Is Jane Foster truly dead? That's what many are asking after seeing the post-credit scene in Taika Waitit's Thor: Love and Thunder. After Natalie Portman's astrophysicist-turned- Asgardian perished in battle against the terrifying Gorr the God Butcher, she was seen being greeted by Idris Elba's Heimdall at the pearly white gates of Valhalla.
The post-credit stinger left many leaving the theater in awe, while also considering whether this film was the last time the Mighty Thor would be heard from in the realm of the living. Addressing that very question, Elba said that with the "ever-expanding" world of Marvel "you just never know."
But was this version of Valhalla always what the filmmakers behind Love and Thunder had envisioned for the movie? Well, apparently not.
A Different Look at Love and Thunder's Valhalla
Newly revealed concept art from Thor: Love and Thunder pulled the curtain back on a different vision of Valhalla that never made it into the film.
Shared by Marvel Studios artist Sung Choi, this concept showed off a much more elaborate-looking Valhalla than what was ultimately shown in Love and Thunder's post-credit stinger.
This version of the Asgardian afterlife looked more akin to the elven cities of Lord of the Rings or the original Asgard seen in the first three Thor films than what fans ultimately got.
Other concept pieces revealed included looks at the Well of Eternity seen in the climax of the film, showing off an actual Well surrounded by some sort of mountainous environment.
The Well shown off in these revealed concepts is a small pool of blue water rather than the endless stretch of water that ultimately made it into the film.
The last of these images sports the Guardians of the Galaxy ship, the Benatar, seemingly hovering over the Well of Eternity, a setting that never featured the intergalactic team in the Thor sequel.
Love and Thunder gets a New Coat of Paint
Now, these images will leave some fans wondering what the heck happened to these different looks at the Love and Thunder locations. Well, they are concepts and as such, stuff like this happens all the time.
Sometimes concept art can be done just to show off a specific tone, with the filmmakers not having the intention of actually putting that specific moment in the final cut. And that is likely the case for a few of these, especially the one featuring the Benatar.
But the Valhalla rendering feels different. It is close enough to the version of the locale that made it into the film, but just on a bigger scale. Perhaps it was the plan to have the realm of the afterlife look like it does in the above concept, but logistically ended up not making sense in the production pipeline.
One has to remember that creating something like a location such as Valhalla (or any number of other MCU backdrops) requires countless hours of VFX work. And with the continued strain upon the VFX pipeline, as well as the ongoing COVID pandemic, it may have come down to Marvel making a call to lessen the scope due to these underlying circumstances.
Thor: Love and Thunder is now streaming on Disney+.