There doesn't seem to be a clear end in sight for Hulk, and Hawkeye is always temporarily retired. As for Thor, technically speaking, the character could exist until the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself.
Despite that, and how Thor: Love and Thunder left the door wide open for future storylines, the star behind the Asgardian God seems to think his next appearance, if there is one, will be his last.
Hemsworth Teases Thor's Eventual Death
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Thor: Love and Thunder star Chris Hemsworth addressed if he was going to return as the God of Thunder at some point in the MCU.
When asked if he hopes there'll be a conclusion for his MCU hero, the actor noted that "[they'd] probably have to close the book" on Thor if he made another appearance, which could include "the death" of his hero:
"Yeah, for sure. I feel like we’d probably have to close the book if I ever did it again, you know what I mean? I feel like it probably warrants that. I feel like it’d probably be the finale, but that’s not based on anything anyone’s told me or any sort of plans. You have this birth of a hero, the journey of a hero, then the death of a hero, and I don’t know—am I at that stage? Who knows?"
In response to if there is more Thor in his future, the star admitted that "[he doesn't] know:"
"I don’t know. I think there’d be more to say if the people want to hear me say it."
When the outlet pointed out how the end of Love and Thunder seemed to promise more, the actor countered, saying how "[he] think[s] they always do," but that in the end, "[he's] completely open to [doing] more:"
"Yeah, I think they always do. Look, I’m completely open to it, if there is something unique and fresh and unexpected to do with the character and the world. I’ve always loved the experience. I’ve been very thankful I’ve been able to do something different each time."
In a separate interview with Good Morning America, when asked if he was ready to get back to Thor, Hemsworth claimed that he's "finished [his] run for the time being:"
“Uh, I don’t know. I’m sort of… finished my run for the time being but never say never. I love playing the character. My daughter, the other day, was saying, ‘No, no, Dad, you’ve gotta do it. People love seeing you play Thor.’ And so, who knows?”
At one point in the Marvel Studios Assembled: The Making of Thor: Love and Thunder, the actor admitted how he "was aware" that the fourth movie "[could've been] the last time [he] plays the character:"
“I have loved every single time I’ve played the character. This is ten years for most of us now, and maybe the last time I play the character. I certainly was aware of that while shooting.”
In the same special, Hemsworth lamented that if he does come back to the character, he doesn't "wanna get that big again," pointing out how difficult it was to maintain the size he was for Love and Thunder:
"Each time I’ve played the character and put the muscle on and put the size on, and then lost it for something else and played another character, there’s muscle memory, and I used to say it sort of got easier each time. This was particularly hard. I think because the target weight we aimed for was quite a ways above where I’d been before. We had 12 months when I was at home, just training and sort of, you know, puppeteering the body and manipulating and trying to like, ’Okay, we could try more swimming now or try more martial arts. It was a really fun exploration, but I don’t know that I wanna get that big again. But I was sort of… It was… Yeah, it was just exhausting. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting old, but things just started to hurt more."
What Is the Future of Thor?
It can be very frustrating to hear actors claim that they might be done with a character when they're clearly not.
The biggest example of this would be Tom Holland, who said more than once that Spider-Man: No Way Home could be his last time as the webhead—despite the movie ending with a new beginning for the character and an allusion to more.
Unsurprisingly to many, a new rumor indicates that the actor has signed on to do another three Spidey solo movies. Needless to say, Holland is far from done.
Thor is one of the original Avengers—Marvel Studios would never simply leave one of those characters in the dust. Not without at least giving them a proper sendoff. But, is the next step really for Thor to die?
Even having Thor simply retire might not fit the character. Hemsworth himself once said in an interview before filming Love and Thunder that "[Thor's] only 1500 years old!... Thor is way too young for [retirement]."
But if retirement doesn't feel true to the hero, is death the only fitting conclusion for Hemsworth's time in the MCU? After all, what other conclusions are there for something as continuous as the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Thor: Love and Thunder is now streaming on Disney+.