Champions, and creating a new life for himself on Earth and pulling away from the Hercules known in Greek mythology.
Perhaps the post-movie setup is actually for a future team-up where Hercules attacks Earth’s Mightiest Heroes before having a change of heart, ultimately being banished by Zeus for not fulfilling his mission and becoming a regular mainstay of the MCU Avengers. Or, maybe, his assault on Thor will only last briefly, before the two partner up to take on a bigger threat. The duo have confronted massive villains like the Chaos King Amatsu-Mikaboshi and Herc’s Uncle Pluto together in the past. There’s a good chance one of those baddies lines up against the “God Squad” of Herc and Thor in another solo adventure down the line.
Valkyrie: Jane Foster
Once the credits have been completed, fans are treated to a short scene that could serve to either wrap up Dr. Jane Foster’s MCU story or open the door to an entirely new chapter. In Love and Thunder‘s final moments, Jane uses a crumbling Mjolnir to entrap the blade of Gorr’s God-slaying sword and destroy it for good. This effectively defeats the God Butcher and saves the lives of all gods, but it also robs Foster of the only thing keeping her alive. After her sacrifice, Jane dies contently in the arms of Thor, knowing the universe has been made a better place for everyone. The post-credits reveal that Jane, having died an Asgardian hero, has been granted access to an afterlife in Valhalla.
She’s welcomed to life-after-death by Idris Elba’s Heimdall, who previously perished in battle against Thanos and the Black Order. He’s happy to see Jane, who saved the life of his son after he was kidnapped by Gorr, and welcomes her to a post-mortem existence as both a warrior and a friend. The pair walk off together, gladly embracing whatever Valhalla may have in store for them. If Marvel so chooses, this could be the perfect ending to the tale of Jane Foster, especially if actress Natalie Portman decides she’s done with the superhero gig forever. However, it could also be teeing up an adaptation of a very recent comic run from legendary Thor scribe Jason Aaron.
Still ongoing at the time of this publication, Valkyrie: Jane Foster tells the story of Foster after she loses the power of The Mighty Thor. Forced to sacrifice a crumbling Mjolnir in a last-ditch effort to save the universe, Jane is blessed with the powers of a Valkyrie and becomes the first in a new generation of Asgard’s most elite group. She then accepts help from a recently deceased Heimdall, ultimately using her newfound abilities to aid a grieving Thor and take Heimdall’s spirit on one last adventure through the multiversal afterlife. Sound familiar? Love and Thunder establishes a close friendship, and possible romance, between Foster and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie. It’s not far-fetched to think Val might find a way to bless Jane with Valkrior power in a future MCU project, and the post-credits scene perfectly sets up the new friendship between Foster and Heimdall. If Portman and Elba are both down for another outing, this story could be adapted as a sub-plot in Thor 5 or as a Valkyrie spin-off series on Disney+. After all, Kevin Feige and company really do love their series spin-offs these days.