August 16, 2022

Taika Waititi directed Thor: Love and Thunder, part of the MCU’s Phase Four.

Marvel fans have been loudly clamoring for something, anything, in the way of a trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder, given that the release is just a few months away. Their wish has now been granted. Marvel just dropped a long teaser for the Taika Waititi-directed film.

Waititi signed on for the fourth installment of the Thor films in 2019, adapting elements from the Mighty Thor comic books by Jason Aaron. (He’d read them while making Ragnarok.) That storyline has Jane Foster being diagnosed with breast cancer and eventually becoming the Mighty Thor. Natalie Portman, who plays Foster in the franchise, has said both those elements will be in the film.

We haven’t really seen Portman’s Foster since 2013’s The Dark World. The character was always among the least interesting, to be honest. But Portman agreed to reprise her role after meeting with Waititi, who promised a fresh take for the character, and having her wield Mjolnir would definitely qualify. (The Internet was abuzz when set photos of Portman leaked in March 2021, showing just how much muscle the diminutive actress had gained for the role.)

Enlarge / Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) have a moment. “What? Just listening.”

YouTube/Marvel Studios

Here’s what we do know, per the official synopsis:

The film finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced – a quest for inner peace. But his retirement is interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who—to Thor’s surprise—inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.

Also joining forces with Thor are the Guardians of the Galaxy: Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord; Pom Klementieff as Mantis; Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer; Karen Gillan as Nebula; Vin Diesel voicing Groot; and Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri, the former second-in-command of Yondu. (James Gunn consulted on the script since this film will help set up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, slated for 2023). Waititi will be back as the Kronan gladiator, Korg, and Jeff Goldblum will reprise his role as the Grandmaster, ruler of the planet Sakaar. Melissa McCarthy will play Hela, and Russell Crowe will make a cameo appearance as Zeus.

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Welcome to New Asgard and a
Enlarge / Welcome to New Asgard and a “Goat Boat” sighting.

YouTube/Marvel Studios

Set to the dulcet tones of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, the teaser opens with Thor pondering his future. “These hands were once used for battle,” we hear him say. “Now they’re but humble tools for peace. I need to figure out exactly who I am. I want to choose my own path.” Look, Thor has been through a lot, between the harrowing events of Ragnarok, Infinity War, and Endgame, losing most of his family and all but a handful of Asgardians. So who can blame him for not wanting to be a superhero anymore, preferring to just “live in the moment,” man?

Thor’s personal journey starts by getting in shape, doing battle ropes like a champ (only, with chains, because this is Thor), and he’s soon back in prime fighting shape—he’s just not all that interested in fighting. No doubt there will be battles and drama and a bit of romance, but there’s still plenty of that distinctive Waititi humor. “Remember what I told you,” Quill tells his crew. “You ever feel lost? Just look into the eyes of the people that you love.” The camera focuses on the Guardians. And then Thor’s smiling face appears, making Quill a wee bit uncomfortable. “What? Just listening,” Thor beams.

If she had a hammer: Natalie Portman wields Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor.
Enlarge / If she had a hammer: Natalie Portman wields Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor.

YouTube/Marvel Studios

There’s a brief glimpse of Crowe’s Zeus, and Thompson’s Valkyrie looking like a boss in a chic suit (reminiscent of her Men in Black: International role). We don’t see Gorr, so it’s not clear how closely the character will hew to the comics. The comics’ Gorr has a deadly cloak of tendrils and wields the god-killing All-Black the Necrosword, forged by the same primordial deity who created the symbiotes who eventually became Venom. So there are some visually striking possibilities to work with.

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At least we finally get to see Portman wielding Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor in the final frame; she looks magnificently buff. And is that the “Goat Boat” (introduced in February as an official LEGO set) taking off to give Thor a fresh adventure? (The two goats in the LEGO set are named Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, and they’re pulling the ship.) Waititi called Thor: Love and Thunder “the craziest film” he’s ever done, “as if 10-year-olds told us what should be in a movie and we said yes to every single thing.” Our inner 10-year-olds are eager to see more.

Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters on July 8, 2022.

Marvel Studios

Listing image by YouTube/Marvel Studios