Thor: Love and Thunder has an interesting place in Marvel Phase 4. For many, it’ll be a comfort blanket. Among the newcomers and new mediums being introduced to the MCU over the next few years, a Taika Waititi-directed Thor film is a nice predictable dose of anarchy.
But, from what we know so far, the Thor-quel is anything but predictable. Natalie Portman has returned as Jane Foster and will even be picking up Mjolnir. Chris Prat, too, is along for the ride as Star-Lord.
Beyond that, there are rumours of Christian Bale joining the cast, a certain Korg making a return, and even space sharks turning up. It’s safe to say that, despite Thor: Love and Thunder seeming like a safe sequel, it’s going to be anything but. For the full story behind Love and Thunder – from announcement to when cameras will start rolling – scroll lightning-fast through our handy guide to the 2022 release.
Our complete MCU recap
The MCU timeline explained
All the new Marvel TV shows
Thor: Love and Thunder release date
The Thor: Love and Thunder release date is now February 11, 2022. Expect filming to start soon, too. According to The Hollywood Reporter, cameras could be rolling on Chris Hemsworth and company from January.
The road to reach that point was a long and winding one, perhaps best suited to being told as a tale over a few mugs of mead in one of Midgard’s many inns. But with no tankards in sight, you’ll have to make do with this recap – and hope Ragnarok doesn’t reach us by its end. Ready? Deep breath.
Thor 4 was originally set to land at the very end of Marvel Phase 4 on November 5, 2021. That was announced during Kevin Feige’s avalanche of MCU news at SDCC 2019.
Then, things started getting shifted. With Black Widow being pushed back as part of Marvel’s wave of coronavirus delays, that meant Thor: Love and Thunder retreated to February 18. That is, until recently, where it moved again – due partly to Spider-Man 3’s release date changing – and was pushed forward to what hopefully is its final resting place: February 11, 2022. Phew. Plans are subject to change, however.
Thor: Love and Thunder cast
First, the confirmed Thor: Love and Thunder cast. No surprise on who is front and centre. Yep. Chris Hemsworth is back as the God of Thunder, Thor. Joining him is the newly-installed ruler of New Asgard, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).
In a surprise reveal at SDCC 2019, Natalie Portman was brought on stage. It was announced that she would be returning to the MCU as Jane Foster, but not any old Jane Foster. This Jane Foster – whether she’s from a multiverse or not is unclear – will be The Mighty Thor, a plot point drawn straight from comic writer Jason Aaron’s legendary mid-2010s Thor run. Portman has also recently revealed that her character will be undergoing cancer treatment.
If you need a primer on what to expect, check out what the comics tell us about Natalie Portman's Mighty Thor.
Director Taika Waititi will also once again be appearing in front of the camera as Korg. The rock star will be making his third appearance after his debut in Thor: Ragnarok and Fortnite-shaped cameo playing against noobmaster69 in Avengers: Endgame.
Star-Lord himself, Chris Pratt, is also showing up in the new Thor movie. Its unknown just how much of a role he'll have but at least we essentially have confirmation that the Asgardians of the Galaxy ride again.
Vin Diesel may have also confirmed that Groot will be branching out and turning up in Thor: Love and Thunder. "[Taika Waititi] talked to me about how Thor will incorporate some of the Guardians of the Galaxy, which will be very interesting. Nobody knows, but maybe I shouldn't have said anything," Vin Diesel told Comic Book. Of course, now that Pratt is on-board, it appears Vin Diesel may have said too much, too soon.
Opposing the Thors will reportedly be Christian Bale, who has signed on to play an unnamed villain. It’s not yet known who he is playing – though our pick would be for Gorr the God Butcher, who played an integral role in Jason Aaron’s run as the man who killed off deities across time and space. I mean, he essentially became Marvel’s version of Kratos, for Odin’s sake. What's not to like?
Not only is it a worthy escalation for Thor – god-killers can certainly stand toe-to-toe with Thanos in terms of power levels – but it’s also a realistic proposition with just how much inspiration it seems the film is taking from the pages of the comics. Thor: Love and Thunder is already swiping space sharks (more on that below) and Jane Foster’s Thor from Aaron’s pages. What’s one more?
Thor: Love and Thunder story
What to expect from Thor: Love and Thunder? Chris Hemsworth has called it “one of the best scripts he’s read in years.” Accurate? Well, if you believe director Taika Waititi, it’s going to be Ragnarok turned up to eleven.
He told Entertainment Tonight, “If you take Ragnarok – which I feel was a very big, outlandish, bombastic film – we’re trying to double down on everything we did with that and create something that’s more crazy, more fun, and even more of a big, big adventure.”
Waititi also confirmed on an Instagram Live video that Korg will be looking for love in Thor 4, while Space Sharks will also feature. No, that’s not a typo. The creatures have appeared in the comics and serve as a razor-sharp roadblock for those looking to get close to the villainous Gorr’s planet during the Thor comic series in 2013.
We also know Jane Foster’s Thor will factor into proceedings, though nothing has been revealed on exactly how she gets her hands on her own version of Mjolnir or, indeed, what universe she’s from.
Another plot point will revolve around Valkyrie finding someone to rule New Asgard with. "She's king," she affirmed. "If she can't find her queen, she'll just be king and queen at the same time,” Thompson said during an interview with ET.
Anything else, for now, is just speculation. But you've got to speculate to accumulate, as they say, and with how close Love and Thunder appears to be following certain plot points from Jason Aaron's run on Mighty Thor, it's worth taking a look at what could still come.
File these under hopes rather than anything concrete but Jane Foster's return probably means a few things. One, Thor is no longer worthy of wielding the hammer. How that happens is anyone's guess, though Jane picked up Mjolnir on the moon in the comics and may do the same again here.
Another possibility is that she hails from a multiverse, a concept that is outright namechecked in Doctor Strange sequel Multiverse of Madness.
No Thor: Love and Thunder trailer yet, so we’ll have to make do with this snazzy logo
No trailers and no teasers yet. Filming hasn’t even begun, and Marvel movies traditionally debut footage and TV spots 3-4 months before release. If that remains the case, expect the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer by late 2021.
That’s… a long way off. In the meantime, you’ll have to coo over the Thor: Love and Thunder logo (above) that was unveiled at last year’s SDCC.
Read more: Get up to speed on Marvel's Black Widow
Thor: Love and Thunder director
The inimitable Taika Waititi returns to direct his second MCU movie, though he’s got an extremely busy few years coming up. He’ll be directing sports drama Next Goal Wins and also has a Star Wars movie in the pipeline. It’s unlikely that he will direct the live-action Akira adaptation though, despite being attached to the project at one time.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak has even helped his creative process on Thor: Love and Thunder. As Waititi explains to sister publication Total Film magazine the story is still very much being refined – but that’s a good thing.
“We’re still writing Love And Thunder, and I think it’s good to just keep writing, and then you know, we’ll have a really, really good script,” Waititi said. “And with writing, especially, you should use as much of that time as possible to get your story right, because you never really get it later on. Film is an industry where you’re always complaining about not having enough time. I think, right now, we’ve given ourselves a huge amount of time to work on all sort of things, so we may as well use it."