Though it’s not official just yet, Christian Bale will reportedly soon join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor: Love and Thunder, but who might the actor be playing? We have a few ideas based on some subsequent leaks, clues, and everything we know about both Bale and the new Thor movie.
Collider reported Monday that Bale, who played Batman in Christopher Nolan’s widely beloved trilogy, was in talks to join the MCU via writer-director Taika Waititi’s upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder film. The role is currently being kept under wraps.
Love and Thunder will bring together Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Tessa Thompson’s Valkryie and Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who will somehow acquire Thor’s power. Waititi’s rocky Korg will also return, but beyond these cast members, little is known about the plot. What’s the conflict? Who’s the villain? By examining these questions, we might be able to glean a bit more about the movie and Christian Bale’s role in it.
The story is inspired in some fashion by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s Mighty Thor from 2014 where Jane Foster picks up Thor’s hammer and acquires his powers.
Based on that, here are six characters from Marvel canon that Christian Bale might be playing:
6. Cul Borson, God of Fear
In Marvel Comics, Odin’s elder brother is Cul, the God of Fear. Thor’s evil uncle technically had a claim to the Asgardian throne even ahead of Odin. Cul’s story in the comics, however, is far too similar to that of Hela used in Thor: Ragnarok to make him the primary villain in Love and Thunder.
Long ago, Odin imprisoned Cul underneath the ocean on Earth on account of some evil behavior. In the Fear Itself crossover comics series, the daughter of Red Skull discovered the Hammer of Skadi that imbued her with enough power to free Cul and trigger an all-out conflict against the Avengers. He was able to destroy Captain America’s shield in a way similar to how Hela destroyed Mjolnir in Ragnarok, so unless Love and Thunder does something radically different with Bale as Cul, then count this one the least likely.
5. Balder Odinson
Based on the lean, wiry, and unhinged presence of Baldur in the video game God of War — also loosely based on Norse mythology — we think Bale would be a good match for Balder, Thor’s other brother from Marvel Comics. He looks very different in Marvel and could make for an interesting new part of Thor’s family tree now that everyone else is dead.
During Jason Aaron’s 2018 Thor comics run, Thor and Loki team up with their brother, reintroduced as the King of Hel and ruler of the dead in Niflheim. If that place sounds familiar, it’s because this is where Hela was imprisoned leading up to Thor: Ragnarok. Just like with Cul, aspects of Balder’s stories from comics were adapted into Ragnarok, but that doesn’t render the character unusable in future stories.
Balder was almost featured in the first Thor movie as a member of Thor’s party against the Frost Giants, but Love and Thunder could do something very different. What if Thor dies? Or someone else dies and Thor travels to Hel to revive them? That could lead to an encounter with Balder, if he’s still its ruler.
When Odin was still in his violent warlord phase, he slaughtered an entire race of beings. The physical manifestation of that species’ hatred is a monster called Mangog, and the creature is so overwhelmingly powerful that he outclasses even Thor and Odin. In Jane Foster’s time as Mighty Thor, she has to sacrifice herself just to defeat Mangog. The whole thing is very similar to the DC Comics storyline where Superman dies fighting Doomsday, which could be exactly the kind of thing that Love and Thunder is going for.
Reputable MCU leaker Charles Murphy reported in a piece Tuesday that Christian Bale’s Love and Thunder role is for a motion capture character, so it is probably some kind of alien or non-humanoid creature. Whether or not that’s Mangog or something else remains to be seen. For whatever it’s worth, Thor: The Dark World concept art exists for Mangog, but it was never used. Could it resurface for Love and Thunder?
3. Gorr the God Butcher
Imagine a sad but pious alien named Gorr whose species is starving to death on their home planet, but none of the gods answer his prayers. After his entire family dies, Gorr begins wandering around wishing for death when he encounters two gods that crash into the earth in the midst of a brutal battle. The dark god Knull’s sword bonded abandons its master, becomes an amorphous blob of darkness, and bonds with Gorr to become All-Black the Necrosword. (It’s the very first Symbiote, actually.)
Gorr claimed the weapon and vowed to kill all gods across the universe, which he did for hundreds of years, oftentimes coming into direct conflict with Thor.
Gorr would be a grim villain choice for Love and Thunder, with him being a super-powered serial killer and all, but maybe that’s what it would take to convince Bale to join the MCU? On the plus side, using Gorr would be an interesting way to move towards integrating Venom into the MCU (if that’s even on the table for Disney and Sony).
2. Dario Agger, aka Minotaur
Created by The Mighty Thor writer Jason Aaron, Dario Agger is the CEO of Roxxon Corporation, a company that’s had a lingering presence across several different MCU shows and movies. He’s the primary antagonist in this storyline and casually mentions slitting his tailor’s throat after they finished making a particularly exquisite suit. He’s a total psychopath that appears human most of the time, but he’s also secretly a mythical and powerful Minotaur. (This happened after he prayed really hard for power and vengeance and forged a pact with an unidentified dark god.)
Aaron himself hopes Bale is playing Agger, mainly because the character comes off as a psychopathic businessman much like Bale’s iconic role as the serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Agger would be fairly similar and would inevitably require that Bale do mo-cap work for the Minotaur form. It would also provide an opportunity for the MCU to further contextualize the Roxxon Corporation’s role in this world.
1. Beta Ray Bill
Easily the most popular theory for who Bale might play in Thor: Love and Thunder, Beta Ray Bill is a Korbinite who was transformed into a cyborg with creature-like features so he might defend his people. During a conflict against Thor, he was deemed worthy to pick up Mjolnir and therefore gained Thor’s power. Odin had the two fight to see who was more worthy, and despite winning, Beta Ray Bill refused to kill Thor. Odin had a weapon forged of the same Uru metal for Bill called Stormbreaker.
That weapon name was obviously recycled for Thor’s new axe he made in Infinity War. Beyond that, Beta Ray Bill has a long and storied history in Marvel Comics fighting alongside Thor and other heroes against all manner of cosmic threats.
According to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, there were originally plans to have a Beta Ray Bill cameo in Thor: Ragnarok that didn’t pan out. Instead, there’s an Easter egg on the Grandmaster’s tower in the form of a large bust of Bill. Even the Russo Bros. have reportedly discussed the character “many times,” claims /Film’s Peter Sciretta.
Beta Ray Bill would have to be mostly motion capture, which could make him the perfect fit for Love and Thunder, but will he be a villain-turned-ally like in the comics, or something else?
Thor: Love and Thunder will be released November 5, 2021.