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The (Possible) Philosophy of THOR: Love and Thunder – Wisecrack Edition


What’s up Wisecrack? Jared again. During Comic Con, Marvel made an electrifying
announcement: Thor is going to continue past a trilogy with the new film Thor: Love and
Thunder. Even more electrifying is the news that Natalie
Portman’s character Jane Foster will be the film’s main star, taking on the mantle
of Thor, just as she did in writer Jason Aaron’s recent run in the comics. Many readers consider Aaron’s Thor to be
the definitive take on the God of Thunder and it’s very likely that his work will
serve as the inspiration for the film because he’s the only writer that’s penned the character
during Foster’s tenure as Thor. That and director Taika Waititi made mention
of Aaron’s run while filming Ragnarök. The thing that’s really setting off our
“Peter tingle” “Please, do not start calling it my Peter
tingle” is the fact that Aaron has one of the most
clearly established theological bents of any comic creator. He’s a misotheist, which basically means
he believes that we should hate God. He espouses this in a wide range of works,
including his comic The Goddamned, his current run on The Avengers, and, importantly, his
run on Thor. Unless the only thing they plan on pulling
from Aaron is the fact that Foster becomes Thor, it will be almost impossible for Aaron’s
theology not to bleed through. We’re not saying that Waititi is going to
drop all the levity of Ragnarök in order to have his heroes deliver diatribes denouncing
God, but we’ll wager that Aaron’s views will find their way in somehow. So with that in mind, let’s take look at
Aaron’s works and see if understanding his philosophy can help us predict the plot of
Thor: Love and Thunder. And while we realize that we’re right in
only one out of fourteen million six hundred and five futures, on the chance that this
is the timeline we’re living in, spoilers ahead. Misotheism is less a theological proposition
than a philosophical perspective. It says nothing about what God Himself is
like. He might be the Jewish Elohim or the Christian
Trinity or the Muslim Allah or Paul Blart, Mall Cop. Regardless of which God is real, misotheism
is the belief that we should feel only contempt towards God. Of course, most misotheists aren’t also
Bible believing fundamentalists proudly marching their way to Hell just to prove a point. They’re atheists and agnostics who conjure
an evil deity to explain their hostility towards a god whom they don’t believe actually exists. Basically- “My God’s the bigggest dick that’s never existed” This is the proposition that Jason Aaron is
coming from. In one interview, he said, “I’ve become
more fascinated by religion and faith after I lost mine.” His fascination with religion is a deeply
critical one, which he expresses in fiction that supposes the existence of malevolent
gods and setting his heroes against them. Aaron’s most misotheistic work is The Goddamned. Set before the biblical Flood Aaron’s take
is a subversion of the account from Genesis. In the original, the hero is Noah, the only
righteous man among a generation of human garbage, like Keanu Reeves in our day. In Aaron’s telling, Noah is a self-righteous
prick. Instead, Aaron’s hero is Cain, “the man
who invented murder.” What differentiates Cain from Noah is at least
he realizes that he’s just as screwed up as everyone else, and it’s this self-loathing
and misanthropy that informs his misotheism. As he puts it, “You’re a fool if you think
you could ever live up to the expectation of the all-goddamn-mighty. He made us, right? He made us in His own image. Fucked up.” He tells a mother praying for her child, “He
can hear you just fine. He hears everything. Every scream. Every Cry. Every Whimper. Every plea for mercy. For death. He hears. He just doesn’t give a fuck.” Aaron’s run on The Avengers also subverts
a creation myth, this time the genesis of life on Earth-616. Previously, the abundance of superpowered
beings was believed to be the result of ancient experiments done by the Celestials. In Aaron’s version, Loki reveals the true
history: Life on Earth from the very beginning was a cosmic fluke. The “gods” had no plans or purpose for
humanity. “The Celestial came not because of some
grand design or godly destiny. It never even consciously chose this world. It came merely because it fell… Why is the Earth so uniquely eccentric within
the near-infinite number of planets strewn across the heavens? Not because of any grand purpose, I can assure
you. ” As with The Goddamned, this is a deliberate
inversion of the Genesis story, with the Fall preceding the Creation, and not the fall of
man but of god. And again, a fallen god results in mankind
being made fallen in his image. So having seen how misotheism is everywhere
