With yesterday’s news that Taika Waititi will soon bring Thor 4 to theaters, the God of Thunder quietly slipped past a major Marvel Studios milestone. With a fourth film incoming, the Thor series is now officially the longest-running franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Though he may not be as ubiquitous as Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark or Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, whose appearances in the MCU have each hit the double digits, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor will be the first Avenger to receive more than the typical trilogy. It’s also likely, thanks to the finale of Avengers: Endgame, that this will be the only Phase One series to continue on past Phase Three.
Both the Iron Man and Captain America movies wrapped up their storyline within three standalone movies and a few Avengers team ups (of which Thor was also a part of). Robert Downey Jr. kicked off the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008’s Iron Man, which was quickly followed by Iron Man 2 just two years later. Tony Stark’s initial arc was brought to a fitting close with Iron Man 3 in 2013, and though he popped up in many, many movies after, most of those appearances were in larger supporting roles rather than the actual lead.
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Captain America, on the other hand, only appeared in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger in Phase One, followed by 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Solider in Phase Two, and 2016’s Captain America: Civil War in Phase 3. Arguably the most critically praised of the MCU trilogies, the character’s man out of time storyline evolved into a tale about trust and friendship as his childhood best friend Bucky re-entered the picture.
Avengers: Endgame brought both of these character’s arcs to a satisfying conclusion, with Tony Stark making the ultimate sacrifice to stop Thanos and Steve Rogers traveling back in time to quietly live with his love Peggy Carter. A funny tribute to the both of them kicked off Spider-Man: Far From Home as well, so its safe to say their stories are complete.
Thor, however, found new life in Taika Watiti’s Ragnarok, the third follow up after two mildly unpopular standalone franchise entries. That, coupled with an Endgame finale that saw our Asgardian hero head off into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy, indicates that there’s a lot of the character’s story left to tell. Thor 4 is set to hit theaters sometime in the early 2020s, and considering Waititi would love to direct his own Thor trilogy, it’s likely that the God of Thunder will be around for many more years to come.