Thor: Love and Thunder is poised to be one of the MCU's epic-scale adventures in the franchise's ambitious Phase 4, mainly due to the film's massive ensemble of characters. Directed by Taika Waititi, the fourth installment to the Thor franchise will reunite Chris Hemsworth's Thor Odinson and Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, but the pair will not be alone.
Alongside the (former) MCU couple, Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie will be featured to showcase how Asgard thrived under her leadership as Queen. Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the Guardians of the Galaxy will play a role in the film's narrative, but the exact nature of their involvement is still unknown.
Production is now underway for Love and Thunder, and the first batch of set photos may have already teased how the team will be included in the next adventure led by Hemsworth's Thor. However, given that set photos are not always the best indicator of what's really going on in the story, the Guardians' actual roles are still up in the air.
Now, evidence suggests that the intergalactic team will only play a small part after all.
STAR-LORD'S LIMITED ROLE IN THOR 4
Just Jared pointed out in a report that Star-Lord actor Chris Pratt has already flown back home to Los Angeles after filming scenes for Thor: Love and Thunder in Sydney, Australia after filming for roughly three weeks.
This was backed up by a recent post from Schwarzenegger on Instagram, showing off the pair's sweet Valentine's Day celebration.
THOR'S EVENTUAL “BREAK-UP” WITH THE GUARDIANS
It's possible that Pratt is only taking a break from filming Thor: Love and Thunder. However, this new development heavily suggests that Pratt is completely finished filming his scenes; a flight back to Australia for production would require another two-week-long quarantine, one that a busy star like Pratt would want to avoid unless absolutely necessary. This is on top of the recent confirmations that other Guardians cast members like Dave Bautista and Karen Gillian said their goodbyes to Chris Hemsworth and company before leaving Sydney, Australia.
In canon, it makes narrative sense for the Guardians to have a limited role in Love and Thunder, especially after the events of Avengers: Endgame. In the 2019 MCU blockbuster, Thor was last seen jumping aboard the Benatar with the rest of the team, and it's fitting to show how this plot point played out without dragging it into the central story of Thor 4.
After several adventures with the Guardians, it's possible that Thor will likely want to return to Earth to check up on Asgard. On the flip side, there's also a chance that Thor and the Guardians will encounter a dangerous threat in the outskirts of the galaxy (potentially Gorr the God Butcher), forcing the former King of Asgard to return to Earth to warn Valkyrie and the rest of his allies. This would kick off the events of Love and Thunder in an exciting fashion.
All in all, it seems that Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians' limited role in Love and Thunder is needed to propel Thor's arc in his upcoming adventure while also previewing the next mission of the space super-team in their own threequel.