Thor, set to make his return to the silver screen in the aptly titled Thor: Love and Thunder, has been a key part of the MCU for a long time. As such, the character has a long and full history, one dotted with tragedy, humor, and just about everything in between. Even as Thor faces possibly his toughest foe yet in the upcoming sequel, his troubled past, including his experience with characters like Loki and Thanos, will likely play a key role in the film.
Even though Loki hasn't been announced as appearing in Thor 4, the character could very well affect the film. Loki's death at the hands of the Mad Titan, Thanos, left a significant impact on Thor, motivating his need for revenge in Infinity War. However, Loki has oddly been ignored in recent reflections on Thor's past, making any kind of presence in the upcoming film less certain.
Thanos may also leave an impression on Love and Thunder. Thor's failure to kill Thanos at the end of Avengers: Infinity War was a significant moment for the character, leaving him broken, bereaved, and, lest fans forget, with a big ol' beer belly. Even as this film sees Thor lose that physical weight, the emotional kind will likely prove harder for him to shake. A blurb on a bit of Love and Thunder merchandise even seems to suggest that Thor's experience with Thanos led directly to his decision to embrace a peaceful existence.
As fans look towards the future of the Thor franchise, one that may even extend beyond Love and Thunder, it seems that the film itself is not yet done with Thor's past...
New Love and Thunder Trailer Reflects on Thor's Past
A newly released trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder looked back at Thor's ten-year-long arc in the MCU, splicing in old footage alongside new glances at the upcoming film. Among these clips from older MCU projects are key struggles from the God of Thunder's life, including moments of death and failure.
The trailer begins with Thor closing his eyes, reflecting on the tragedies we've seen befall him throughout his time in the MCU.
The first of these shows Thor's failed attempt to kill Thanos in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, a costly mistake that led to the epic events of Endgame.
Atop a set of cliffs in Norway, Thor and Loki watch as their father, Odin fades away, a deeply emotional moment from Thor: Ragnarok that precipitates the re-emergence of Hela.
After a defeat at the hands of Thanos, Thor grieves the death of his brother, Loki, before being blown into space with the might of the Power Stone, a scene pulled from Avengers: Infinity War.
In a clip from 2013's Thor: The Dark World, the God of Thunder reflects on his mother Frigga's passing.
Frigga's funeral is also shown, with her sailing off in the distance in Asgard's waters.
After Thor opens his eyes, the trailer moves back to the present, offering a look at new scenes from Thor: Love and Thunder, including footage featuring Valkyrie and Jane Foster's Mighty Thor.
Battling what appears to be an army of the Greek Gods, Valkyrie, sword in hand, splays out her arms among the golden energy flying forth from her combatants.
Thor and Thor stand together in the shadow realm, likely facing down the looming threat of Gorr, the God Butcher. Though their hands are out of frame, both are presumably gripping their lightning-powered implements.
The full minute-long trailer can be seen below.
Thanos and Loki's Part in Thor's Journey
Although some may take these character appearances in Thor: Love and Thunder's marketing campaign as hints towards their inclusion in the final film, this is likely not the case. Other recent films have used footage from other MCU projects in their promotional material, including Eternals, Shang-Chi, and Doctor Strange 2, with the characters referenced playing no role in the actual movies. In all likelihood, these moments were included to help connect the upcoming film to the wider MCU and quickly recap some key moments for the character.
However, this doesn't mean that Thanos and Loki's influence on Thor's life will go unexplored in Love and Thunder. The Doctor Strange trailer referenced above is particularly instructive here, with that bit of marketing foreshadowing the good Doctor's reckoning with the decisions made during the course of Avengers: Infinity War. It is quite possible that the moments glimpsed in this most recent Thor trailer will play a part in the film, leading Thor towards the path of peace and eventually forcing him to return to the fight.
Gorr's narration over the early part of this trailer supports this, with the God Butcher ominously pronouncing to Thor that "I know your pain, your suffering." The comic book incarnation of Gorr was set on his reign of terror by the loss of his family, something hinted at by the cast of Love and Thunder, so this shared loss could possibly serve as a point of contrast between the two, with each dealing with their pain in different ways.
However much Thor: Love and Thunder ultimately deals with the effects of Thanos on Thor's life, it seems clear that the events of Infinity War and Endgame have certainly left their mark on the character. At the very least, the film will deal with the place those movies left the character, with Thor leaving New Asgard behind and setting out alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy. To see where the film goes from there, fans will just have to wait and see.