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The casting is especially surprising due to the Welsh actor’s primary focus on more grounded and often historically resonant projects since he and Christopher Nolan wrapped up the Dark Knight trilogy in 2012. If you ask us, that is only our excitement over his return to comic book movies all the more justifiable.
The question is, which Marvel villain should Christian Bale be given the honor to play against Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in Thor: Love and Thunder. I have six recommendations.
From his roles in The Machinist and Vice, Christian Bale is no stranger to bodily transformative performances. Therefore, he can easily relate to French chemist Paul Duval, whose body was transformed into agile stone following a chemical accident. Believing himself to be of god-like status and able to use his condition for profit, he assumes the villainous identity Grey Gargoyle.
The unlucky baddie, who also possesses a Midas-like ability to transfer his rocky exterior to anyone or anything he touches, has taken on, and been bested by, many a Marvel superhero, but his ongoing quarrel with Thor is especially notable. Grey Gargoyle has sought and failed to steal God of Thunder’s immortality time and time again, which would make a successful attempt an interesting twist in Thor: Love and Thunder. While tragic, Gargoyle besting Thor would give Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster a way to succeed her off-and-on again beau’s Asgardian responsibilities that is feels both dramatically resonant and natural, as well as pave the way for Chris Hemsworth’s smooth exit from MCU… for a little while, at least.
As fascinating as it would be to see Christian Bale as a stone-like being like Grey Gargoyle, I think he would appreciate it if Marvel would give his body a break. Not to mention, the best villains Thor has faced in the MCU have been rooted to his homeland of Asgard and, while the Wrecker is human, his abilities are godly.
Wrecker, born Dirk Garthwaite in New York City, was given with Asgardian abilities after an attempt to rob a power-stripped Loki led to Norse goddess Karnilla bestowing him and his crowbar with the abilities the God of Mischief craved instead. Eventually, he founded the criminal ensemble the Wrecking Crew, formed when his crowbar incidentally enchanted three other men with similar abilities. Introducing them in Thor: Love and Thunder would mark the debut of the MCU’s first team of villains and could even mark a fun reunion between Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston’s estranged siblings.
With Thor: Love and Thunder being the fourth film in character’s story (which is farther than any solo franchise in the MCU has gone, I believe), it is only seems natural to go bigger with its villain choice than ever before. I am not suggesting this to be the moment we bring in Galactus just yet. In fact, I’m thinking we give Christian Bale a role that is arguably bigger… in scope, that is.
The Beyonder, who is literally a living reality, would be such a villain, but his omnipotence is not what makes this amorphous being a complex character. When the Beyonder discovers Earth, he is fascinated to learn its living beings are one aspect the greater whole that makes up their universe (because he himself is one complete manifestation of a whole universe), piquing his curiosity about just how “complete” individual people are and inspiring him to snatch both heroes and villains alike and force them into gladiator-like battles with one another. Not only could this make for one deliciously bizarre storyline, but it could also mean a few fun callbacks to what Grandmaster put Thor through in Thor: Ragnarok, just in a more high-concept setting.
One of the most refreshing things about MCU villains, in recent years particularly, is their unique abilities that allow them to stand out from other foes. However, Christian Bale is an actor who enjoys challenge, so just one distinguishing characteristic is not enough. How about an antagonist who can have any kind of power he wants by the push of a button?
Korvac (first name Michael) was once a human computer technician from an alternate Earth until he partnered an evil alien race that combined his upper body to a computer, turning him into a quasi-cybernetic organism. This transformation allowed him to download the abilities of various people into his systems, including the Power Cosmic, which made him into an unstoppable god-like being. Imagine Thor facing a greatest hits collection of his worst foes’ powers, all wielded by one tricky enemy.
I may have said earlier that I think Marvel should give Christian Bale a role that does not require him to undergo much of physical transformation, but a role like Mephisto is too good pass up, especially if that is what the MCU goes with for the main antagonist of Thor: Love and Thunder. Besides, a little makeup is not going to hurt, right?
Essentially the Marvel Universe’s version of Satan, Mephisto is a demon of extra-dimensional origin capable of a vast array of magical abilities that range from regenerative healing to manipulation of reality. The villain once had a notable brush with Thor when he, trapped in Loki’s body, was banished to his lair which, once again, would be an astonishing and potentially hilarious way to bring the brothers back together. Furthermore, Christian Bale, known for playing raving sociopath Patrick Bateman to perfection in American Psycho, could bring a special sinister quality to this red-faced foe.
OK, if Christian Bale does not go for an intense makeup job, maybe he will settle for what his last comic book movie role’s appearance is defined by: a mask. It will leave the actor unrecognizable, but why not him the MCU’s Doctor Doom?
Victor von Doom, the arch enemy of the Fantastic Four, is master sorcerer of genius intelligence who has proven to be a real pain in the rear for much of the Marvel Universe, including Thor, who took on the power-hungry monarch when the Asgardian population attempted to migrate to his land of Latveria. Even if this is not a storyline covered in Thor: Love and Thunder, Marvel fans have waited long enough for Doctor Doom to make his MCU debut and with this film set to be a major turning point for the series packed with a few extra familiar faces, now might be as good a time as ever. Plus, it would give Christian Bale the opportunity to reprise the character in future films… if he wants to, of course.
Whichever Marvel villain Christian Bale is set to play, we are certain an actor of his magnitude will have comic book fans shaking in their seats. Be sure to check back for updates on Thor: Love and Thunder and other upcoming MCU releases right here on CinemaBlend.