Is Thor going to die in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder?’

Thor - Love and Thunder
Image via Marvel Studios

The latest trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder is sparking concern amongst the God of Thunder’s fans.

Throughout the trailer, fans fixated on minimal cues and tiny hints, which they took as indicators that the fourth Thor film may be Chris Hemsworth’s last. The brawny Australian has played Marvel’s God of Thunder for more than a decade now, cementing himself as one of the very best the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer.

Recent years, in particular, have seen Hemsworth’s Thor reimagined as a burly-but-hilarious character, one who pairs fast-paced action scenes and occasional drama with wit, charm, and humor. The combination is show-stopping and has helped immensely in elevating Thor to one of the franchise’s best heroes.

Thor’s rising popularity doesn’t mean that he’ll be around forever, unfortunately. The MCU has been hard at work reshaping its lineup, with new faces replacing many of the team’s OG heroes. The original team, which consisted of Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, and Captain America, has largely dropped off over the course of the last several films. Everyone remembers Iron Man and Black Widow’s deaths during Endgame, as well as Captain America’s passing of the torch. Series like Disney Plus’ Hawkeye and the upcoming She-Hulk: Attorney at Law seem poised to introduce and cement replacements for Hulk and Hawkeye, leaving only Thor without an established replacement.

Love and Thunder seems clearly poised to change that, and this has fans concerned. The clear intent to replace Hemsworth’s Thor with Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor is sparking concern that Thor could die in Love and Thunder, an idea that is, unfortunately, entirely feasable.

Will Thor die in Love and Thunder?

Throughout the just over two-minute trailer for Love and Thunder, a voiceover from the singular Korg — played by Taika Waititi — largely speaks of Thor in the past tense. The eulogy-ish nature of this setup, along with hints that Thor is set to pass the torch, is sparking rumors that Thor will die in the fourth MCU film bearing his name.

The idea that Thor could die in Love and Thunder is far from assured, but it’s not an absurd notion. The MCU has proven that — while it often finds ways to skirt around character deaths — it’s willing to kill off even its main moneymakers. As noted above, Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff were killed off for good in Endgame, and several other primary heroes — like Gamora, Vision, and Quicksilver — have also (seemingly) permanently unsubscribed from life.

A handful of other heroes have joined these favorites in death, but few were as prominent as Thor. His popularity amongst fans won’t necessarily protect Thor, however, nor will the success of his recent films. If Hemsworth is ready to say goodbye to the character, or if Marvel has plans to permanently remove him from the lineup, Love and Thunder could very well see his final appearance in the MCU.

There’s also the nature of Love and Thunder to consider, based on the details we know so far. In the film, Thor and Mighty Thor are set to face off against Gorr the God Butcher, a powerful and intimidating villain who — you guessed it — made a literal name for himself by butchering the gods. If anyone is capable of ending Thor for good, it’s Gorr. His presence in the film may indicate that the MCU aims to accomplish two big things with the fourth Thor installment: introduce a new, potentially longstanding, villain into the mix, and kill off Thor for good.

If Thor were to die in Love and Thunder, several key details about the upcoming movie would make more sense. For one, he’s no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir — or at least not as worthy as Portman’s Jane Foster. Add the past-tense discussions of his influence to this and a sprinkle of his seemingly romantic relationship with Foster and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a major character death.

Thor love and thunder chris hemsworth marvel disney
Image via Marvel Studios

See, the trailer seems to indicate that Love and Thunder will rekindle the romance between Foster and Thor. If this is the case — and Thor is set to step down from MC status into (at most) a background role — it seems to be setting up for one of two possibilities. While we would happily welcome a switch-up in which Thor was the background love interest for Foster’s Mighty Thor, this doesn’t seem as likely as the alternative. Instead, it seems entirely on-brand for the MCU to treat Love and Thunder as Foster’s origin story of sorts, allowing Thor to sacrifice himself in order to provide her with the motivation — and perhaps power — necessary to take the mantle of Thor.

There’s also the issue of Foster’s cancer. In Marvel comics, the character is dying of breast cancer by the time she takes up the title of Mighty Thor. Her situation is particularly tricky because Foster’s hero status is literally killing her — each time she transforms into Mighty Thor, she purges the chemotherapy from her body and worsens her prognosis.

If the MCU intends to keep this storyline, killing Thor will provide several important bits of backstory and motivation for Foster. For one thing, if transforming into Mighty Thor is killing her and Thor is still alive, why wouldn’t he simply return to his former role and ease Foster of the burden? Particularly if the two are still romantically involved? If Thor is dead, and this option thus nixed, her reason for continuing to fight is far clearer.

There’s also the overarching issue of motivation. If Thor dies in order to ensure Mighty Thor can maintain his legacy, Foster will have far more motivation to maintain her status as a hero despite the consequences. If she’s holding that hammer for Thor as well as herself, her bravery in facing down both cancer and supervillains becomes much more interesting and grounded, and will almost certainly connect well with audiences.

Fans would be sad to see Thor go, there’s no debating that. He’s quickly become one of the very best characters the MCU ever graced audiences with and there’s plenty more story potential in his character. But the MCU seems poised to move on with a fresh, exciting new character, and Thor’s death would allow them to move on without his massive influence overshadowing future films. It almost makes more sense to kill Thor, particularly if Foster is set to stick around. It’s a classic superhero origin story to find motivation in seeing a loved one die tragically, this approach is just rarely used on female characters. It would be a breath of fresh air for the MCU to approach Love and Thunder in this way and could finally give fans the unapologetically powerful female hero we’ve been waiting for.

If Hemsworth’s Thor has to die to see this potential realized, we can only hope it will be worthwhile.