After a long wait, the teaser trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder gave fans their first look at Thor post-Endgame. A sight for sore eyes, as the journey of the Avenger through Ragnarok, Infinity War, and Endgame was a battle of attrition. The God of Thunder dealt with the loss of his family, the failure to stop Thanos, and the eventual avenging of half the universe. No one took the tragic cliffhanger of Avengers: Infinity War quite as hard as Thor and the aftershock of that loss may still remain.
Thanos established himself as arguably the biggest threat in MCU history as he accomplished what few villains have in the past - winning. Thanos's victory over the Avengers in their first meeting is something that left audiences stunned and the heroes humbled by their defeat. And while it does re-establish the literal meeting of The Avengers team name, it is a loss that drove the self-proclaimed "strongest Avenger" into a state of depression.
This rock-bottom feeling made the eventual avenging of the population snapped by Thanos that much sweeter for everyone, including Thor. A recent look at new merchandise for Thor: Love and Thunder may show that the impact of that initial loss of that battle may still affect Chris Hemsworth's character despite the eventual victory of the Infinity War.
He's Never Beaten Me Three Times
Along with this look comes a character description for Thor that states:
"Long after the Avengers defeat Thanos, the Guardians of the Galaxy must convince Thor to return to the battlefield!"
This adds potential context to a few different shots from the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer. The training montage of Thor seemingly getting back into shape might be sparked by the Guardians' request. The serenity shot of Thor apparently finding peace after deciding to search for who he is at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Finally, a scene shown with Thor seemingly walking away from the fight he and the Guardians are engaged in might take on a whole new meaning.
Moving Forward or Looking Back?
The implication from this packaging that Thor needs convincing to get into a fight narrows Thor's current mindset down to two options. He is either still not confident in himself to get the job done in battle, or he feels he has beaten his final boss and has no more to give to the game.
Thor's tragic story arch is one of the most defeating of the entire MCU roster. After debuting as the soon-to-be king of Asgard with confidence in himself rivaled only by Tony Stark, Thor has been humbled at every turn. The loss of his mother, father, brother, his people, and then half the universe put Thor in a tight spot. Not to mention that his confidence may have led to the result of the first snap from the Mad Titan.
If Thor is still hung up on the loss to Thanos because he did not deliver the final blow, this is likely the main pitch from the Guardians. A real "we couldn't have done it without you" approach.
This also could be more of a favorable situation where Thor is, in fact, relieved by the events of Endgame and, finally, defeats Thanos. He tells Valkaryie that he needs to find out who he is, not who he is supposed to be. That might lead to serenity from the God of Thunder, reflecting on what he has done, what he has lost, and who he has Avenged. That could lead to a state of consciousness that Thor has done what he has to do, and has earned a retirement.
This could lead to the Guardians needing to prove to Thor that a fight is worth fighting. Gorr, the God Butcher, is coming and that means that Thor is about to get hit personally once again. It almost feels that if Thor feels he has fought his last fight, then something more dangerous than Thanos needs to present itself. Gorr has a case to be made.
Regardless of the "why" behind Thor stopping fighting, this raises the potential screentime for the Guardians as they will clearly play a role in getting Thor through the first act and back into action. This is also a concept that sticks very close to the 80's action movie motif of this movie. Themes such as "one last job," "one final score," or "we need you back" all are embedded in the retro-popcorn genre of yesteryear. Just like Taiki Waitti likes it.
Not to mention the training montage that will surely be accompanied by a synthesizer/electric guitar combo. And what better MCU element to have for such an '80s vibe than the Guardians of the Freaking Galaxy.
Thor: Love and Thunder releases in theaters on July 8.