Actor Christian Bale might be going head-to-head with Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Academy Award-winning actor is currently “in talks” to play a role in Thor 4, officially titled Thor: Love and Thunder, according to The Hollywood Reporter and other film trade publications. The film is set for release on November 5, 2021.
Hemsworth is returning as the God of Thunder in the film following his most recent appearance as Thor in Avengers: Endgame, while Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is back to direct the sequel. No character details have been revealed about who Bale could potentially play, but there are a number of fits in the Thor universe for Bale, including the characters Beta Ray Bill and Dario Agger (more on these below).
Bale is no stranger to comic book films, as he pulled off one of the best Hollywood transformations of all-time when he took on the mantle of Batman for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. When Bale first got the role for Batman Begins, he was coming off of his film The Machinist, which he prepared for by losing 63 pounds to play a character that had a severe case of insomnia. After that, he added 100 pounds back to his body—most of it muscle—to play Bruce Wayne in the comic book film.
Now, Bale might be transforming again to star alongside Hemsworth. Thor 4, which was announced as San Diego Comic-Con 2019, is expected to take inspiration from Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor storyline in the comics. In that run of stories, Jane Foster became a version of Thor, and with Natalie Portman returning to play that character after starring in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, it’s likely Waititi will adapt at least part of that storyline. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Waititi’s CGI character Korg are also confirmed to return.
Hemsworth has played Thor for nearly a decade in the MCU and he’s one of the only original Avengers that will continue into Phase 4. While it’s not official, the events of Avengers: Endgame likely means Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. will be done as main characters, while Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow may not continue after her solo film in May 2020. Mark Ruffalo is expected to return as Hulk at some point, but there’s been no official word from Marvel on that yet.
Here are a few characters that Bale could potentially be playing if he joins up:
Beta Ray Bill: This character has long been a popular one in the Thor comics and he nearly made an appearance in Thor 3. The character first debuted in 1983 and is an alien creature with a horse-like face. Beta Ray Bill was one of the first characters to be shown to be worthy to wield Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, other than Thor, and he also got his own hammer in the comics named Stormbreaker. In Avengers: Infinity War, Hemsworth’s Thor acquires his own version of the Stormbreaker hammer. As Marvel head Kevin Feige previously said in an interview, the character was included in an early version of the movie, but that “it was so quick… and it just didn’t do it justice. And the feeling is, if you can’t do it justice, do it later.”
Dario Agger/Minotaur: If Bale goes the villain route for Thor 4, this character could be a possible option, as he was featured in the Jason Aaron Mighty Thor run mentioned above. The character was first introduced in 2014 and was the CEO of the Roxxon Energy Corporation. As part of the storyline, he eventually gained the power to change from human to Minotaur at will, gaining superhuman strength and durability.
Cul Borson/Serpent: This character first appeared in 2011 in the comics and is the brother of Thor’s father Odin, making him the uncle of Thor. As part of some of his comic storylines, Borson interacts with Jane Foster’s version of Thor and is sent to try and take Thor’s mighty hammer Mjolnir from her. Marvel is known to combine and change storylines from the comics to work for films, so this could be adapted for the new movie. Borson takes on the name of Serpent and his abilities include superhuman strength, speed, a healing factor, as well as shapeshifting.
Thor: Love and Thunder will be released on November 5, 2021.
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