Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Thor, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is intended to be the direct sequel to Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Taika Waititi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, and stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor alongside Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Chris Pratt, Jaimie Alexander, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Jeff Goldblum, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper. In the film, Thor attempts to find inner peace, but must return to action and recruit Valkyrie (Thompson), Korg (Waititi), and Jane Foster (Portman)—who is now the Mighty Thor—to stop Gorr the God Butcher (Bale) from eliminating all gods.

Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor Love and Thunder poster.jpeg
Teaser poster
Directed byTaika Waititi
Written by
Based on
Produced by
Starring
Edited byMaryann Brandon
Music byMichael Giacchino
Production
company
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • July 8, 2022 (2022-07-08)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Hemsworth and Waititi had discussed plans for a sequel to Ragnarok by January 2018. Love and Thunder was announced in July 2019, with Hemsworth, Waititi, and Thompson all set to return, as well as Portman who did not appear in Ragnarok. Waititi wanted to differentiate Love and Thunder from Ragnarok, seeking to make a romance film and 1980s-inspired adventure. He adapted elements from Jason Aaron's run on the Mighty Thor comic book, which sees Foster take on the mantle and powers of Thor whilst suffering from cancer. Robinson joined as co-writer in February 2020, and further casting was revealed later that year including the appearance of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Production was expected to begin in late 2020 but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming ultimately began in January 2021 in Sydney, Australia, and concluded at the beginning of June.

Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to be released in the United States on July 8, 2022, as part of Phase Four of the MCU.

Premise

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Thor attempts to find inner peace, but must return to action and recruit Valkyrie, Korg, and Jane Foster—who has become the Mighty Thor—to stop Gorr the God Butcher from eliminating all gods.[1]

Cast

Hemsworth, Thompson, and Portman announcing the film at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con

Additionally, Waititi reprises his role as Korg, a Kronan gladiator who befriended Thor.[20] Matt Damon, Sam Neill, and Luke Hemsworth also reprise their Thor: Ragnarok roles as Asgardian actors respectively playing Loki, Odin, and Thor, with Melissa McCarthy joining them as an actress playing Hela.[21] Russell Crowe makes a cameo appearance as Zeus, king of the Olympians, based on the Greek mythological deity of the same name.[22][23] Akosia Sabet appears as the goddess Bast.[24] McCarthy's husband Ben Falcone, singer Jenny Morris, and Simon Russell Beale have been cast in undisclosed roles.[21][25][26] The film also features Falligar the Behemoth, one of the gods slain by Gorr,[27] and Thor's magical goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, based on the Norse mythological animals Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr.[28]

Production

Development

Chris Hemsworth indicated in January 2018 that he was interested in continuing to play Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), despite his contract with Marvel Studios being set to end with his role in Avengers: Endgame (2019).[29] By then, Hemsworth and Taika Waititi—director of the third Thor film, Thor: Ragnarok (2017)—had discussed what they would want in a potential fourth Thor film,[30] and Hemsworth said a month later that he would consider returning if there was "another great script".[31] Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in the MCU films, believed in April 2019 that a pitch had been made for a Ragnarok sequel that involved Waititi returning.[32] Hemsworth said then that he would continue to play Thor for as long as possible, crediting Waititi with revitalizing his interest in the role after he became exhausted and underwhelmed with it prior to making Ragnarok.[33]

In July 2019, Waititi officially signed on to write and direct a fourth Thor film, with Hemsworth expected to reprise his role.[34] Waititi was not interested in repeating what they did with Ragnarok, instead wanting to do "something more interesting for myself to keep the whole thing ignited and to make sure that I'm feeling creatively stimulated".[6] Later that month, at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced the film as Thor: Love and Thunder, with a release date of November 5, 2021. Hemsworth and Thompson were confirmed to be returning along with Natalie Portman, reprising her role of Jane Foster from Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013).[2] Portman agreed to return to the franchise, after her character was not included in Ragnarok, following a single meeting with Waititi in which he offered to reprise the character in a different, fresh way.[8][35] Thompson and Feige added that Valkyrie's bisexuality would be addressed in the sequel, retroactively making her Marvel Studios' first LGBTQ superhero.[5][36] Marvel Studios executive Brad Winderbaum was producing the film alongside Feige.[1] Hemsworth was paid $20 million to star in Love and Thunder,[37] an increase from the $15 million salary he earned for each of his appearances in Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Endgame.[38]

