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Thanks to nearly a handful of projects in Phase 4, the MCU’s Multiverse has become a key player in moving the franchise’s story forward. Although this largely came through with the other-dimensional heroes and villains that came into prominence through Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, that may not be the case with the MCU’s next release in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Chris Hemsworth’s fourth solo outing looks to take the God of Thunder on possibly his most dangerous solo adventure yet as he battles with Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher. He’ll also reunite with his ex-girlfriend in Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, although her inclusion in the film has raised some questions about whether this is the same Jane that fans know and love.
In the lead-up to Thor 4’s debut, some fans have theorized that this movie will be the latest to explore the Multiverse with the Mighty Thor version of Jane being a Variant of some kind.
Well, as the sequel inches closer to its worldwide debut, director Taika Waititi has set his foot down on the answer to that confusing question.
In the latest issue of Total Film, Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi set the record straight on whether the sequel will utilize the Multiverse in its plot.
While Waititi certainly “[likes] the idea of the Multiverse,” he confirmed that there is “nothing like that in this film,” even going so far as to say it’s “the singular-verse.” This comes after a synopsis for Love and Thunder from April 2022 seemed to nix the idea that the Multiverse would be used in this new movie.
Waititi also noted how this movie “stands apart from…other Marvel films” due to its use of love in the plot – something that not many fans usually see superhero movies for. However, he went on to tease that fans weren’t sure about what to expect with his last movie in Thor: Ragnarok until it fully arrived:
”I feel like this one feels more original and unique, and stands apart from a lot of other Marvel films because of that element of love, and leaning into that idea of what love means for all these characters. You never go to those superhero movies to see a movie about love. It’s a preposterous answer. No fan wants to see that. But as I said with the last film, they don’t know what they want until they get it.
Starring actor Chris Hemsworth went on to describe Love and Thunder as “a romantic comedy with action,” although the idea of love was what kept the story grounded with all of the crazy stuff happening throughout:
“It’s sort of a romantic comedy with action. But we had to keep coming back to the love story. That was what was going to anchor these characters, and anchor this story, and ground it. And you can, on top of that, layer it with all sorts of insanity and fun and action and humor and all that. But the core of it, it was about universal love. It was a hell of a ride.”
Valkyrie actress Tessa Thompson teased a new “kind of maturity” that is shown in this film, even joking that Waititi may not enjoy what she said:
“Taika might hate that I say this, but I think there’s a kind of maturity to this film, in a way, both in terms of the filmmaking and also, I think, just in terms of the characters.”
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige added to the commentary, reminiscing on how Waititi wanted to avoid making this movie a second version of Thor: Ragnarok with a “balance of humor and pathos” throughout:
“It was very important to Taika for this not to simply be Ragnarok 2. There is the irreverence. There is that tone. There is that amazing balance of humor and pathos. But Taika wanted to make it scarier in some regards, and more emotional in many regards.
Feige also spoke about this new outing not necessarily being there just to “[seed] a new chapter” or show off some kind of Easter egg, but rather to push its heroes forward and help them evolve into the people they’re meant to be:
“We always say each story has a beginning, middle and end, or is standalone, and some have more direct connections than others to what’s to come. But the best stories, really, are the ones that aren’t about just seeding a new chapter, or showing off or teasing a new MacGuffin, but are about evolving and changing the hero you love so that you’re intrigued to see how they progress moving forward. And that is very much what Love and Thunder is about.
Ever since WandaVision first hit Disney+, the Multiverse has become an increasingly hot topic with regard to where the MCU is going with its future. Fast forward to learning about Variants through Loki and seeing the alternate universe characters in the aforementioned Spider-Man and Doctor Strange sequels, and it only makes sense why fans may think the concept will be a part of Thor: Love and Thunder as well.
In the end, Taika Waititi confirmed that this is a straightforward movie completely set in Earth-616, meaning that this is the same Jane Foster fans got to know during 2011’s Thor and 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. While it’s still unclear how exactly she will become the Mighty Thor (although her cancer storyline could play a role), this movie won’t give fans the added pressure of learning about another entirely new Variant of an established hero.
Thor: Love and Thunder will debut in theaters on July 8.