Ending Explained is a recurring series where we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old. This time, we look at the ending of Thor: Love and Thunder. Yes, prepare for spoilers.
When Taika Waititi announced the Thor sequel’s title at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, I remember thinking, “Huh.” Thor: Love and Thunder, what the Hel does that mean? Subtitles like Ragnarok or The Dark World directly indicate what comics those films would be adapting, but Love and Thunder seemed fairly innocuous. Cute, maybe, but nothing more. Now, with the film out in the world, we realize the title contains much more than a whimsical note.
Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) nearly succeeds. As Zeus (Russell Crowe) predicted, the blasphemous murderer reaches Eternity, the cosmic personification of everything we see and experience. As a reward, Eternity grants Gorr one wish. In his hatred, the villain could exterminate every god from existence.
The Thor: Love and Thunder Ending
Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), the newly rechristened Mighty Thor, could not physically prevail against Gorr’s rage. Instead, Odinson pleads with his common sense. Rather than choosing revenge, Gorr could choose love. As fast as Eternity could extinguish the godly races, he could resurrect the daughter Gorr once lost. For whatever reason, the thought had never occurred to Gorr. Fatally wounded, however, if his daughter were to come back, he would die, and she would be alone. Odinson promises to raise her in Gorr’s absence.
And Jane’s absence as well. As worthy as she is to wield Mjölnir, the Asgardian tool cannot vaporize the cancer within her. Thor: Love and Thunder concludes with a hero and demon dead. Once again, Odinson is left to ponder his loneliness, except this time, he cannot afford to sulk. He has a daughter to watch over, played by Chris Hemsworth’s kid India Hemsworth.
The film’s final moments depict Thor and child wreaking havoc against an alien race. As the young girl takes hold of Stormbreaker, we hear narration from Korg (Waititi), stating how the two are known across the galaxy as “Love and Thunder.” The reveal is saccharine sweet, and painfully earnest. Whether it works for you probably stems from how the rest of the film worked on you. Cynicism has no place in a Taika Waititi film. You roll with the mushy feelings or you don’t.
Dead is Never Dead in the MCU
You don’t have long to sit with Thor: Love and Thunder‘s bittersweet ending. While Odinson and his new sidekick establish their badassery in the MCU, another angry father is left licking his wounds. As revealed in the mid-credits end scene, Zeus was not killed by Odinson during their Omnipotence City disagreement. He may have a hole in his chest, put there by his own lightning bolt, but it’s merely a flesh wound.
As his servants tend to him, Zeus speaks to a figure offscreen. He’s in a piss poor mood, and he wants to bring the pain to the god that put him there. Zeus doesn’t just want to kill Thor as any other ne’er-do-well would attempt. He wants to humiliate Odinson and needs the Asgardians to see it happen. To achieve such delicious retaliation, the god of gods calls on his son.
From the shadows, Hercules rises, and he’s played by Ted Lasso‘s meanest children’s soccer coach, Brett Goldstein. He promises dear old dad that he’ll bring the hurt upon the thunder god. He gives his open palm a solid thwack with his Golden Mace to prove his point.
Thor vs. Hercules: God Battle
Never mind Russell Crowe, Zeus’ appearance in the Thor: Love and Thunder trailers sparked tremendous curiosity. Mr. Mount Olympus doesn’t feature prominently in the comics, but his demigod son sure does. Marvel’s Hercules first appeared in 1965’s Journey into Mystery Annual #1 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. They treated the Greek gods just like the Asgardian gods, wrapping classic mythology in spandex. It was, and still is, an easy translation.
During his early years at Marvel, the character floated in and out of various comics. He’s a braggart, but no more than Thor, and he’s worked his way onto the Avengers roster more than once. Yet, he never reached massive popularity.
So what? The same can be said for Moon Knight and Hawkeye, which have their own Disney+ series. As we get further and further away from Avengers: Endgame, the smaller Marvel characters will gain the spotlight and become the big Marvel characters. Hercules is ripe for worldwide domination.
The Incredible Hercules
If you’re simply excited to see Brett Goldstein growl his way into the MCU, and you desperately need some Hercules comics to maintain your enthusiasm, then you should jump on The Incredible Hercules from writers Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, and a cadre of rad artists. The series replaced The Incredible Hulk when the jolly green gamma monster returned from his “Planet Hulk” storyline (which was somewhat adapted in Thor: Ragnarok) and went mad with rage.
The Incredible Hercules lasted from 2008 to 2010. It followed the demigod and his sister Athena as they roam around with Amadeus Cho, the seventh-smartest person on the planet. Unhappy with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s increasingly paranoid and conspiratorial grip on the planet, the three adventurers partner to bring down the organization. This scheme puts them in direct conflict with Hercules and Athena’s brother Ares, who happens to be a Mighty Avenger member.
If that was not bad enough, the Secret Invasion crossover event interrupts the monthly title as the series gets started. Skrulls are everywhere! Hercules and Cho are on the frontlines of that battle to reclaim the planet from the shapeshifting invaders. Considering Disney+ is nearly ready to unleash their own version, it’s possible that Goldstein’s Hercules could fold into whatever Nick Fury is cooking up there.
Love and Thunder Need Backup
The Thor: Love and Thunder ending shows Odinson and Gorr’s daughter kicking butt easily. But the butts they’re kicking are little more than day players. If Hercules were to land on their doorstep swinging that Golden Mace, they’ll need more than their own gumption. Love and Thunder will need backup, and it’s waiting for them in Valhalla.
The last end credits scene shows Jane Foster’s arrival in the Asgardian afterlife. She died in battle and is granted entrance, where Heimdall (Idris Elba) is there to greet her. In Thor comics, folks always roll in and out of Valhalla. They basically stay there until they’re bored or when another writer or artist has something cool planned for them.
Jane Foster’s time as the Mighty Thor is only beginning. She’ll be back by Odinson’s side. So, when the credits claim “Thor Will Return,” don’t think they’re just talking about Chris Hemsworth. Also, when Jane inevitably does come back, she should bring Heimdall with her. If Zeus can still kick it in the MCU, we need our all-seeing master of the Rainbow Bridge too.
Thor: Love and Thunder is now playing in theaters everywhere.