All eyes are on Doctor Strange‘s upcoming journey into a multiverse of madness (Hey! That’s the title!), so one might be forgiven for forgetting that there are, in fact, other Marvel movies coming up in the near future. Rest assured, the first teaser for Thor: Love & Thunder looks to remedy that situation, teasing a return for the Strongest Avenger (he now has a trucker hat that says so) that people will be talking about for quite some time.
Between the events of Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has been through…a lot. Not only did he spiral into depression after blaming himself for failing to prevent the outcome of Infinity War, he’s also lost just about everything important to him or that helped him to define who he was: his father, his brother, Mjolnr, the entire planet of Asgard, he broke up with Jane Foster…you get the picture. He even gave up his birthright as ruler of the Asgardians, realizing that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie would do a much better job of it than he ever could.
So at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor did what just about anyone would do after going through several traumatic, life changing experiences—decided he was done with the whole superhero thing and hitched a ride with some newfound friends from outer space to go find himself. Love & Thunder looks to be picking up not long afterwards, and Thor’s journey of self-discovery and self-love takes center stage for this first teaser—set to Guns n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” in case the 80’s vibes weren’t made clear from the new logo. Or the new poster. Or Thor’s new look, complete with red leather vest. Among the brief clips shown, we see a still-overweight Thor working out (training montage anyone?) kissing a blue haired pirate lady who I am…immediately interested in finding out more about, and Thor parting ways with the Guardians as they head off for their third movie while Thor goes off with best boy Korg in tow for some more solo world exploration in his quest for inner peace.
Of course, it isn’t just going to be Thor learning to Live, Laugh, Love (a joke shamelessly stolen from this guy on Reddit)—there’s a battle coming up with Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher that will likely throw a wrench in the whole “retirement” and “inner peace” thing. While we don’t see him in this first teaser, we do get glimpses of Russell Crowe’s Zeus along with the rest of the Greek Pantheon, Valkyrie looking less than pleased with New Asgard’s growth into a tourist haven and cruise port, and a shot of Thor and Korg looking out at a very large, very dead god, an almost exact recreation of a famous panel from the “God of Thunder” arc from the Thor comics and presumably one of the God Butcher’s victims.
But the hands-down coolest part of the trailer is something that I missed the first time I watched, after turning off the trailer when I saw the title card like a damn fool: a reforged Mjolnir, flying into the hands of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, now known as The Mighty Thor. She looks absolutely badass and I can’t wait to see how she wound up as the God of Thunder—or what the dynamic between she and Thor will look like once the two are reunited.
In short, Thor: Love & Thunder looks to be doubling down on what that made Ragnarok one of the best movies in the MCU: gloriously overblown space opera, mixed with Taika Waititi’s pitch-perfect blend of humor and heart and a full-on 80’s vibe and one of the most vibrant color palettes I’ve seen in any superhero movie as of late.
Thor: Love & Thunder will arrive in theaters on July 8th of this year, and after this first teaser it’s something I’ll absolutely be marking my calendar for—and you should too.