Marvel Studios has long been renowned for the level of secrecy and security it maintains with every new release. Even within the studio, President Kevin Feige keeps his cards close to his chest from even the creatives working under him, with the team behind Ms. Marvel kept out of the loop on The Marvels, and Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi being shocked by the "Thor will Return" teaser placed at the end of his movie.
The promise of Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder returning may have been a surprise to the fans, director, and actor alike, but it wasn't the only shocker that rounded out Love and Thunder. The mid-credits stinger revealed Russell Crowe's Zeus had survived his encounter with Thor as he sent his son, Brett Goldstein's Hercules, after the Asgardian Avenger.
In an age where the latest Marvel releases have been subject to an abundance of leaks, the studio did an impressive job of keeping Goldstein's MCU debut quiet. Now, it's been revealed that news was kept on a need-to-know basis even within the studio.
Thor 4 Writer Was Surprised by Hercules Reveal
Thor: Love and Thunder writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson recently spoke to Variety to discuss the mid-credits scene that revealed Ted Lasso's Brett Goldstein as the MCU's Hercules.
After being asked if she was involved with the stinger, the writer revealed that Marvel refused to tell her about the sequence and its casting, yet she was delighted to be "truly surprised" by the scene when she "saw [it] at the premiere with everyone else"
"I saw that at the premiere with everybody else. In the same way that I guess [Taika Waititi] didn’t know Thor was coming back, I did not know that Roy Kent was Hercules. I’m a huge Marvel fan, so I was delighted to have one moment in the movie where I was truly surprised."
Director Taika Waititi previously revealed he and Thor actor Chris Hemsworth were similarly surprised to see the "Thor will return" teaser in the final seconds of the blockbuster.
Robinson confirmed she was aware "there was talk about Hercules" so even though she quickly revealed he was involved the scene started, she was surprised by Goldstein's casting:
"I knew there was talk about Hercules. The name Hercules was not 'not' said in conversations that I definitely, probably wasn’t supposed to overhear, but did. So the minute I saw the beginning of the scene, I knew he was gonna be talking to Hercules. I didn’t know who they cast. But I was like, is this gonna be Hercules? I just knew that it was a thing that they were like, “We’re gonna want leeway with this, so stay away from it."
The Love and Thunder writer went on to admit she doesn't yet know whether she'll be working with Marvel Studios again, but she remains open to "wherever life takes [her]:"
"I don’t know. At this point, I’m very open to wherever life takes me. Something that I’ve learned in this business is that you can try to plan and plans will be thrown back in your face, and you’ll be laughed at. So I have stopped planning. If I get a call, and they want me to come in and pitch on something, and it’s something that I feel like I would be right for, yeah, I would work with Marvel again. The one thing I’ll say is Kevin really understands putting together writers and directors and executives and projects — creating that creative soup. So if Kevin feels that I am right for something, I really trust him, because I think I would be set up for success."
When Will Hercules Return to the MCU?
The arrival of Hercules was among the biggest surprises Thor: Love and Thunder had to offer, and the casting of Brett Goldstein was just the icing on the cake. After Ted Lasso became a smash hit on Apple TV+, Goldstein has quickly become a recognizable face for his role as Roy Kent, meaning plenty were thrilled to see him enter the MCU.
Just as interestingly, the promise of Thor and Hercules facing off confirmed Chris Hemsworth does have a future in the MCU, possibly even a fifth solo outing. There's no telling how long fans will be kept waiting to see Hercules again, but Thor will almost certainly be there alongside him when he does resurface.
Perhaps Hercules will next be back in Thor 5, but he could also show up in the mythical Avengers 5. The Greek son of Zeus has proven to be a long-term Avenger in the comics, so there's every chance his face-off with Thor will go down in the next ensemble blockbuster before he inevitably joins the team.
Only time will tell whether Hercules' second MCU appearance ends up being another surprise or if it's confirmed in advance. Either way, Goldstein almost certainly has a Hercules solo project in his future at Marvel Studios, which will hopefully be long and prosperous.
Thor: Love and Thunder is playing now in theaters worldwide.