The Possible Philosophy of THOR: Love and Thunder

The Possible Philosophy of THOR: Love and Thunder

The Possible Philosophy of THOR: Love and Thunder

During Comic-Con, Marvel made an electrifying announcement: Thor is going to continue past a trilogy with the new film Thor: Love and Thunder.

Even more electrifying is the news that Natalie Portman's character Jane Foster will be the film's main star, taking on the mantle of Thor, just as she did in writer Jason Aaron's recent run in the comics.

Many readers consider Aaron's Thor to be the definitive take on the God of Thunder, and his work will likely serve as the inspiration for the film because he's the only writer that's penned the character during Foster's tenure as Thor.

That and director Taika Waititi made mention of Aaron's run while filming Ragnarök.

The thing that's setting off our "Peter tingle" is the fact that Aaron has one of the most clearly established theological bents of any comic creator.

He's a misotheist, which means he believes that we should hate God.

He espouses this in a wide range of works, including his comic The Goddamned, his current run on The Avengers, and, importantly, his run on Thor.

Unless the only thing they plan on pulling from Aaron is the fact that Foster becomes Thor, it will be almost impossible for Aaron's theology not to bleed through.

We're not saying that Waititi is going to drop all the levity of Ragnarök to have his heroes deliver diatribes denouncing God, but we'll wager that Aaron's views will find their way in somehow.

So with that in mind, let's take a look at Aaron's works and see if understanding his philosophy can help us predict the plot of Thor: Love and Thunder.

And while we realize that we're right in only one out of fourteen million six hundred and five futures, on the chance that this is the timeline we're living in, spoilers ahead.

Misotheism is less a theological proposition than a philosophical perspective.

It says nothing about what God Himself is like.

He might be the Jewish Elohim or the Christian Trinity or Paul Blart Mall Cop.

Regardless of which God is real, monotheism is the belief that we should feel only contempt towards God.

Of course, most misotheists aren't also Bible-believing fundamentalists are proudly marching their way to Hell just to prove a point.

They're atheists and agnostics who conjure an evil deity to explain their hostility towards a god whom they don't believe exists.

His fascination with religion is a profoundly critical one, which he expresses in fiction that supposes the existence of malevolent gods and setting his heroes against them.

Aaron's most misotheistic work is The Goddamned.

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Set before the biblical Flood, Aaron's take is a subversion of the account from Genesis.

In the original, the hero is Noah, the only righteous man among a generation of human garbage, like Keanu Reeves in our day.

In Aaron's telling, Noah is a self-righteous prick.

Instead, Aaron's hero is Cain, "the man who invented murder."

What differentiates Cain from Noah is at least he realizes that he's just as screwed up like everyone else, and it's this self-loathing and misanthropy that informs his misotheism.

Aaron's run on The Avengers also subverts a creation myth, this time the genesis of life on Earth-616.

Previously, the abundance of superpowered beings was believed to be the result of ancient experiments done by the Celestials.

In Aaron's version, Loki reveals the real history: Life on Earth from the very beginning was a cosmic fluke.

The "gods" had no plans or purpose for humanity.

"The Celestial came not because of some grand design or godly destiny.

It never even consciously chose this world.

It came merely because it fell…

Why is the Earth so uniquely eccentric within the near-infinite number of planets strewn across the heavens?

Not because of any grand purpose, I can assure you.

As with The Goddamned, this is a deliberate inversion of the Genesis story, with the Fall preceding the Creation, and not the Fall of man but God.

And again, a fallen god results in mankind being made fallen in his image.

So having seen how monotheism is everywhere in his work, let's dive into his run on Thor to get an idea of how Love and Thunder might play out.

Aaron's first issue introduces the ultimate misotheist, Gorr, the God Butcher.

Gorr once had faith in the gods of his species, but after watching his family all die of sickness and starvation despite their prayers, he became an atheist.

At least until two gods crashed upon his planet and asked for Gorr's aid.

Having had his prayers go unheeded, Gorr became enraged that they dare ask him for help.

And so, he became a serial killer who slaughters entire pantheons simply so that whole worlds will have no gods to pray to.

Just as he subverted the Genesis account in The Goddamned and Avengers, here, Aaron subverts the Gospel narrative, playing with the same motifs.

Jesus was crucified to save mankind, dying and rising three days later.

Similarly, Gorr crucifies every God in all of existence, and Thor becomes the savior of all godkind, dying and rising three days later.

Establishing Thor as the greatest and most worthy of gods - including the Christian conception of the crucified God - is essential to Aaron's argument.

During their battle, Gorr says to Thor: "You know I am right.
That is why you fight so hard.

Because you see just how petty and useless your kind genuinely are."

This is Gorr's thesis, that no god is worthy.

When we think of the word 'worthy' in conjunction with Thor, we associate it with being able to lift his trusty hammer, Mjolnir.

And this does have to do somewhat with Thor himself becoming unable to lift his hammer.

It was Nick Fury's whisper – "Gorr was right" – that caused Thor to suddenly drop it.

But we think Gorr meant that no god, not even the greatest, is worthy of the devotion of mortals.

Importantly, Thor never again becomes worthy.

At the end of Aaron's run, after reforging Mjolnir, saving all Ten realms and becoming the All-Father, Thor remains unworthy, even taking the title "God of the Unworthy."
It's precisely because every God is unworthy that a mortal should only wield Mjolnir: enter Jane Foster.

Jane is also written by Aaron as a misotheist.

She's met the gods face-to-face and found most of them to be jerks.

A constant adversary throughout her tenure as Thor is Odin himself.

This is important because Odin, the Asgardian All-Father, is pretty clearly analogous to the Judeo-christian God the Father.

But out of all the shitty gods Jane clashes with, its K'ythri and Sharra, the gods of the Shi'ar, who reveal the extent of Aaron's monotheism.

