Thor: Love and Thunder—still low key mad this movie isn’t called Th4r—started filming in Australia last week. Taika Waititi kicked off the proceedings with a Welcome to Country ceremony with Gamay dancers from the Gadigal and Bidiagal Nation and Maori dancers from Te Aranganui. Waititi also did this when they filmed Thor: Ragnarok. It’s a lovely way to begin, by acknowledging that you’re standing on someone else’s land. Land acknowledgments are a thing in Canada, I know, but we rarely hear them in the US. Like, Martin Scorsese will film his new movie in Osage Nation, but I doubt we see anything like this from that direction. That’s not a dig on Scorsese, just that Americans are bad at acknowledging Indigenous land and rights.
Anyway, Top Chris Hemsworth and Worst Chris Pratt are on set, in costume. Looks like Thor is back to his old self, no more Lebowski Thor. His wig is especially luscious. Also on set is Sean Gunn as Kraglin, and I don’t think that is actually Karen Gillan, but a Nebula double is walking around, so she’s about to be in this movie, too. “Asgardians of the Galaxy” is a pretty popular mashup in the comics, and I am interested to see how they combine that element with the “Mighty Thor” storyline in which Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, picks up Mjolnir and becomes Thor. Honestly, these are the set photos I am waiting for: Portman in Thor costume. Back when it was announced, a lot of people thought The Mighty Thor sounded like a marketing gimmick, a way to capitalize on the growing calls for more representation in superhero comics (something the films were not yet embracing in 2014). But The Mighty Thor turned out to be a tremendous comic, with a heartfelt story about what it means to be a hero, and the sacrifices necessary to stand up for others.
Jane Foster is stricken with breast cancer, and every time she “becomes Thor”, the power of Thor heals her, but that only means that when she goes back to being plain Jane Foster, her cancer returns, worse every time. So she’s not just becoming Thor because it’s cool and fun, but she really has to consider what she is personally risking each time. It’s such a great story, and I don’t know how that will work with the general space silliness of the Asgardians of the Galaxy. Unless it just…doesn’t. I’m not going to lie, if they drop the cancer storyline, I will be crushed. It’s such an intimate and relatable way to frame questions of heroism and sacrifice, and it would be a shame to lose that, especially in one of the most fanciful and goofy franchises that rarely leaves space for such meaningful and emotional storylines. I still can’t wait to see Portman in the Mighty Thor getup, but I hope to see some signs that Jane’s best storyline isn’t being wasted.