Thor: Love and Thunder conducted principal photography earlier this year, ensuring a consistent stream of behind-the-scenes photos and set leaks.
As rumors grow that Thor: Love and Thunder will bring multiversal shenanigans into its story, it's possible the God of Thunder’s makeover isn’t just the result of time spent with Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord. Instead, one comic character’s surprise role could alter the direction of the film.
Thunder Strikes — Many Marvel fans are beginning to suspect that Thor: Love and Thunder will, like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home, explore Marvel’s newly created multiverse in its own way.
Some are speculating that the film could feature appearances from notable God of Thunder variants from the comics, including Beta Ray Bill, Throg, and King Thor. However, another alternate version of Thor might appear in Thor: Love and Thunder — and explain the character’s new look.
We’re talking about Eric Masterson a.k.a. Thunderstrike.
A Key Thor Variant — In the comics, Eric Masterson is an architect in New York who, after lifting Mjolnir, becomes merged with Thor. While the two heroes went on to do great things together, Eric struggled to share his existence with Thor.
Forced to balance heroic duties with the needs of his own life (including sharing custody of his son, Kevin, with his ex-wife), Masterson ultimately split away from Thor, reuniting at times over the years.
Eventually, Eric assumed his own superpowered alter ego in the comics, after Odin gifted him with a mace known as “Thunderstrike” (the same name he used for his superhero moniker). As Thunderstrike, Masterson would go on to fight various Asgardian villains, including Bloodaxe, and was even reborn as a part of the Legion of the Unliving. After his demise in the comics, his mace was given to his son, Kevin, who took on the Thunderstrike title in memory of his father.
Masterson is one of the more interesting versions of the God of Thunder we’ve seen in the comics. Balancing difficult, Earthly responsibilities amid his shared existence with Thor made him uniquely complicated. Bringing a character like Eric Masterson into the Marvel Cinematic Universe would, therefore, give Chris Hemsworth the chance to play a version of Thor literally torn between his adventures in the cosmos and normal life on Earth.
On a more superficial level, Masterson also sports a jacket and jeans outfit in the comics that feels very reminiscent of the costume that Chris Hemsworth was seen wearing for Thor: Love and Thunder earlier this year. That could, of course, just be Love and Thunder writer-director Taika Waititi paying homage to the character. But it could also be a signal to hardcore Marvel fans that Masterson is coming to the MCU in the upcoming Thor sequel.
The Inverse Analysis —With Gorr the God Butcher set to serve as the primary antagonist in Thor: Love and Thunder, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is going to need all the help he can get in his fight against the multiversal, god-killing villain. Many believe said “help” will take the form of Thors from alternate realities coming together to assemble an army of Thors who can take on Gorr.
At this point, that seems like a legitimate possibility, and Masterson could very well be one of those variants. Alternatively, it’s possible Gorr will wound Hemsworth’s Thor seriously enough to warrant a fusing between him and Eric Masterson, similarly to how the characters were joined together in the comics. That’d be a weird and unexpected place for the film to go, but this is the same team that delivered Ragnarok.
Either way, don’t be surprised if the character formally known as Thunderstrike makes an appearance in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Thor: Love and Thunder is set to hit theaters on July 8, 2022.