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Teaser trailers, when they're done right, do exactly what they say on the tin. They don't give you the whole arc of the story, but they do offer enough tantalizing bits to get you talking, and maybe point the way to a couple of key developments and twists to come in the finished film. This week, Marvel dropped the first teaser for Thor: Love and Thunder, and it's a teaser trailer in the classic sense, full of glimpses that offer a lot of possibilities without ever giving away the whole film's sense of direction.
We'll certainly learn plenty more about Love and Thunder in the three months between now and its July release date, and we'll see more footage along the way. For now, though, it's worth taking a moment to ponder what the teaser offers us, and the big questions it inspires as we lean into Love and Thunder's larger story and place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are six questions we have, based on the footage we just saw.
1. How much time has passed?
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor decided to take his talents away from Earth, and explore the cosmos with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Love and Thunder trailer makes it clear that the film will spend a significant amount of time with that cosmic team of misfits, as Thor's still on a journey with Star-Lord and his pals. What we don't know is exactly how long the "Asgardians of the Galaxy" have been hanging out together. It's at least long enough that Thor's been able to get himself back into shape and work through some of his issues after Endgame, and apparently long enough that he's come to a decision that it's time for him to walk away, but that could be months, or it could be years.
Where the film falls in the timeline might not matter much to Love and Thunder's story, but depending on the wider MCU implications of the film, it could mean everything. It'll be very interesting to see where the film eventually lands in relation to Endgame, to the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and even to the Loki TV series and its own spacetime fluctuations.
2. What's changed between Thor and Star-Lord?
There aren't really any true scenes in this teaser trailer, just glimpses of larger moments that we get without context, but one thing is very clear: Thor makes the decision to leave the Guardians of the Galaxy behind at some point, and strike out on his own. At some point in that parting of the ways, Star-Lord gives him some possibly farewell advice: If you're every lost, look into the eyes of the people you love. For Star-Lord, it's a moment to reflect on his own journey, and to look back at his longtime teammates. For Thor, it's...apparently a moment to look into Star-Lord's eyes.
It's a funny reversal of roles from the time when these characters first met, and Star-Lord was immediately jealous of Thor's godlike demeanor. The God of Thunder has obviously been through a lot since then, and it's clear from this moment that Star-Lord has in some way proven himself after that Endgame staredown when Thor indicated he might be trying to steal the team away from his new compatriot. So, what changed? What have these guys been through that makes Star-Lord cooler in Thor's eyes, and how much of that will we actually get to see?
3. What pulls Valkyrie away from New Asgard?
At the end of Endgame, Thor makes the decision to leave Earth, and in the process dubs Valkyrie the Queen of New Asgard, giving the warrior a prominent place among her people once again. It's a nice arc for a character whose downfall prior to Ragnarok left her roaming like a woman without a people, but Love and Thunder seems set to change that course. We see Valkyrie only briefly in the teaser, and she seems to be home in New Asgard, where a committee meeting of some kind has her looking both bored and dejected. She's obviously bound to be part of Thor's larger journey, but what exactly pulls her away from her duties? Is she fed up with the boundaries of trying to run a country on Earth? Does she just miss fighting? Is it a threat so big she has to pick up and join the battle? All three could be true, but no matter the motivation, it'll be great to see her in action again.
4. What draws out The God Butcher?
In a teaser trailer full of reveals, one major player was conspicuously absent: Gorr the God Butcher, the new villain played by Christian Bale, who will emerge to slaughter as many deities as possible before Thor and company step in to stop him. In his original comics debut a decade ago, Gorr set out to destroy as many pantheons throughout existence as possible, and it's clear from this teaser that those pantheons are now very much a part of the MCU.
We see the Greek pantheon led by Zeus (Russell Crowe), and other MCU tales like Moon Knight have established still more gods who might fall prey to Gorr's quest. What remains to be seen, of course, is exactly how he and Thor will cross paths. In the comics, Gorr's mission of mass murder has been underway for a while, something Thor discovers during a search for other gods that leads him to nothing but a trail of corpses. How will Gorr's journey be twisted for his MCU introduction, and how deep will it go?
5. How much of the film will be Jane's story?
Love and Thunder was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 to great fanfare, including the reveal that Natalie Portman will make her MCU return not just as Jane Foster, but as The Mighty Thor. The teaser trailer ends with our first look at Jane in her Thor gear, complete with a reconstituted Mjolnir and some very impressive arms, so it's clear she's coming into this ready to do battle. What isn't clear is how much of the film will actually be devoted to Jane's story. In the comics, she got a whole new series devoted to her adventures, leading up to the reveal of who this new female Thor actually was. Films obviously have to condense things, and it's not clear yet if she'll just show up as Thor at some point, or if she'll get a worthy backstory to go along with her awesome new godhood.
6. How many Thors are in this movie?
We've known since Love and Thunder was announced that it will feature two Thors: Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Natalie Portman's Mighty Thor. But what if there are more Thors we haven't seen yet? Consider the film's source material, which largely seems to be Jason Aaron's epic run as Thor writer in the 2010s. That's the run that introduced both Jane Foster as Thor and the villain Gorr the God Butcher, but it also introduced the idea of three Thors from three different eras teaming up to save the universe.
At one point in that story, Thor as a young pre-Mjolnir godling, Thor as he exists in the present-day Marvel universe, and Thor as the Allfather millennia in the future all teamed up to battle Gorr, cementing the God Butcher as a villain who couldn't be vanquished by one God of Thunder. In this film the God Butcher will face at least two Thunder Gods, but that opening shot of the teaser, in which Thor runs through three different eras of his life, suggests that we may be in for even more.
Thor: Love and Thunder is in theaters July 8.
If you're looking for more sci-fi adventures in the meantime, Hulk (2003), Attraction, Minority Report, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan and 12 Monkeys are streaming now on Peacock.