Thor is the strongest Avenger, but will someone else take his place when he retires? Thor: Love and Thunder may have just hinted at the next beefy superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And we don’t mean Jane Foster’s (very) Mighty Thor.
The teaser trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder premiered on Monday. Set to Guns N Roses’ 1988 classic “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the teaser shows Chris Hemsworth’s Thor contemplating what’s next for him — a not-so-subtle signal that Love and Thunder is a send-off for Hemsworth as the God of Thunder, as Thor considers retirement.
“My superheroing days are over,” Thor says via voice-over. You can watch the trailer in the embed below.
Of course, there will always be a need for a God of Thunder. As confirmed at Comic-Con in 2019, Natalie Portman will return as Jane Foster, last seen in the MCU in 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. (Her brief appearance in Avengers: Endgame is sourced from unused footage from The Dark World.) Portman’s Jane will take over the mantle of Thor in an adaptation of a similar story from Jason Aaron’s The Mighty Thor comic books. While Thor will walk into the sunset, the MCU won’t be without a hammer-wielder for long.
But will the MCU have another beefcake superhero? If you watch closely, there are glaring hints that Thor’s rival from another pantheon of gods will make their way into the MCU.
Strength of Hercules — In the trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder, the MCU ventures into Olympus, the home to the Greek gods of myth.
Just as the Norse gods are canonized as an alien civilization in the Marvel Universe, the Greek gods are “real” in the MCU. And for years, Hercules — who debuted in Marvel’s comics in Journey Into Mystery Annual #1 in 1965 — has been a rival of Thor. He’s been more than that, too, having been a full-fledged member of the Avengers on multiple occasions.
While critical parts of Love and Thunder’s plot remain under wraps, including why and how Thor goes to Mount Olympus, the movie isn’t hiding its introduction of the Olympians. Plenty of shots depicts Mount Olympus, a comparatively thriving civilization that might find delight in the more misfortunate Asgardians.
The trailer supports sketchy leaks from May 2021, in which an anonymous poster on 4chan claims that Love and Thunder will have a scene where Thor and Hercules duke it out, with Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) placing bets on who will win.
If nothing else, we know for sure that Russell Crowe is confirmed to play Zeus, the king of Mount Olympus, in a cameo role; it is likely Crowe who appears at the 0:52 mark in the trailer wielding lightning bolts before an adoring pantheon.
Ultimate Muscle — While Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is officially taking over as Thor, the MCU could always use a himbo meathead in its ranks. And Hercules is a perfect substitute for the departing Thor.
While there are currently no known actors rumored to play the role of Hercules, whoever they get is sure to become a fan favorite in the MCU if the execution of the character is on the money. And Hercules is more important than you might think.
Because of Hercules’ long history with the Avengers, there’s a possibility that Hercules could wind up a mainstay in the MCU, especially if Marvel will make more Avengers movies one day. Don’t be surprised when there’s talk of a “Marvel’s Hercules” after Love and Thunder.
Thor: Love and Thunder will be released in theaters on July 8.