in his work, let’s dive into his run on Thor to get an idea of how Love and Thunder might
play out. Aaron’s first issue introduces the ultimate
misotheist, Gorr the God Butcher. Gorr once had faith in the gods of his species,
but after watching his family all die of sickness and starvation despite their prayers, he became
an atheist. At least until two gods crashed upon his planet
and asked for Gorr’s aid. Having had his prayers go unheeded, Gorr became
enraged that they dare ask him for help. And so, he became a serial killer who slaughters
entire pantheons simply so that entire worlds will have no gods to pray to. Just as he subverted the Genesis account in
The Goddamned and Avengers, here Aaron subverts the Gospel narrative, playing with the same
motifs. Jesus was crucified to save mankind, dying
and rising three days later. Similarly, Gorr crucifies every god in all
of existence and Thor becomes the savior of all godkind, dying and rising three days later. Establishing Thor as the greatest and most
worthy of gods – including the Christian conception of the crucified God – is essential to Aaron’s
argument. During their battle, Gorr says to Thor: “You
know I’m right. That’s why you fight so hard. Why you try so desperately hard to seem noble. Because you see just how petty and useless
your kind truly are.” This is Gorr’s thesis, that no god is worthy. When we think of the word ‘worthy’ in
conjunction with Thor, we associate it with being able to lift his trusty hammer, Mjolnir. And this does have to do somewhat with Thor
himself becoming unable to lift his hammer. It was Nick Fury’s whisper – “Gorr was
right” – that caused Thor to suddenly drop it. But we think Gorr really meant that no god,
not even the greatest, is worthy of the devotion of mortals. Importantly, Thor never again becomes worthy. At the end of Aaron’s run, after reforging
Mjolnir, saving all Ten realms and becoming the All-Father, Thor still remains unworthy,
even taking the title “God of the Unworthy.” It’s precisely because every god is unworthy
that Mjolnir should only be wielded by a mortal: enter Jane Foster. Jane, is also written by Aaron as a misotheist. She’s met the gods face-to-face and found
most of them to be jerks. A constant adversary throughout her tenure
as Thor is Odin himself. This is important because Odin, the Asgardian
All-Father is pretty clearly analogous to the judeo-christian God the Father. But out of all the shitty gods Jane clashes
with, its K’ythri and Sharra, the gods of the Shi’ar, who really reveal the extent
of Aaron’s misotheism. They’re the antagonists in the “Challenge
of the gods,” which, in typical Aaron style, subverts another story out of the Bible, this
time the tale of Job. In a nutshell, Job’s story tells us that
though we cannot know God’s purpose and might find his actions capricious in the midst
of our suffering, we must have faith that His mysterious ways really do work. Aaron’s argument is the opposite. He presents the gods of the Shi’ar as genuinely
indifferent to their supplicants, causing them to suffer simply to win a bet. Then there’s the whole Challenge of the
Gods thing. This is an eon’s old contest that pits one
pantheon against another to see who can accumulate more worshippers. The various categories they compete in read
like a long list of indictments against the God of the Bible. The first challenge calls upon the gods to
produce natural disasters, not unlike the Flood. The second calls upon the gods to produce
plagues, a la the Ten Plagues with which God ravaged Egypt. In the Inspirational Infanticide round, K’ythri
and Sharra force one of their worshippers to tie his son to an alter and sacrifice him,
directly, evoking Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The list goes on. Eventually, Jane simply refuses to compete
any further. But before the contest had even begun she
articulated what made her worthy over and against any god: “I was holding a mortal woman in my arms
as the cancer that ravaged her brain slowly consumed what was left of her life. All I could do was listen as she prayed. She prayed to all the gods… Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heaven does she reside? None of them. Because no god bothered to listen or care.” By ending the Challenge prematurely, Jane
inadvertently releases the final foe she faces as Thor: Mangog. Having played with the stories of Genesis,
Job, and the Gospel, the arc with Mangog is Aaron’s take on Revelation. Just as Revelation foretells the Judgement
of mankind by Christ, Mangog is feared as the judgement of all Godkind. Mangog is quite literally misotheism made
manifest. He embodies all the rage of every mortal ever
wronged by the gods. Clearly misotheism is all over Aaron’s run
on Thor. While we predict that this theme will inevitably