Don Harwin, the Minister for the Arts for the Australian state of New South Wales, announced at the end of July that Thor: Love and Thunder would be filmed at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney back-to-back with Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), with work set to begin on Love and Thunder there in March 2020 ahead of an August 2020 filming start. The production was set to receive over AU$24 million (US$17 million) of subsidies from the Australian and New South Wales governments. Marvel Studios vice president David Grant said shooting the two films back-to-back would provide continuous employment for local crews, with Love and Thunder expected to generate over AU$178 million (US$127 million) for the local economy. He added that the studio would work with "local educational institutions in creating internship opportunities".[39] Jeff Goldblum said in August 2019 that there was a chance he could reprise his Ragnarok role of the Grandmaster in the sequel,[40] and Waititi confirmed in October that he would be reprising his own role of Korg from Ragnarok and Endgame.[20]

Christian Bale entered talks to join the cast in January 2020,[41] with pre-production expected to begin in April.[42] Jennifer Kaytin Robinson was hired to work on the film's screenplay with Waititi in February.[43] Thompson confirmed a month later that Bale would star as the villain in the film,[44] while Vin Diesel, who voices Groot in the MCU films, said he had discussed the film with Waititi and had been told the Guardians of the Galaxy would be appearing in it.[45] In early April, Disney shifted much of their Phase Four slate of films due to the COVID-19 pandemic, moving Thor: Love and Thunder's release date to February 18, 2022.[46] Pre-production on the film was delayed due to the pandemic, with Waititi unsure when production would continue.[47] At the end of the month, Disney moved the release date up to February 11, 2022.[48] By July, filming was set to start in early 2021.[49]

Writing

 
Co-writer and director Taika Waititi at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con

When announcing the film in July 2019, Waititi said it would adapt elements from Jason Aaron's Mighty Thor comic books by having Foster become a hero called the Mighty Thor.[2][50] Feige said the film would include a lot of elements from Marvel comics, and the storyline of Foster becoming the Mighty Thor would be an important part,[8][50] explaining that Marvel considered the Mighty Thor run to be one of the best recent comic books. Waititi read the comic while working on Ragnarok, and when he agreed to direct another Thor film he told Marvel that he wanted to include Foster as the Mighty Thor.[8] The studio agreed to adapt Aaron's storyline and include Portman following discussions with Waititi about where the story could lead.[9] A. C. Bradley, the head writer of the animated series What If...?, pitched an episode of that series in which Foster would have become Thor, but the idea was rejected because the storyline was already being used for Love and Thunder.[51]

In August, Waititi was reported to have completed a script for the film,[52] but he denied this later that month.[53] While promoting his film Jojo Rabbit in October, Waititi said he had completed the first draft of the screenplay,[54] but the story would change throughout filming and editing. He was unsure if the film would include the storyline from Aaron's run in which Foster suffers from breast cancer, which he said was a powerful part of the comics.[55] Portman later said Foster's treatment from cancer would be explored in the film.[7] Waititi added that Marvel was still discussing how much time would pass between Endgame and Love and Thunder, and that this would affect whether Thor is still carrying the extra weight he is depicted with in Endgame, which earned him the nicknames "Fat Thor" and "Bro Thor". Waititi did note that he wanted to "keep changing it up with Thor. He's so interesting when he's changing all the time."[54] He also acknowledged fans "shipping" Valkyrie with Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel but said he did not intend to include a romantic relationship between the pair because he would rather surprise fans than do something by popular demand.[56]

