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Marvel's Zeus: 7 Things To Know About The Olympian God Ahead Of Thor: Love And Thunder

Russell Crowe as Jor-El in Man of Steel
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Considering the fact that famous mythological figures - such as Hades or Dracula or other characters along those lines - have existed for long enough to be in the public domain, comic book publishing companies such as Marvel ran into no legal trouble when creating their own interpretations. The Marvel-canon versions of mythological characters have already been adapted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe - most notably Thor, his brother Loki, and their father Odin - but not the most recognizable and definitive god of them all…until now, that is.

When Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters on July 8, 2022, the MCU will debut its own version of the chief deity of Greek mythology overall, Zeus, as played by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe. For those who are not familiar with how his story has been rewritten for the pages of Marvel Comics and how he may connect to Thor or other MCU characters, we have you covered. The following is a breakdown of all the basic information to know about this version of Zeus, starting with a breakdown of all he is capable of.

Zeus from Marvel Comics

(Image credit: Marvel)

Zeus Has Various Godly Abilities, Including Strength, Shape-shifting, Etc.

First introduced into Marvel Comics by legendary writer Stan Lee and iconic illustrator Jack Kirby in Venus #5 in 1949, Zeus Panhellenios was observed in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire as the god of the heavens, the sky, and weather - which certainly puts him a leg or so above Thor, the God of Thunder. He is also the leader of the Olympians (which we cover more of soon) and, as such, has all the same abilities of an Olympian deity - such as your basic superhuman strength, speed, indestructibility, and even taking the form of any creature imaginable, and transporting to other dimensions at will..In addition to being electrokinetic, he has been known to use thunderbolts crafted by his son, Hephaestas, while in combat.

Cronus from Marvel Comics

(Image credit: Marvel)

Zeus Was Born In Secret To Protect Him From His Cruel Father

The story of how Zeus came to lead the Olympians (a humanoid race from the dimension Olympus) begins before he was born, when a prophecy claimed that his father, Cronus, would be overthrown by his own son. In an attempt to prevent his downfall, the cruel Titan had all of his children imprisoned, which forced his wife, Rhea, to have their sixth child, Zeus, in secret and hide him on the island of Crete. He immediately sought revenge on his father when he reached adulthood, starting with freeing his siblings (Hades, Hestia, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter) who assisted in a decade-long war with Cronus and the Titans that ended with Zeus becoming the victor and, as a result, the new ruler of Olympus.

Zeus and Hera from Marvel Comics

(Image credit: Marvel)

Zeus Bred Many Children With Many Lovers, Including His Wife And Sister, Hera

Zeus married and had four children (Ares, Ebis, Hebe, and the aforementioned Hephaestas) with Hera - whom, as we established, was actually his own sister. However, he also had many lovers on the side (not that this makes things an ounce better) including goddesses, Titans, nymphs, and even mortal women. Many more children of his were bred from these affairs, such as the goddess Athena with the Titan Metis, Aphrodite with another Titan named Dionne, or Hermes with a nymph named Maia. His most famous child, however, was bred with a more distinct purpose.

Hercules from Marvel Comics

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Zeus Fathered Hercules Almost Purely To Protect Him From A Prophetic Fate

Like his father, Zeus’ fate was also foretold in a prophecy that claimed he and the Olympians were doomed to be destroyed by the Giant offspring of Gaia (the personification of the Earth), who could only be defeated by a mortal. Thus, he took the form of a Greek human general named Amphityron, seduced his wife, Alcmena, and, in doing so, sired the half-god champion who would come to be known as Hercules. The legendary strongman - who has been adapted for film countless times, including in one film starring Dwayne Johnson and in an underrated animated Disney movie from 1997 - successfully defended his father and Olympus by slaying the giant. 

eternals cast

(Image credit: Disney)

Zeus And The Olympians Have A Rocky History With The Eternals

There is a chance that we could see the return of the Eternals cast (or at least some reference to them) in Thor: Love and Thunder given the fact that they are acquainted with Zeus, but have not always been on the best terms. After discovering that the city of Olympia (essentially the Eternals’ headquarters) was near Olympus, Zeus and Athena held a meeting with their leader, Zuras, and his daughter, coincidentally named Thena, which ended with the immortal beings agreeing to be the Olympians’ representatives on Earth. However, when the mortals began to perceive the Eternals as gods themselves, the Olympians were angered, leading to a brief war between the races.

Thor and Odin in Thor: The Dark World

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Zeus And The Olympians Were Once At Odds With Asgard, Too

Zeus’ reputation for getting into fights with other immortal races did not stop at the Eternals. Once, Hercules led a group of warriors in a fight with some Norsemen who were under the protection of Thor, which became the catalyst for a war between the land of Asgard and the Olympians. What finally ended the war was a secret meeting between Zeus and Odin during which they agreed to form an alliance to protect the Earth from the Celestials. This also led to the formation of an allied committee of godly leaders, known as the Council of the Godheads.

Chris Hemsworth in Thor

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Zeus Acted As A Mentor To A Young Thor

Despite the issues that their respective races had previously faced with one another, Zeus and Odin shared a long, deep friendship and admiration for one another that Zeus would continue to honor long after the Asgardian king had died. Out of respect for his friend, Zeus acted as a father figure and advisor to his son, Thor, when the God of Thunder was in his younger years.

We may likely see, in Thor: Love and Thunder, a glimpse of this mentor-mentee dynamic between Russell Crowe’s Zeus and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, who may be a few hundred years or so past his youth at this point. However, when we last saw him in Avengers: Endgame, he was still struggling with the death of his father and his brother, and the destruction of his home. It sounds to me like a reunion with his old friend, Zeus, is something he could really use.

Jason Wiese
Jason Wiese

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.