Thor: Love and Thunder: What Russell Crowe’s Zeus Could Mean For The MCU

One of the biggest Marvel fan favorites from Marvel’s Phase Three was Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok in 2017. The movie had Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder showing more of his infectious personality than ever and finding the full scope of his powers after the destruction of his trusty Mjolnir. Waititi and Hemsworth are currently filming its followup, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Russell Crowe will play Zeus in the flick. Yes, the King of the Greek Gods is coming, and this could make for a huge shift for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Russell Crowe confirmed the role himself while speaking on a radio show in Australia. During the interview, the Gladiator star shared that he’d been “Zeus-ing about” at Disney Fox Studios in Australia following previous rumors spreading about his involvement in the movie. So, let’s talk about it: what could Zeus’ involvement in Thor: Love and Thunder mean for this comic book universe?

Zeus and Odin in Marvel Comics fighting

(Image credit: (Marvel))

How Zeus May Fit Into Thor: Love And Thunder

At this point, we do not know the plot of Thor: Love and Thunder, but we do have nuggets of knowledge that help us understand why and how Zeus could enter the mix. First off, Chris Hemsworth will reprise the role of Thor following the events of Avengers: Endgame. At the end of the huge MCU movie, the god had boarded the Guardians of the Galaxy's ship and had named Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie the new ruler of Asgard. We know that the Guardians will be in Love and Thunder, along with Valkyrie and Thor’s old flame Jane Foster. Natalie Portman is set to return and become the Mighty Thor during the film’s runtime.

Additionally, we know that Christian Bale will appear as Gorr the God Butcher, the big bad of Love and Thunder. From what we know about the Marvel character, Gorr was a devout believer of the gods until his family died. Once he gains powers, he decides to make it his mission in life to kill all gods. As you can imagine, Thor will be a major target, but if he’s really reaching for that goal, so would Zeus. Perhaps if Gorr makes waves and kills a number of gods, he may unleash Zeus’ fury.

The Olympians in the Marvel Comics including Zeus

(Image credit: (Marvel Comics))

Who Is Zeus In Marvel Comics?

Zeus is one of the few Marvel characters you don’t need to be familiar with the comics in order to understand. That's because Zeus in the comics is basically the Greek god we know from mythology. Though the question undeniably becomes how he fits into the greater universe. In the context of Marvel, Zeus made his first appearance in a 1949 issue of Venus. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who were obviously inspired to bring Greek mythology into their comic books. In this universe, Zeus is pretty much the God you’ve heard of, except in this case, he resides in Olympus, which is in another dimension than the main universe.

A gateway to Olympus can be accessed on Mount Olympus in Greece. He is the same Zeus that is known to have been born and then worshipped on Earth thousands of years ago. He and the other Greek gods resided on this Earth in the ancient lands, but moved over to a pocket dimension to enjoy life away from humans. In the comic books, Zeus does have a half-human son in Hercules and is married to Hera, and they had Ares, Eris, Hebe and Hephaestus together.

The Olympians in the Thor comics

(Image credit: (Marvel))

Could The Olympians Be On The Way Too?

If Marvel is introducing Zeus, who’s to say it won’t introduce Aphrodite, Apollo, Poseidon or Persephone? When the MCU opens that door to a new side of its universe, it seldom quickly closes it. Just as Guardian of the Galaxy laid the groundwork for Eternals, this could usher in more stories involving the Olympians in the future. In the Marvel Comics, the Greek Gods usually stick to Thor storylines, but that’s exciting in itself that Marvel could potentially adapt these famed figures to interact with our favorite comic book heroes and villains.

Now, every character Marvel decides to add to its movies may not have significance or be built into something more. Perhaps Thor will briefly come across Zeus on Olympus, and then we’ll move forward to the next movie later without any mention of Greek Gods down the line as a nod to this aspect to the comics. Either way, Marvel introduces us to Greek mythology and that opens up something completely new to its canon on the big and small screen.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor using thunder powers in Thor: Ragnarok

(Image credit: (Marvel))

What Zeus Could Mean For The Future Of The MCU

While it’s too early to truly know how Russell Crowe’s Zeus may affect the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it does bring a lot more power onto the surface of it. At the very least, my guess is Thor and Zeus will get acquainted during Thor: Love and Thunder. If they hit it off, Thor has a city of gods on his side to explore and get to know. But if he gets on his bad side, Marvel could be setting up a major matchup in the MCU. The Avengers vs. the Olympians anyone?

It goes to show that Marvel is fully embracing its universe in all its pockets. One side is presumably opening up the multiverse, while another explored multiple timelines with time travel. And then with the Eternals, more of the galaxy is being filled in and different kinds of heroes and villains from every span of time and space are beginning to form. It’s pretty insane how the MCU will expand in Phase Four alone!

Thor: Love and Thunder will also include Matt Damon (after he played Actor Loki in Ragnarok), Taika Waititi’s Korg, Jaimie Alexander’s Lady Sif and Sean Gunn’s Kraglin. The movie is coming to theaters about a year from now, on May 6, 2022. It will follow Black Widow, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home coming this year, and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness coming almost two months before Thor 4. Check out the full Marvel movies lineup while you theorize!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.