Four or five drafts of the screenplay had been completed by mid-April 2020,[47] when Waititi said the sequel was "so over the top now in the very best way" and would make Ragnarok look like a "run of the mill, very safe film" by doubling down on its crazier aspects.[47][56] He wanted to up the ante and make the film as if "10-year-olds told us what should be in a movie and we said yes to every single thing." Waititi added that the film would explore more of Korg's Kronan culture and indicated that it would include the Space Sharks alien race from the comics. He expressed interest in featuring the character Beta Ray Bill, but was unsure at that point if he would.[47] At the end of July, Waititi said they had been writing the script off and on for over a year and he was taking another pass on it that week. He said it was very romantic, and explained that he wanted to make a romance film because he wanted to make something that he had not done before.[49][57] He later said the film was "about love, with superheroes and outer space", and that he wanted to "embrace this thing that I was always a bit dismissive of, and explore this idea of love, and show characters who do believe in love".[58] That October, Hemsworth said Waititi was still writing the script and expressed his excitement for doing something drastically different with his character, as he did in his previous three MCU films.[59] Waititi later described Love and Thunder as the craziest film he had ever made and explained that each element was intended to not make sense. He said it would have its own "distinct flavour" from Ragnarok,[60] which he called a 1970s space opera with a festive, party-like tone. He saw this film as a 1980s adventure, taking inspiration from posters for films such as Conan the Barbarian (1982) and The Beastmaster (1982) as well as art seen on vans in Venice Beach. He said it was not serious or dramatic, but it did explore themes such as love, loss, and "our place in the world" while making the characters ask themselves these questions: "What is your purpose? What is the reason that you're a hero, and what do you do when you have these powers?"[6]

James Gunn, the writer and director of the three Guardians of the Galaxy films, consulted on how the Guardians characters were used in Love and Thunder,[61] with Gunn and Waititi discussing where the characters were going before Waititi began writing. Waititi read Gunn's script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023), which is set after Love and Thunder, and then Gunn read Waititi's script and shared his thoughts,[62] asking for some adjustments to be made.[63] In January 2021, Gunn said the Guardians were "in great hands" with Waititi,[61] and he later praised Waititi's work on the script.[64]

Pre-production

Pre-production began in Australia by October 2020.[7] A month later, Chris Pratt was revealed to be reprising his role as Guardians of the Galaxy leader Peter Quill / Star-Lord.[11] Given the ensemble nature of the cast, industry insiders described the film as feeling like "Avengers 5".[65] In December, Feige revealed that the film's release was delayed again, this time to May 6, 2022, and he announced that Bale would portray Gorr the God Butcher in the film.[66] Jaimie Alexander was also revealed to be reprising her MCU role, returning as Sif from the first two Thor films,[13] alongside other members and allies of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Pom Klementieff as Mantis,[14] Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Karen Gillan as Nebula,[15] and Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri; Gunn also provides on set reference for Guardians member Rocket.[15][17] Matt Damon was set to appear, after making a cameo appearance in Ragnarok as an Asgardian actor playing Loki.[15][67] He received special permission to enter Australia, despite the country's strict travel restrictions during the pandemic, since Love and Thunder was providing jobs for Australians.[68] This prompted criticism as it was perceived that Damon, who traveled with his family, received preferential treatment to enter when many Australian nationals abroad were unable to return to the country.[67] Sam Neill—who appeared alongside Damon in Ragnarok as an actor playing Odin—said there was a good chance he would be in the film as well, as long as he could travel from New Zealand to Australia during the pandemic.[69]

Filming

Principal photography began on January 26, 2021,[70] at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney,[39] under the working title The Big Salad.[71] Filming was delayed from an initial August 2020 start date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[39][49] Industrial Light & Magic provided the same StageCraft virtual production technology used on the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian, which Waititi directed an episode of, creating a custom volume space at Fox Studios Australia. It featured more LED panels and offered a higher resolution than the original volume created for The Mandalorian.[72] Waititi also used Satellite Lab's PlateLight technology (after previously using their Dynamiclight technology on Ragnarok), which is a special rig designed to capture multiple lighting set-ups simultaneously within a single shot at a high frame rate, allowing Waititi to select which lighting set up he would like in post-production.[73] Waititi believed he was able to shoot Love and Thunder more efficiently than Ragnarok due to already having experience working on a Marvel Studios film.[6]

