After Taika Waititi breathed new life into the Thor franchise and Thor: Ragnarok was not only a huge hit but also one of the best-received Marvel movies, the big question was: Will Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth return for another Thor movie? The answer: yes. Breaking ahead of Comic-Con is the news that Taika Waititi is signed on to write and direct Thor 4, or, in a way: Thor 2: The Good Ones. Hemsworth is “expected” to return, so I assume they’re still deciding how big the Brinks truck will be.
This is all happening because Taika’s live-action Akira adaptation fell apart. It hasn’t been abandoned entirely, but they ran into scripting issues which pushed back production, which put it up against Marvel’s window for Thor 4 (which tells me Taika must have been talking to Marvel about this for a while). With Akira in shambles, Taika is shifting over to work on Thor 4 while Akira regroups. For now, it sounds like Warner Brothers is content to wait for Taika to become available again post-Thor 4, but we’ll see. It is sort of a reverse James Gunn situation, where Warners has him while Marvel has to wait for his return to Guardians of the Galaxy.
So what could Thor 4 be? Endgame saw Thor jet off into space with the Guardians, so maybe we actually do get “Asgardians of the Galaxy”, which is a real comic book, with an ongoing story right now. The team includes Thor’s half-sister, Angela—a SUPER cool character, but one whose backstory was partially burned for Hela in Ragnarok—so it’s not hard to imagine an AOTG movie but with Thor instead of Angela. I just hope Thor 4 introduces us to Beta Ray Bill, the bipedal talking horse alien who carries Stormbreaker in the comics. Ragnarok teased Bill as a former champion of Sakaar, and Thor has made Stormbreaker, so all we need now is for Bill to show up and claim it. I can’t imagine anyone better suited to introduce a bipedal talking horse alien than Taika Waititi.
I also have some questions about whether or not Thor 4 could set up the next Avengers event, the way Ragnarok set up Infinity War. There are several possibilities on the table for the next Avengers crossover, including Secret Invasion (Skrulls invade Earth), and Secret Wars (heroes and villains are kidnapped to “Battleword” and forced to fight one another). I feel like it will be Secret Wars because that story involves Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four, and now that Marvel has all their toys back, they’re perfectly poised to do it.
But there is a story happening right now in the comics called “War of the Realms” which is BY FAR my favorite Avengers comic in recent memory. “War of the Realms” is outrageously entertaining, with Dark Elves invading Earth and every single superhero you’ve ever heard of springing into action to fight them back, and then Captain America assembles a team to go fetch Thor out of some space trouble, while Carol Danvers defends Earth with Doctor Strange. Those two then get caught up in a body swap caper, WHICH IS AMAZING. It’s SO good everything in the Marvel movies should be pointing in the direction of making this happen.
I am very curious about the next phase of Marvel movies, because it feels like Marvel is setting up to be even more ambitious post-Endgame, despite the usual roster of sequels (we know Black Panther 2 and Doctor Strange 2—IS IT THE BODY SWAP, IF NOT, WHY—are happening, and based on its billion-dollar success, Captain Marvel 2 is a sure bet—THIS COULD ALSO BE THE BODY SWAP). Maybe not more ambitious in scope, probably nothing will ever be as big as Infinity War/Endgame combined. I still have anxiety dreams about that production calendar. But creatively? Marvel is all-in on The Eternals, a bonkers super-team even more spacey and weird than the Guardians of the Galaxy. They’re expanding their roster to be more inclusive with characters like Shang-Chi. And they’re bringing back the filmmakers who brought fresh perspective to the MCU, like Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler. They seem committed to keeping up the creative expansion of the MCU.
There is a ton of possibility for Thor 4, and Taika probably has a long, long leash to do whatever he likes. Now would be a great time introduce a bipedal talking horse alien and also set up a “War of the Realms” movie. Seriously guys, that body swap storyline is the tits. Filmmakers ought to be fighting in Marvel’s parking lot for the right to adapt it.