The trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder might have hinted that the film could finally answer a long-standing Phase 1 question. Taika Waititi’s second Thor film follows the titular character after the events of the snap and the battle against Thanos, where he left New Asgard behind and boarded a ship with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thor: Love and Thunder, more than just a fun space romp with some kooky characters, actually seems like it could be quite an introspective journey for the original Avenger, and thus could resolve a Phase 1 mystery.
The Avengers is around 10 years old, and it kicked off the legacy of the ever-growing MCU as it is now known beginning with the original six; Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Thor. Only half the team remain in the MCU (though the plan was to kill all 6 original Avengers in Endgame,) with Tony and Nat having sacrificed themselves in the war against Thanos, and Steve then returned to the 1950s to be with Peggy. Their stories were satisfyingly concluded with their endings; Tony’s final act was selfless, Natasha atoned for her past, and Steve was no longer a man out of time and he got his happy ending. Even Clint and Bruce, whilst still being present in the MCU, have also had the questions put to their initial introductions wrapped up neatly. Bruce found a balance between himself and the Hulk with smart Hulk, and Clint is appreciated as a hero in his own right despite having no superpowers, something which has always set him apart. Therefore, this leaves only Thor to go.
Thor’s question has always been one considering worthiness. It’s something that was put to him in his first film, Thor, when the powerful Norse God Odin banished him for going against orders, and Thor had to prove himself worthy to lift Mjolnir. By the end, Mjolnir came to his hand again, but Mjolnir is simply a representation, not indicative of Thor’s inner feelings. The trials and tribulations his character has encountered mean that he’s always come back to this question of worthiness time and time again; worthiness in the traditional “Thor” sense, but also, self-worth. By giving his story a satisfying conclusion in Thor: Love and Thunder, the MCU can finally answer whether or not Thor is actually worthy, as well as address what worthiness actually means. Given that he is the last original Avenger without a completed arc, it’s vital that the film offers some closure.
Throughout his MCU adventure, Thor has constantly questioned his place in events and the consequences of his actions. The Thor: Love & Thunder trailer shows Thor leaving the Guardians to go on some sort of soul-searching journey. He buries Stormbreaker and says he’s now a vessel of ”peace” instead of prioritizing battle. By contrast, Avengers: Endgame saw Thor restricted by depression and alcoholism as the guilt of not killing Thanos consumed him. He had lost all self-worth, completely breaking down when he encounters his mother during the time heist. Whilst there, he summons and successfully catches Mjolnir because he needs a representative sign that he’s still worthy, and it comes to him. Yet, the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer sees him recognize this as only a symbol and not the true feeling of inner worth. He might be worth in the sense that he’s willing to fulfill his God-given role as protector, but that’s not really a path he’s chosen. Thor can only reach this true sense of worthiness when he figures out who he is, and not who he has been told to be.
Thor, despite being a legendary Norse God, has turned out to have one of the most human arcs in the MCU. His vulnerability, peaks and valleys, grief and losses, have all combined in the perfect way to make him a character like no other. Thor: Love and Thunder‘s story will undoubtedly do him justice as he continues his quest for true worthiness. By continuing to explore this central MCU theme, the movie can finally explain what this nebulous quality actually means.