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Thor: Love and Thunder kicks off Australian shoot with tribute to native peoples

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Jan 26, 2021, 7:17 PM EST (Updated)

Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth standalone Marvel adventure starring Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder and charter Avenger, began shooting in Australia today. Hemsworth commemorated the occasion on Instagram with a tribute to the country's native peoples.

It's customary for film and TV productions in Australia and New Zealand to kick off with a ceremony involving local indigenous tribal dancers, and Thor: Love and Thunder was no exception, launching its shooting schedule with an event featuring Gamay dancers from the Gadigal and Bidiagal Nation and Maori dancers from Te Aranganui (director Taika Waititi is partially of Maori descent).

But today, Jan. 26, is also Australia Day, an annual national holiday that has traditionally marked the arrival in 1788 of the British First Fleet at Port Jackson in New South Wales, establishing the first European colony on the southern continent. Over time, Australia Day has evolved into a celebration of not just colonial Australia, but the country's First Nations people and the diverse cultures and history of the continent.

As such, while imploring people to #changethedate, Hemsworth posted: "Indigenous Australians may be just as proud of this country, but many see January 26th as a date signifying the beginning of dispossession, disease epidemics, frontier violence, destruction of culture, exploitation, abuse, separation of families and subjection to policies of extreme social control. Let’s begin the healing and stand together in unity and support with our First Nations people with solidarity and compassion. Let’s find a date where all Australians can celebrate this beautiful country together. "

Production on Thor: Love and Thunder was actually supposed to begin last August, but was delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Now the shoot is finally underway, with Hemsworth joined by Natalie Portman returning as Jane Foster for the first time since 2013's Thor: The Dark World (although she made a brief appearance via previously existing footage in Avengers: Endgame), Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, Vin Diesel as Groot, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy possibly showing up as well. Matt Damon is also coming back, while Christian Bale will make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as the movie's villain, Gorr the God Butcher.

Plot details are scarce, as usual, but it is known that Jane Foster will wield Mjolnir and become a female version of the God of Thunder.

Waititi is directing his second Marvel film after the highly acclaimed and massively successful Thor: Ragnarok, and has written the screenplay along with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 6, 2022, and is one of the major tentpoles of Marvel's Phase 4 slate of movies and Disney+ shows.