Filming occurred at Centennial Park in Sydney in early February,[74] with Klementieff, Gillan, Bautista, and Pratt completing their scenes shortly afterward.[75][76][77] In early March, set photos revealed Damon and Neill were reprising their roles as the Asgardian actors playing Loki and Odin, along with Luke Hemsworth in his Ragnarok role as the actor playing Thor. Melissa McCarthy was also revealed to be portraying an actress playing Hela alongside her husband Ben Falcone in an undisclosed role; these cameos were for a sequence where actors reenact scenes from Ragnarok.[21] Damon filmed his part over two days.[68] Alexander completed filming her scenes by the end of the month,[78] while Goldblum was confirmed to appear as the Grandmaster,[18] and Russell Crowe was revealed to be portraying Zeus in a "fun cameo".[22][23] Crowe finished filming his scenes in April.[23] At the beginning of May, Waititi said there were four weeks left of shooting.[79] Barry "Baz" Idoine, who worked with Waititi as the cinematographer on The Mandalorian, stated that he was working on the film, and would continue to do so through the end of 2021.[80] Filming wrapped on June 1, 2021,[81] by which point Neill had revealed that singer Jenny Morris would appear in the film.[25]

Post-production

Maryann Brandon serves as the editor of the film.[82] Waititi said in early June 2021 that post-production would be completed by February 2022.[83] Later in June, Diesel was confirmed to be reprising his voice role as Groot.[19] In October 2021, the film's release date was delayed to July 8, 2022,[84] while Simon Russell Beale was revealed to be appearing.[26] Additional photography for the film took place in early 2022.[85] At the start of March, further reshoots were revealed to be happening "in the coming weeks",[86] and were said to have begun with Bale by the week of March 18.[85][87] With the release of the teaser trailer in April, Bradley Cooper was confirmed to be reprising his voice role as Rocket,[1] and the following month, Akosia Sabet was revealed to be appearing as the goddess Bast.[24]

Music

The film will feature the song "Rainbow in the Dark" by Dio, according to Wendy Dio, widow of band member Ronnie James Dio.[88] In December 2021, Michael Giacchino revealed that he would be scoring the film; he previously scored Doctor Strange (2016) and the MCU Spider-Man trilogy for Marvel Studios, as well as Waititi's previous film Jojo Rabbit (2019).[89]

Marketing

Lego sets and Hasbro figures based on the film were revealed in February 2022,[90] with additional Lego sets and Funko Pops revealed that April.[91] The teaser trailer was released on April 18,[1] and commentators discussed its ending which debuted Portman's Foster in the Mighty Thor costume and wielding a restored version of Thor's hammer Mjolnir. Marco Vito Oddo of Collider and Ryan Parker from The Hollywood Reporter highlighted the use of the song "Sweet Child o' Mine" by Guns N' Roses, which Oddo felt indicated Waititi would "keep the hard rock aesthetics that helped Thor: Ragnarok become a huge success", while Parker called it a "bright, stylish, fun trailer [that] sets a tone for the film in true Taika Waititi form".[92][93][94] Justin Harp of Digital Spy felt the humor from Ragnarok was "clearly back in this film too",[95] while Tom Power of TechRadar felt the trailer was a "superhero, intergalactic glam rock feast for the senses" and contained intriguing footage that did a good job of teasing the film.[96] Both The Ringer's Daniel Chin and Empire's Sophie Butcher highlighted the trailer's focus on Thor's journey of self-discovery as well as the lack of footage of Christian Bale's Gorr. Chin remarked that the trailer was "dedicated to catching up with Thor as he rediscovers himself", and was excited for Portman's performance as Foster. He thought the trailer was a "far cry from the Thor we witnessed over a decade ago, as the franchise has transformed into a full-blown space comedy". Butcher felt the trailer's introspection was not surprising due to the film being set after Endgame, and said the trailer was brief but exciting.[97][98] The trailer had 209 million global views in its first 24 hours, becoming the seventh most viewed trailer in that time period.[99]

Release

Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to be released in the United States on July 8, 2022.[84] It was previously set for release on November 5, 2021,[2] but was delayed to February 18, 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[46] It was then moved up a week to February 11 once Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was rescheduled from November 2021 to March 2022,[48] and delayed once again to May 6, 2022, in December 2020,[66][48] before shifting to the July 2022 date in October 2021.[84] It will be part of Phase Four of the MCU.[100]

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