The events of 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok marked a notable shift in how the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s God of Thunder was depicted compared to his earlier appearances. While the revitalization of Chris Hemsworth’s character at the hands of director Taika Waititi was well-received (for the most part), it also posed a problem for Avengers: Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, as they had to depict Thor in their own special way for Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. As McFeely recalled:
Remember, we were inheriting a Thor from Ragnarok who was very well and radically re-toned from the previous Avengers movies. So, we had to fly in Hemsworth and Taika Waititi – word was getting out from Australia, ‘You guys understand what we’re doing with this movie?’ We’re like, ‘No, I don’t know what you mean. … Are you making him an idiot? I don’t understand!’
Between taking more advantage of Chris Hemsworth’s comedic chops and Thor speaking more like a denizen of Earth due to spending so much time with the Avengers, the God of Thunder definitely behaved differently in Thor: Ragnarok compared to his first four MCU appearances, although obviously the original spirit of the character was still intact. But for Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, they had their own plans for Thor and initially had trouble understanding what Hemsworth, Taika Waititi and the Ragnarok team had done to him.
Ironically, while Thor: Ragnarok is the funniest of the Thor movies (and one of the funniest MCU movies overall), it’s also arguably the most tragic for the main protagonist, as he lost so much in such a short amount of time. Fortunately for Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, they were able to take advantage of all this loss, particularly when it came to Avengers: Endgame. Markus added in their conversation with Vanity Fair:
In Thor: Ragnarok, he loses his kingdom, his father, his sister and his eyeball. We just thought about what would happen if any one of us sustained this loss and horror. You would probably get incredibly depressed and retreat from the world. That is a comedic performance with a lot of pain behind it.
Avengers: Infinity War marked the tipping for Thor, as along with all the tragedies he’s suffered earlier in the MCU, he watched Loki, Heimdall and many Asgardians be killed at the beginning of the third Avengers movie. Thor spent the rest of Infinity War on a mission of vengeance against Thanos, but sadly, even with his new weapon Stormbreaker, he was unable to prevent the Mad Titan from wiping out half of all life in the universe.
When Avengers: Endgame rolled around, Thor beheaded Thanos for committing genocide and spent the next five years in a depressed state, resulting in him gaining weight and spending his days partaking in booze, video games and cable TV. So when Smart Hulk and Rocket Raccoon came to Tønsberg, Norway to recruit Bro Thor for the Time Heist that would undo Thanos' act, he was initially unwilling to come along, but then changed his mind… once he learned there would be beer involved.
Thanks to Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely blending the boosted comedy of Thor with the understandable depression he experienced, the character evolved yet again. By the time Avengers: Endgame ended, he embarked on a new chapter of his life, making Valkyrie ruler of New Asgard and leaving Earth with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
We’ll next see Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder, which Taika Waititi is writing and directing. No specific plot details have been revealed yet, but both Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster will also be back, with the latter becoming The Mighty Thor. It’s also rumored that the alternate timeline Loki from Avengers: Endgame might appear too.
Thor: Love and Thunder storms into theaters on November 5, 2021. If you’re curious about what other MCU movies are on the way, look through our comprehensive guide.