Now out in theaters around the world, Thor: Love and Thunder brings us to the fourth solo adventure of the Asgardian Avenger and claims its place as the 29th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It sees director Taika Waititi, who previously helmed 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, adding his comedic touch to another superhero outing (and the two post-credits scenes).
The film catches up with Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) after the events of Avengers: Endgame, in which he decided to join the space-faring Guardians of the Galaxy. He is also reunited with former flame Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who has been given the power of his old hammer Mjolnir and has become the Mighty Thor, as they face the eerie threat of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale).
Once you’ve wrapped your head around the film’s ending and its other delightful cameos, it’s time to spin your enchanted hammer and jump into SPOILERS for the mid- and post-credits scenes.
A vengeful god
In the mid-credits scene, it is revealed that Zeus (Russell Crowe) survived after Thor shot the Greek god’s own thunderbolt through his chest. Zeus is cared for on his throne and expresses his anger that people now worship superheroes over gods.
“They’ll be afraid of us again when they see Thor Odinson fall from the sky,” he says bitterly. ‘Do you understand Hercules? Do you understand me, my son?’
Brett Goldstein, who shows up as Hercules in the mid-credits scene of Thor: Love and Thunder, shows his near-divine strength by holding up the Emmy he won for Ted Lasso in 2021.
Rich Fury/Getty Images
We’re introduced to Hercules from the MCU (Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso’s lovable moody Roy Kent).
“Yes father,” he growls.
What does it mean?
Marvel’s Hercules was introduced in the comics in the 1960s as a rival to Thor, but later became his ally and joined the Avengers. In the decades since his debut, he has appeared regularly, occasionally in his own series. Herc is a bit of a show-off, but a trusted friend to his fellow heroes.
Hercules has starred in multiple comic book series since the 1960s, but usually appears as a supporting character.
The character was first thought of as a goon of time-travelling villain Immortus, but that version later turned out to be an impostor — mainly because it didn’t quite match his later characterization and because “impostor” is a classic comic book explanation for such anomalies.
Immortus partly inspired Loki villain He Who Remains, who was an alternate reality version of future MCU villain Kang. Since the movies and shows regularly riff on classic comics, it’s possible Hercules will team up with Kang in his quest to take down Thor.
Anyway, it’s likely that Hercules and Thor will become allies at some point in the future – Goldstein is just too popular and sweet to stay bad.
He is also the second Ted Lasso actor to have made a recent cameo for a post-credits MCU scene. Cristo Fernández, best known for portraying Dani “Football is life” Rojas in the Apple TV Plus series, appeared in one of Spider-Man: No Way Home’s extra scenes last December.
Life after death
While Thor struggled to stop Gorr from reaching almighty Eternity and wished all gods to be wiped out, Jane abandoned her cancer treatment to take Mjolnir one last time and rode to his aid. The heroic duo managed to convince Gorr to abandon his genocidal campaign, but soon after, she lost her battle with the disease.
Heimdall returns in Love and Thunder’s post-credits, a glimpse into the Asgardian afterlife.
The post-credits scene reunites us with Jane after her death, as she steps through a portal and finds herself in a beautiful mountainous location. She is greeted by Heimdall (Idris Elba), the all-seeing guardian of Asgard’s Bifrost Bridge who was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
“You are most welcome here in the land of the gods,” he says warmly. “Welcome to Valhalla.”
What does it mean?
Valhalla, the Asgardian heaven inspired by Norse mythology, was mentioned earlier in the film. When Thor encounters an injured Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) after meeting Gorr, she urges him to let her die so she can go to Valhalla. Thor reminds her that she would only go there if she died in battle, so she agrees to go to New Asgard and get patched up.
When Jane dies in Thor’s (massive) arms after the final battle with Gorr, she disintegrates into stardust like Odin (Anthony Hopkins) did in Thor: Ragnarok, suggesting that she was accepted as an Asgardian despite being born human .
This could mean that Jane may rest in the afterlife among the other fallen gods and we won’t see her again (especially since it would be expensive to get Portman, Elba, and Hopkins back). However, post-credits MCU scenes usually serve to set up future storylines, and Jane’s comedic counterpart became a Valkyrie after her time as Mighty Thor concluded.
Jane’s comedic superhero career led her to become Valkyrie.
In the MCU, this group of elite female warriors was slaughtered in battle with the goddess of death Hela. King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) was the only survivor. In the comics and Norse mythology, the Valkyries accompany those who die in battle in Valhalla, so their MCU counterparts may have served a similar purpose – Jane could eventually join their ranks.
Valhalla is also likely just one dimension in the MCU, and it may be possible to travel back and forth there since the multiverse was busted open in the Loki season finale. So Jane and Thor were able to meet again.
Could Loki be in Valhalla?
The original MCU Loki is dead and killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War (the one we followed in the Disney Plus series was an alternate timeline variant). Since the OG Loki was killed in battle, he should have been rewarded with a blissful eternity in Valhalla.
It’s also possible that the original version of the character isn’t dead, as the older Classic Loki – a variant from yet another timeline – featured in the Disney Plus series revealed that he tricked Thanos with a super-realistic projection . Then he lived “for a long, long time” in solitude on a remote planet.
Classic Loki’s timeline deviated from the mainline as he left the remote world to see Thor. That suggests the regular version of the character remained isolated, so maybe he didn’t make it to Valhalla after all.
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