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Harry Potter's Voldemort Restricted Marvel's Christian Bale Villain Design

Christian Bale Voldemort Gorr Marvel
By Sam Hargrave

Comic accuracy has always been a tough and controversial topic among fans of Hollywood adaptations. Many believe blockbuster films and series should attempt to replicate the source material as closely as possible, but that can't always be the case for a number of reasons. The MCU's Phase 4 has pushed harder than ever toward giving its heroes comic-accurate costumes, but Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder has proven to be an exception to that trend.

Gorr appears in Marvel Comics as a terrifying noseless gray alien donning a black cloak with tentacles and a Symbiote-connected weapon. Marvel Studios made drastic changes to this for Bale's interpretation, as the Oscar-winning actor still has his nose intact and looks to be missing the iconic tentacles, something which quickly proved controversial.

With Gorr's MCU debut in Thor: Love and Thunder just days away, director Taika Waititi has explained how the god-killer's resemblance to another iconic villain impacted the design.

Why Thor 4's Gorr Looks Different to the Comics

Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi explained during an interview with IGN how Gorr the God Butcher's resemblance to Harry Potter's Voldemort led to the changes to his design for Christian Bale's MCU villain.

Gorr the God Butcher Voldemort
Marvel Comics, Warner Bros.

Waititi revealed they decided to change the design but "keep elements of the tone" because they were aware fans would find themselves comparing Gorr to Ralph Fiennes' Harry Potter antagonist:

"His face in the comics, unfortunately, does kind of resemble Voldemort. So I was like 'people are just automatically going to make that connection.' So we decided to depart from that design and sort of keep elements of the tone, and the fact that he had the sword. Really, it was his story that was the most important thing for us."

Oscar-winner Christian Bale was coated in gray makeup for Thor: Love and Thunder as the MCU abandoned his tentacles and noseless appearance. 

Christian Bale Gorr the God Butcher
Marvel Studios

During the Thor: Love and Thunder press conference, Bale shared his own thoughts on his Marvel villain design. The Oscar-winner explained how he feels the design "worked out all right" after it was planned out during quarantine in "an abstract way:"

"[I] loved it because you don’t really know exactly what you’re doing with a character like that until you see it completely. It’s in your imagination. And we didn’t have that long, we talked about it during quarantine... in an abstract way. But then you put it on, and it worked out all right. This was a pious man with tattoos, and he’s cut those off, and so [he] would have all those scars. And that’s when you really get to start playing with it and experiment as you film. You know, you discover it as you go."

Was Thor 4's Gorr Design the Right Change?

Fans frequently find themselves up in arms when Marvel or DC changes its heroes and villains in significant ways, but there's usually a reason behind it. In the case of Gorr the God Butcher, Waititi was clearly eager to avoid comparisons to Voldemort - after all, he is among the most iconic antagonists of all time.

Bale's Gorr appears to have maintained the same ominous essence as his comic counterpart with only a few changes, albeit significant ones. Ultimately, the updated design has allowed Bale's face to shine through the layers of make-up, giving him the ability to convey emotion more while taking further advantage of the powerhouse actor's fame. 

Who knows whether Gorr will survive his inevitable defeat in Love and Thunder to one day receive his iconic comic design? For now, Waititi is undoubtedly wise in saying the story must come first. From everything that has been shown so far, the MCU sequel looks to be taking great inspiration from Jason Aaron's run on the Thor comics.

Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters on July 8.


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