be felt in Love and Thunder, we suspect that the film will depart from the comics for three
reasons. Firstly, movie-Thor has already had enough
crises of confidence, most clearly seen during his recent bout as “Bro Thor.” Even then he was still worthy of wielding
Mjolnir. It’d feel redundant to have him down in
the dumps again so soon, especially without a catalyst like Gorr. However, we suspect the fan-favorite butcher
won’t be making an appearance just yet, because the focus of the film is supposed
to be Jane, and there isn’t really space for a Gorr vs Thor showdown before she even
enters the picture. Secondly, Mjolnir was destroyed by Hela in
Ragnarök, and the one wielded in Endgame was returned by Captain America to the 2014
timeline. And Stormbreaker isn’t imbibed with the
requirement of worthiness, so there’s no chance of Thor becoming unable to lift his
hammer or it imbuing Jane with his powers. And in either case it was clearly Mjolnir
that Portman was holding at Comic Con. Thirdly, Odin’s already dead, so there can’t
really be a conflict between him and Jane. Also, Odin is portrayed as wiser and more
benevolent by the time he dies, anyway. Given all this, we suspect that the seeds
for Love and Thunder will first be sown in the upcoming film, Doctor Strange and the
Multiverse of Madness. Earth-616 will be interacting with other Earths
throughout the multiverse in this film, one of which is likely the source of the new Mjolnir. A similar scenario plays out in Aaron’s
mini-series The Unworthy Thor, in which Thor comes across a Mjolnir once wielded by the
Ultimate Thor from Earth-1610. So here’s our first prediction: In the end
credits of Doctor Strange 2, we’re going to see a Mjolnir from somewhere in the multiverse
come crashing down on Earth. Our second prediction: We suspect Odin will
be substituted with his brother, Cul Borson, the god of fear, who will become Jane’s
nemesis. He acts as Odin’s regent in Aaron’s run,
so it wouldn’t be a stretch to combine their roles in the film. Cul would serve as a more fitting proxy of
a malevolent Father god than Valkyrie, so we suspect that he’ll take the throne of
Asgard as the new All-Father. But Cul doesn’t strike us as the main villain. Which brings us to prediction three. The big baddies will be the Shi’ar gods
K’ythri and Sharra, to be set up in Thor’s next appearance, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume
3. The Shi’ar, along with the Kree and the
Skrull, are one of the main cosmic civilizations, so they’d fit in perfectly with the world
James Gunn has crafted. And the space setting in which Jane fought
K’ythri and Sharra would allow Waititi to draw upon the same sci-fi elements which made
Ragnarök so successful. Moreover, the Shi’ar are traditionally associated
with the X-Men. While Marvel’s mutants won’t have any
films in Phase Four, we know they’re major players in Phase Five. As Love and Thunder is the final film of Phase
Four, this would be the perfect occasion to roll out their introduction. Most importantly, K’ythri and Sharra’s collective
role exemplifies Aaron’s philosophy, forcing us to ask the question “what is a god?” K’ythri and Sharra, with their demand of worship
and imparting of divine wrath, would juxtapose well against Jane, who, despite possessing
the powers of a goddess, remains at heart a mortal. For our final prediction, we suspect Love
and Thunder will establish Mangog just as the “Challenge of the gods” did. That would logically make him the big bad
guy in film two of the Jane Foster trilogy, with part three drawing from the recent event,
War of the Realms. While Dark Elf Malekith is the villain in
the comics, he was disposed of way back in The Dark World. Therefore, we see this final film as the perfect
occasion for Gorr to take center stage. But now we’re really getting ahead of ourselves. Still, Feige, hit us up if you want more ideas. At the end of the day, Aaron’s signature
misotheism takes center stage in his run on Thor, and we suspect that a similar sentiment
will permeate the film. Of course, we’ve been wrong about Marvel
before, which makes for an equal-parts delightful and miserable film-watching experience. But what do you think? Are you down to watch a superhero flick equivalent
of Garrison cursing out kids for believing in a flying spaghetti monster? “Do you beleive in a flying spaghetti monster
too, blubblehead? Or are you hoping Waititi steers clear of
theology and just has Jane bro out with Korg and Meik while playing Fortnight and using
Stormbreaker to crack open some cold ones. Which honestly sounds awesome, and we’re
a bit on the fence now ourselves. Let us know what you think in the comments. A big thanks to all our rad patrons for supporting
the show and our podcasts. Be sure to hit that subscribe button.

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