Marvel Studios delivered an intriguing new villain into the MCU's expanding lore with Christian Bale's Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder, which just made its way to Disney+. And as was the case with much of the development for this widely-panned sequel, Gorr went through various iterations before the final take came to the big screen in July 2022.
Over the past few weeks, after the movie premiered on Disney+, the film's cast and crew have taken a deep look into how Love and Thunder came to life, specifically touching on the VFX work that went into Thor 4's various environments and characters.
Part of that work went into developing the project's take on New Asgard, which grew into a full-fledged tourist attraction that featured a broken Mjolnir and multiple Avengers-inspired gift shops and attractions. And recently, one of Thor 4's VFX supervisors looked at the other side of the battle, revealing new details about villainous characters that flew under the radar until now.
Thor 4 VFX Artist on Scary Villains
Thor: Love and Thunder VFX artist and supervisor Jake Morrison spoke with SyFy about some of the shadow monsters from Gorr the God Butcher in the new MCU movie.
Morrison discussed how Gorr's weapon, the Necrosword, creates these unique villains under a very specific set of rules. The sword is also able to pierce the skin of the gods while summoning the shadow creatures.
Morrison expressed how he wants to make sure that every effect has logic, noting how the shadows in New Asgard have "a direct influence on what the shadow creature looks like" and how they behave.
“I’m always suspicious of movies that don’t have any logic, even if it’s popcorn logic. Here’s the thing about the shadow creatures: when you see them form in New Asgard in the little girl’s bedroom or in the streets, whatever the object is that’s casting the shadow has a direct influence on what the shadow creature looks like and behaves."
The VFX artist shared that the team's main goal for the effects was to never "see the same creature twice," which they accomplished outside of a couple of rare instances:
"So for example, if it’s the Snapdragon in Molly’s bedroom — the first girl who gets nabbed — the creature that comes out…if you look at the shadow on the wall, the wall has got little pincer-type things like some plants do. By the time ‘Nippy,’ as that particular creature is known to his or her friends, [takes form] it’s got huge caliper pincers. That’s true of every single shadow creature in the movie. If it was a bike that casts the shadow, you’re more likely to get a creature that’s like a snake-y, sinusoidal creature. The challenge is, ‘Let’s make sure that we don’t ever see the same creature twice.’ We did a couple of times just because everyone really fell in love with one or two of them and asked us to put them in [more than once], but the systems were built so you never needed to repeat the same effect twice.”
There's also a moment when Gorr's daughter, Love, is drawing monsters like this in the desert early in the movie. This was the inspiration for the monsters being based on children's drawings, with them being taken from the kids' imaginations and brought into real life.
Gorr's Monsters Bring Terrifying New MCU Villain Presence
Gorr the God Butcher had a wild journey in his live-action MCU debut, going on a quest for Eternity while taking the children of New Asgard hostage in his search to bring his own child back to life. To help accomplish this mission, he utilized the Necrosword to great effect by bringing shadow creatures out of the ground, which made for some scary new entities for Thor and his team to face.
Even scarier was that these monsters came from the kids' own imaginations, although real-world kids helped to give them more form and substance before they were developed through CGI for the final cut itself.
Morrison's bottom line was that all of these monsters had to make sense from a visual and story perspective, with them all coming from the shadows of items that were already in place across New Asgard. Whether fans see creatures like this in the future is a mystery, although the MCU continues to do its best to make sure that all of its characters and story points flow together the best that they can.
Thor: Love and Thunder is now streaming on Disney+.