Chris Hemsworth's Thor has gone up against his fair share of terrifying villains in the MCU throughout the past 11 years. The God of Thunder's first three films largely centered on family drama with Tom Hiddleston's Loki and Cate Blanchett's Hela. Now, Thor: Love and Thunder looks to pit him against arguably his biggest challenge yet in Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher.
In 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, Hemsworth's hero had to deal with his vengeful half-sister Hela after she was imprisoned in hell for thousands of years, leading her to destroy Asgard before her apparent death. While there are no known family ties to Bale's Gorr the God Butcher, there are already signs that he'll be a villain that pushes Thor to his physical and emotional limits throughout Love and Thunder.
Director Taika Waititi has already offered plenty of praise for Bale's performance, even calling him the best villain in any Marvel movie to date ahead of Thor 4's release. As the movie now gets closer to its worldwide debut, Waititi and others from the cast and crew once again shared why Bale will be something special in his long-awaited MCU debut.
Thor Director & Cast on Christian Bale's Gorr
In a recent interview with Disney, Thor: Love and Thunder's director Taika Waititi and multiple cast and crew members discussed Christian Bale's upcoming performance as Gorr the God Butcher.
In the Thor sequel, Gorr wages war on all the gods, taking them out one by one with his immensely powerful weapon, All-Black the Necrosword. After a peaceful upbringing, the loss of his family fuels Gorr's mission as he seeks revenge on the gods for seemingly ignoring his and his people's needs.
Waititi specifically compared Gorr as a "step up from" Cate Blanchett's Hela from Thor: Ragnarok, marking her as the standard in terms of how formidable they needed to make Thor 4's main antagonist:
“We needed to step up from Hela and find a villain who was somehow even more formidable, and we found that in Gorr, who is played by the remarkable Christian Bale."
Marvel Studios head of streaming, television, and animation Brad Winderbaum expanded on Gorr's plot for revenge, noting how the villain "played by the rules" before being overtaken by immense anger towards those who were supposed to protect the universe:
“Gorr played by the rules, and so when he realizes he’s been betrayed by the gods, he’s overtaken by a rage that hits such a fever pitch that he gains an evil, ancient power and sets out to rid the universe of these gods, who don’t take care of their humans."
Thor actor Chris Hemsworth praised Bale's ability to "pull the focus right into each moment" that he's on-screen, noting how Gorr's point of view isn't completely wrong. Love and Thunder's starring actor described the "empathy" seen in the script and the story, reminiscing on how Bale brought so much life to that story through his performance:
“There’s so much drama and insanity around Gorr, but Christian Bale managed to pull the focus right into each moment.You can’t take your eyes off him. The character is fascinating, because like all good villains, Gorr has a point. He may not be going about it the right way, but there’s empathy in the script and Christian brought so many more layers and so much more depth to Gorr."
Jane Foster actress Natalie Portman even admitted that everyone in the film was "actually a little scared in Gorr's presence." Additionally, Valkyrie star Tessa Thompson compared Bale's character to MCU villains of the past, as he showed the pain and trauma that drove his story forward:
“Christian as Gorr was mesmerizing. He does that thing that Marvel villains do so well, which is that you see their villainy comes from pain, from some unprocessed trauma.”
Winderbaum teased how wild Love and Thunder will be thanks to Gorr's mission, which drives the sequel's heroes together to try to stop the villain "before he strikes again" throughout the plot:
“Gorr is on a scorched-earth policy, and so what we have in Thor: Love and Thunder’are our heroes trying to stop a killer before he strikes again, traveling the cosmos, deducing where he’s going to strike next and racing to protect his next victim."
Gorr Steps Up to New Levels of Excitement
"All Gods Will Die."
When a Marvel villain definitively states that he's out to eliminate arguably the universe's most powerful beings, there's no reason not to take that threat seriously based on that sentiment alone. Throw in an actor with as much acclaim as Christian Bale, and it sets up an MCU antagonist that could potentially be more dangerous than any that preceded him, even including Josh Brolin's Thanos and Tom Hiddleston's Loki.
Hela certainly made her mark as a terrifying villain as she took over Asgard and put her two brothers into a difficult situation on Sakaar for most of the film. Even so, Bale looks to take his big bad to a new level of terror with his mission to take out the MCU's gods, and there is no reason to think he won't have a shot at doing just that in the new sequel.
Thus far, the marketing campaign for Love and Thunder has largely kept Bale's villain under wraps except for some footage from the second full trailer in May. Fans instantly shared plenty of positive reactions to that footage, and with early test screenings also hyping the MCU's latest antagonist, all signs point to Thor 4 bringing one of the franchise's most iconic performances to date.
Thor: Love and Thunder will debut in theaters on July 8.