Avengers: Endgame had new challenges and novel changes for all of the original Avengers, but one’s character arc was more visually apparent than some of his contemporaries. Chris Hemsworth’s Thor went through a lot in the aftermath of Infinity War - and now fans can understand a little of the thinking behind the God of Thunder’s direction.
** WARNING: Spoilers from Avengers: Endgame follow **
EW talked with directors Joe and Anthony Russo about why Thor packed on the pounds in a post-Thanos world. Much of it is due to how he’s processing his feelings of failure after not “going for the head," as Thanos so eloquently put it just before the snap that wiped out half of all life.
“How is everyone processing their grief?” asked Joe. Thor is embodying it. “We wanted them all to process it in very different ways,” Joe continued, “and Thor is an exceedingly tragic character who was built from the time he was a boy to be a king. What is the distance that a character like that can travel, a god? Somebody, especially, who looks like Chris Hemsworth?”
Some fans took exception to the body-shaming fat jokes prevalent in the film (coming from friends like Rocket Raccoon and family like his mother), while the Russos tended to focus on the serious side of the change. “What would happen if that character became extremely angry and started to punish himself and didn’t care anymore?” Joe said. “What would happen to him? He’s an alcoholic now, he doesn’t care about anything. He doesn’t care about himself.”
The beer-chugging, Lebowski-like alteration to Thor’s physical appearance is one grown from the character’s already devil-may-care tendencies taken to their most self-destructive conclusions. “Even though there’s a lot of fun to be had in the movie with his physical condition, it’s not a gag,” Anthony said. “It’s a manifestation of where he is on a character level, and we think it’s one of the most relatable aspects of him. I mean, it’s a very common sort of response to depression and pain.”
And if Thor shows back up in the next volume of the Guardians of the Galaxy (or as he dubs it, the Asgardians of the Galaxy)? He’ll still be fat because he will still be processing that turmoil. “That’s the reason why we didn’t end up turning him back,” Anthony said. “He may have made some repair in this movie and made progress, but that experience that brought him to that physical condition is still with him, and it’s a longer road beyond that. We don’t know what that road beyond that is for him.”
Fans might not know where Thor goes next either, but they can at least rest assured that the Russos’ simple sight gag helped make the character one of the most fully-realized characters in the Avengers.