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Thor: Love and Thunder cast, set photos, release date, plot, villain and everything else we know

Chris Hemsworth will return as Thor in Thor Love and Thunder
(Image credit: Marvel)

Thor: Love and Thunder really is bringing a lot of love and a lot of thunder to the Marvel sequel. Chris Hemsworth returns as the Norse god in Thor 4, though this time, he'll share the hammer (and power) with Natalie Portman. Filming on Thor: Love and Thunder is underway in Australia, and we've seen leaked set photos of the movie's villain, played by Christian Bale. He's not the only big name joining the Thor 4 cast, either — Russell Crowe is on board as a major new character.

The upcoming film is a part of Marvel's Phase 4 and follows the events of Thor: Ragnarok, which isn't just the best movie that the character has had to date, but is one of the top MCU films overall. So, here's everything we know about Thor: Love and Thunder.

Thor: Love and Thunder release date

Okay, fans, we've got some bad news. Disney's moved movies back on its calendar, so Thor: Love and Thunder's moved back to July 8, 2022, as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has taken its slot. This date used to belong to Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever.

It was originally meant to come out on November 5, 2021 (announced in 2019 at SDCC), and later pushed to February 11, 2022. But the coronavirus pandemic delayed it and many other productions. 

Thor: Love and Thunder set photos

The Thor: Love and Thunder set photos and video leaks are revealing quite a lot of plot points. Early images indicate Jane Foster (Portman) may get her Thor powers when she visits a site dedicated as a memorial to both Odin and Mjolnir, Thor's since-broken hammer. This leads us to think Foster may gain the powers through interaction with the broken weapon, a long-standing fan theory.

Looks like someone's getting some radical new looks from his post-leadership wardrobe. Thor, seen on the set here, is sporting a much less regal — but much more fun — attire. And yes, that's Star-Lord himself too. 

Another batch of photos gave a bit of confirmation to a rumor that Melissa McCarthy will be in the movie. She appears to portraying Hela in some way, and since Matt Damon was also seen on set, it's likely a mini recap at the start of the movie (as was the case for Thor: Ragnarok.

Other photos have revealed Christian Bale's look as the villain of Thor: Love and Thunder. More on those below.

Thor: Love and Thunder cast

As per usual, Chris Hemsworth, the original Thor himself, is returning to lead the cast. Similarly Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson, will return to play Jane Foster and Valkyrie, respectively. Christian Bale and Russell Crowe are joining the Thor: Love and Thunder cast. More details on them below.

Oh, and Vin Diesel's revealed that the Guardians of the Galaxy will also be in the film.

As seen above, Chris Pratt is sticking around as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord. And while director Taika Waititi isn't just back behind the camera: he will be voicing his scene-stealing character Korg.

Oh, and we also need Jeff Goldblum to come back as The Grandmaster. He's already started to tease the possibility, too.

Thor: Love and Thunder's Russell Crowe role

After rumors of Russell Crowe's addition to the cast peaked when the actor was seen with the cast around town, he is now confirmed for Thor: Love and Thunder. Crowe will be playing the Greek god Zeus — so he's not going to be in the theatrical movie-within-a-movie where cameos usually happen.

Crowe himself revealed the news on an Australian radio show, saying, "I’m going to get on my bicycle. I’m going to ride up to Disney Fox Studios and around about 9:15, I shall be Zeus! It’s for Thor. It’s my last day of Zeus-ing about, and I’m going to enjoy it."

It's not clear how big his role will be, though considering the villain of the movie is called "the God Butcher," it doesn't seem likely that Crowe will last very long.

Thor: Love and Thunder villain: Who is Christian Bale playing?

Tessa Thompson first revealed to ET that Christian Bale isn't just on board: he's going to be Thor: Love and Thunder's villain: Gorr the God Butcher. 

Gorr first appeared in the 2012 comic series Thor: God of Thunder, and he's a "god butcher" not out of career but out of revenge. Gorr holds a grudge with gods such as Thor because none of them came to save his family when they died.

Unlike Bale's previous comic book movie role (Batman), Gorr has actual powers. And much like Thor, his identity is tied to a powerful weapon. That's the All-Black the Necrosword, which is also known as All-Black. This blade enables Gorr to create god-killing tendrils, and allows him to fly at fast speeds and create Berserkers out of darkness. 

Leaked set photos have revealed how Bale will look as Gorr, though he appears to be out of costume.

Thor: Love and Thunder plot

Yes, as revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Jane Foster become the new Thor, at least for this film. In the comics, this has happened twice, in both 1978 and 2014, when she was deemed worthy of carrying Mjolnir after Thor was no longer able to carry the mighty hammer.

We also know that Valykrie, who inherited the title of the king of Asgard in Avengers: Endgame, is looking for a queen. Yes, you read that right, Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie will now be canonically queer, matching her character in the comics. 

As for whom that queen will be? No insights to share here, though there's extreme amounts of hope from fans online that Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, will get that title.

  • MCU Phase 4: Movie list, timeline, Disney Plus shows and more
Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past six-plus years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.