Let's dive into that post-credits reveal as we contemplate what's next for the God of Thunder and friends.
This should go without saying, but we're jumping straight into spoiler territory here for "Thor: Love and Thunder." If you haven't seen the the movie and want to experience the surprises as they come, stop reading NOW.
Okay, you've been warned.
The fourth "Thor" movie hit theaters this weekend and is primed to do major numbers at the box office. "Love and Thunder" is Taika Waititi's second time helming a flick for the God of Thunder, after bringing Chris Hemsworth's himbo hero into a more comedic direction with "Thor: Ragnarok" in 2017. The movie also marks the return of Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, who was MIA in "Ragnarok" and last filmed anything new in the MCU back in 2013 for "The Dark World"; archival footage was used for "Avengers: Endgame."
"Love and Thunder" finds Thor ditching the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop a threat against New Asgard, a feat made all the more complicated when Jane reappears in his life wielding Mjolnir and turning into The Mighty Thor herself. The two team up with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Waititi) to take on Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), a villain on a mission to kill every god in existence. But he's not the only obstacle for the team, as Jane is also battling Stage IV cancer ... and the transformations into Thor are only pushing her closer to death.
Well, we said we were tackling spoilers here, so let's get straight to our first burning question after watching the film.
1.) Will Jane Stay Dead?
While Jane turns into a seemingly-unstoppable force while wielding Mjolnir, the metamorphosis only speeds up her cancer's attack on her body. Knowing one more transformation would kill her, Foster does it anyway so she can aid in the final battle against Gorr. Though the gang succeeds in destroying the big bad's Necrosword and halting his plan, Jane dies and, in the final post-credits scene, is seen being welcomed into Valhalla by Heimdall.
Though this seems like it could be the end of Jane's time in the MCU, anyone who's read the Mighty Thor comics might believe differently. In the arc on which Jane's Thor transformation is based, a still-living Odin himself meets her at the gates of Valhalla after she sacrifices herself and Mjolnir to defeat Mangog. But while she's just outside the gates, looking in, she feels something pulling her back to reality -- saying to herself that she knows she has "more to give" and she "wasn't done writing my story."
Over her dead body, meanwhile, Thor tries to funnel a cosmic storm -- or God Tempest -- released from the shattered Mjolnir into Jane to bring her back. After Thor loses his arm trying to do it on his own, Odin then rushes to his side to help control the Tempest and successfully channels it into Jane, reviving her. Once back among the living, she agrees to go to chemotherapy and tells Thor it's time he "reclaimed who you are" and take back the mantle.
Long story short, the source material points to Jane coming back, should Portman want to keep playing the character in a less-superpowered role.
Okay, this one's pretty straight forward, but a really fun surprise nonetheless.
In the film, Thor and the gang head to Omnipotent City to warn Zeus (Russell Crowe) and the rest of the gods in existence of Gorr's impending threat ... and it doesn't go all that well. Not only is the warning laughed off, but Thor's mighty, uh, hammer is exposed with the flick of Zeus' fingers, a fight ensues and not only does the team steal the Greek god's lightning bolt, but also uses it against him, seemingly killing him.
When fans first learned that Crowe was cast as Zeus in the film, many wondered if that meant Hercules -- a major rival of Thor's in the comics -- would be making an appearance as well. In the first credits scene, he does just that.
After a still-alive Zeus reflects on the embarrassment caused by Thor and how superheroes have turned gods into a joke, he calls on his son to kill the God of Thunder. And who did Marvel get to play the hulking, barely-clothed demigod? Well, Brett Goldstein from "Ted Lasso," of course, who shows off his impressive physique in the character's revealing ensemble.
Fingers crossed we don't have to wait until the fifth Thor film to see him in action.
When "Love and Thunder" was announced during Marvel's Hall H presentation at Comic-Con in 2019, Thompson said Valkyrie's "first order of business" would be to "find her queen." But, sadly, no such relationship comes to fruition in the finished film.
Her sexuality was first addressed in a scene that was ultimately cut from "Ragnarok," which showed a woman leaving Valkyrie's bedroom. In "Love and Thunder" it's definitely made more explicit that the character is very much into women, flirting with the female gods surrounding Zeus in Omnipotent City and reflecting over lost love.
Much of her journey in the movie is about self discovery and realizing she's actually open to love again, and not just looking for a fling -- meaning she should, hopefully, get a girlfriend wherever she pops up next.
"I'd love to see her with a girlfriend in any movie," Taika told Los Angeles Times. "We had some talks, but there was something about that character that I find really interesting as someone who's OK with being alone. So often people are like ‘to show someone is queer, you have to see them with someone.' But [Valkyrie] lost the love of her life, and the most important person in her life [now], that's she's trying to learn how to love, is herself. And I think that's just a stronger message, no matter what your orientation."
"I think there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I. But I also think [it's important] not to hang the character's hat solely on her sexual identity just because she's a queer character," added Thompson. "I think that's one way of minimizing her humanity, actually, if that’s the only facet that you get to explore her in."
Hemsworth, meanwhile, added, "I think there's plenty of room for [romance in] a spin-off or future film." Fingers crossed!
There is some queer love in the film though, as Korg reveals his entire species is made up of men -- and has a child with boyfriend Dwayne at the end of the film.
While much was made about his so-called "dad bod" in "Avengers: Endgame," Thor became an actual father by the end of this film.
So, how'd we get here? Well, Gorr the God Butcher vowed to kill all the gods after the one his people prayed to ignored their pleas for help, leading to their extinction. He had to watch his own daughter die in his arms, sparking his crusade. Near the end of the film, Gorr makes his way to Eternity -- a cosmic entity who can grant any wish, ever -- and, instead of asking for the mass-extinction of gods, is convinced by Jane to ask for his daughter's resurrection in his dying moments.
With Gorr himself dead, Thor takes her in and raises the child as his own. Making it all the more sweet: the girl is played by Hemsworth's own daughter with Elsa Pataky, India.
The final shot of the film shows the two going on their own adventures -- Thor wielding Mjolnir and the little firecracker rocking Stormbreaker -- as a duo known as "Love and Thunder," the sweet meaning behind the film's title.
It really seems that the MCU is starting to think about a new generation of heroes, as fans continue to rally behind a "Young Avengers" project. Could Love pop up in something like that, in addition to any Thor sequels? We don't see why not!
Cassie Lang has a larger role in the upcoming "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and is known as Stature in the Young Avengers comics, with powers similar to her father's. Viewers also saw Scarlet Witch and Vision's kids Billy and Tommy in "WandaVision" and "Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness" -- two mini super-heroes who are known as Wiccan and Speed in the comics.
On the younger side, we've also got Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) from "Hawkeye," Elijah Bradley (Elijah Richardson) from "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) in the most recent Doctor Strange movie, Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani) and Riri Williams AKA Ironheart (Dominique Thorne, making her debut in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"). While Chris made it sound like India's appearance would be a one-off, they could easily age the character up and recast.