They're the antagonists in the "Challenge of the gods," which, in typical Aaron style, subverts another story out of the Bible, this time the tale of Job.

In a nutshell, Job's story tells us that though we cannot know God's purpose and might find his actions capricious amid our suffering, we must have faith that his mysterious ways do work.

Aaron's argument is the opposite.

He presents the gods of the Shi'ar as genuinely indifferent to their supplicants, causing them to suffer simply to win a bet.

Then there's the whole Challenge of the Gods thing.

This is an eon's old contest that pits one pantheon against another to see who can accumulate more worshippers.

The various categories they compete in reading like a long list of indictments against the God of the Bible.

The first Challenge calls upon the gods to produce natural disasters, not unlike the Flood.

The second calls upon the gods to produce plagues, a la the Ten Plagues with which God ravaged Egypt.

In the Inspirational Infanticide round, K'ythri and Sharra force one of their worshippers to tie his son to an altar and sacrifice him, directly, evoking Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac.

The list goes on.

Eventually, Jane simply refuses to compete any further.

By ending the Challenge prematurely, Jane inadvertently releases the final foe she faces as Thor: Mangog.

Having played with the stories of Genesis, Job, and the Gospel, the arc with Mangog is Aaron's take on Revelation.

Just as Revelation foretells the Judgement of mankind by Christ, Mangog is feared as the Judgement of all Godkind.
Mangog is quite literally monotheism made manifest.

He embodies all the rage of every mortal ever wronged by the gods.

Clearly, monotheism is all over Aaron's run on Thor.

While we predict that this theme will inevitably be felt in Love and Thunder, we suspect that the film will depart from the comics for three reasons.

Firstly, movie-Thor has already had enough crises of confidence, most clearly seen during his recent bout as "Bro Thor."

Even then, he was still worthy of wielding Mjolnir.

It'd feel redundant to have him down in the dumps again so soon, especially without a catalyst like Gorr.

However, we suspect the fan-favorite butcher won't be making an appearance just yet, because the focus of the film is supposed to be Jane, and there isn't really space for a Gorr vs. Thor showdown before she even enters the picture.

Secondly, Mjolnir was destroyed by Hela in Ragnarök, and the one wielded in Endgame was returned by Captain America to the 2014 timeline.

And Stormbreaker isn't imbibed with the requirement of worthiness, so there's no chance of Thor becoming unable to lift his hammer or it imbuing Jane with his powers.

And in either case, it was clearly Mjolnir that Portman was holding at Comic-Con.

Thirdly, Odin's already dead, so there can't really be a conflict between him and Jane.

Also, Odin is portrayed as wiser and more benevolent by the time he dies, anyway.

Given all this, we suspect that the seeds for Love and Thunder will first be sown in the upcoming film, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

Earth-616 will be interacting with other Earths throughout the multiverse in this film, one of which is likely the source of the new Mjolnir.

A similar scenario plays out in Aaron's mini-series The Unworthy Thor, in which Thor comes across a Mjolnir once wielded by the Ultimate Thor from Earth-1610.

So here's our first prediction: In the end credits of Doctor Strange 2, we're going to see a Mjolnir from somewhere in the multiverse come crashing down on Earth.

Our second prediction: We suspect Odin will be substituted with his brother, Cul Borson, the God of fear, who will become Jane's nemesis.

He acts as Odin's regent in Aaron's run, so it wouldn't be a stretch to combine their roles in the film.

Cul would serve as a more fitting proxy of a malevolent Father god than Valkyrie, so we suspect that he'll take the throne of Asgard as the new All-Father.

But Cul doesn't strike us as the main villain.

Which brings us to prediction three.

The big baddies will be the Shi'ar gods K'ythri and Sharra, to be set up in Thor's next appearance, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. 

The Shi'ar, along with the Kree and the Skrull, is one of the principal cosmic civilizations, so they'd fit in perfectly with the world James Gunn has crafted.

And the space setting in which Jane fought K'ythri and Sharra would allow Waititi to draw upon the same sci-fi elements, which made Ragnarök so successful.

Moreover, the Shi'ar are traditionally associated with the X-Men.

While Marvel's mutants won't have any films in Phase Four, we know they're major players in Phase Five.

Love and Thunder is the final film of Phase Four; this would be the perfect occasion to roll out their introduction.

Most importantly, K'ythri and Sharra's collective role exemplifies Aaron's philosophy, forcing us to ask the question, "what is a god?"

K'ythri and Sharra, with their demand of worship and imparting of divine wrath, would juxtapose well against Jane, who, despite possessing the powers of a goddess, remains at heart a mortal.

For our final prediction, we suspect Love and Thunder will establish Mangog just as the "Challenge of the gods" did.

That would logically make him the big bad guy in film two of the Jane Foster trilogy, with part three drawing from the recent event, War of the Realms.

While Dark Elf Malekith is the villain in the comics, he was disposed of the way back in The Dark World.

Therefore, we see this final film as the perfect occasion for Gorr to take center stage.

But now we're really getting ahead of ourselves.
Still, Feige, hit us up if you want more ideas.

At the end of the day, Aaron's signature misotheism takes center stage in his run on Thor, and we suspect that a similar sentiment will permeate the film.

Of course, we've been wrong about Marvel before, which makes for an equal-parts delightful and miserable film-watching experience.

But what do you think?

Are you down to watch a superhero flick equivalent of Garrison cursing out kids for believing in a flying spaghetti monster?

"Do you believe in a flying spaghetti monster too, bubblehead?

Or are you hoping Waititi steers clear of theology and just has Jane bro out with Korg and Meik while playing Fortnight and using Stormbreaker to crack open some cold ones?

This honestly sounds fantastic, and we're a bit on the fence now ourselves.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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