Can you believe they’re really making a Jane!Thor movie?! Like, it’s actually happening? I’m not imagining it? Holy shit right?!
Okay, yeah, it’s a Thor movie, she’s in it, it’s still technically Dude!Thor’s movie, but STILL. I hoped, nay, prayed this would happen. Now that Taika’s won his Oscar he can pretty much do what he wants- well, within reason- and what he wants is clearly more of Ragnarok.
I have been constantly speculating what’ll happen in this movie and since my gut instincts when it comes to Jane Foster specifically are usually pretty accurate (for better or worse) I would like to lay down a few predictions that I haven’t seen on other sites. We’ve seen predictions about Thor’s arc and possible villains- so I’m not going to bother about that much. This is more about the overall tone of the movie than too much about specific plot points- although I will touch on one point that’s come up a couple of times in conversation with Waititi.
Look, the news is still pretty thin on the ground and I need Love and Thunder content god dammit-
1. Heavy Metal Influence
So, Ragnarok was mostly a mid-eighties Italian Star Wars knock off but like… competent and people enjoyed it unironically. I have mixed feelings, mostly down to my favorite character being dismissed with like, three lines- but I can’t say it’s not an achievement.
Its gorgeously garish neon aesthetic, the amazing score, the action, the sets… Again, like Flash Gordon but honestly good (though at least Flash Gordon actually allowed itself to be sincere for five minutes) or like Star Crash but not torture. Most pretty much guessed this from the first Ragnarok logo reveal back in 2016.
So what immediately came to my mind with the Love and Thunder logo reveal?
I mean the music genre, the aesthetic and the 1981 animated anthology movie based on Heavy Metal magazine. I cannot go into just how influential that magazine was and continues to be to this day. However, as someone who fell face forward into a lot of Moebius art books as a teenager, I cannot tell you how much I need to see his influence on a Marvel movie. Especially a Thor movie.
Thor: Love and Thunder will most likely have the bright colours, weird creatures and barely contained horniness from Ragnarok– but it’ll resemble the side of a panel van circa 1983 rather than the good version of an MST3K selection. After all, it’s also clearly an influence on the comic book run that’s going to inform the movie- but we’ll get to that.
They kind of already attempted a Moebius like design in Sakaar, so…
Lots of people brought up Golden Axe, He-Man, and Thundercats, but I think I’m the only one who’s brought up Heavy Metal as a possible influence so far as I can tell.
It’s… still not a great movie. In fact, I kinda hate it- but it’s a very influential cult movie. It’s also kind of a landmark in adult animation, got some interesting ideas and at least some of the stories are cool as hell.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments- B-17 is probably the best story in the whole film. Taarna is, for my money, most likely the story that’d be the most inspiration for Love and Thunder. To be honest, if it wasn’t for the uncomfortable and gross misogyny I’d enjoy it a lot more. I’m pretty certain the only reason people of a certain generation have a soft spot for it is because it was probably the first time they’d ever seen naked boobies in a cartoon. It’s a very adolescent appeal, much like early 00s anime and Tank Girl was for me.
Which is why I enjoyed Birds of Prey so much.
Waititi once said in an interview that with Ragnarok, he ‘asked himself how would a six-year-old make it‘, perhaps Love and Thunder, much like Heavy Metal would be done through a more adolescent lens.
But I’d bet my back teeth Taika Waititi has seen it, probably whilst drunk and/or high with some friends. That’s probably the best way to watch most of it.
Anyway, overall- this will be to Love and Thunder what Flash Gordon was to Ragnarok. There will be more of a grungy Mad Max: Thunderdome aesthetic. Slightly muddier primary colours complimented by stylized chrome. Again, I’m only going from the logo, the title and the choice of song that was playing at that SDCC announcement.
Speaking of which.
2. Rainbow in the Dark
Do you know the other thing about Heavy Metal?
Its soundtrack fuckin’ rules.
It’s the best thing about the whole movie. Guess who features on that soundtrack? Aside from Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult and Grand Funk Railroad is a little known band named DEVO. The same band that Mark Mothersbaugh, composer for Ragnarok, happened to lead.
They get a song on the soundtrack (their cover version of Working in a Coalmine) and feature in the movie itself playing the TOTALLY NOT CANTINA BAND HONEST GUV, performing Through Being Cool.
If I was to hazard a guess- this will also influence the soundtrack. Whilst there’s no word yet on whether Mark Mothersbaugh will return or not, but he’d better cause that Ragnarok soundtrack was incredible. Love and Thunder’s soundtrack will most likely be closer to Dio, Queen, Cheap Trick, Riggs, Van Halen, and Kiss than it will be to the awesome synth assault of Ragnarok.
Incidentally, since Rainbow in the Dark was featured at the SDCC panel- I feel like it’s going to be this movie’s answer to Immigrant Song.
(I really want them to release a soundtrack album on sparkly vinyl PLEASE.)
Mark my words- there will be soaring guitar solos, big hair, spiked jackets, airbrushed dragons, tight leather trousers, and probably inexplicable chains…
I seem to remember Taika Waititi wanting to do a flashback to Thor with a mullet and maybe this time he’ll actually do it.
On an unrelated note- he tweeted out the album cover for Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, probably in reference to a bunch of articles claiming he’ll be making a Star Wars movie after Love and Thunder.
But… Y’know who else is on the Heavy Metal soundtrack?
3. Fantasy Leanings
So, Jason Aaron was explicitly referenced at the SDCC panel. Kevin Feige went on to say that Waititi would flip through the run whilst shooting Ragnarok. If I were to guess, he was most likely reading the first two trades- Thunder in her Veins and Lords of Midgard which were out whilst Ragnarok was shooting. Both feature stopping Dario Agger from invading Alfheim.
Since Gorr the God Butcher’s power set was also an influence in the design of Hela, it seems likely Waititi also at least flipped through Aaron’s initial Thor run as well.
Now, obviously it’s not going to be a straight adaptation- none of the MCU movies are. However, I feel like Waititi wouldn’t have mentioned Aaron’s name if he wasn’t going to borrow other stuff from the run, not just Jane becoming Thor.
And if there’s one thing I think might have caught Waititi’s eye, it’s the louche aesthetic of the Light Elves. In Aaron’s pre-Jane Thor run, it’s a classic fantasy land, with trappings from cheesy faerie art you’d normally see up in a shop that sells crystals and smells like sandalwood all the time. By Jane’s run, with Russel Dauterman handling the art, its a castle that looks like what Georgia O’Keeffe sees on mushrooms.
If there’s anything more ridiculous than the Grand Master’s firework orgy ship, or a giant flaming sky anus- it’s a castle that looks like an enormous flower vagina. Again, it’s most likely this part of the run that Taika Waititi was reading, unless he was also reading the single issue. By which time we’d moved onto Jane teaming up with Roz Solomon and directly confronting Roxxon.
Seeing as Waititi had more success with cosmic trappings, I doubt we’ll be on Earth much, so I don’t think they’ll do too much with Roxxon. Which is a shame as I rather like this part of the arc.
I just have a feeling we’ll be closer not just to Heavy Metal as a whole- and it’s most iconic stories like Den and Taarna, but a more specifically eighties fantasy-based aesthetic than science-fantasy.
I’m thinking of movies like Krull, Hawk the Slayer, Beastmaster, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom and a splash of Jason and the Argonauts.
In fact, I think we might see some awesome looking fantasy monsters- space sharks, moss mammoths, fairies, unicorns, giant bats, white tigers with bat wings… Waititi did say it’ll be ‘bolder, louder, more bombastic’ than Ragnarok. Making a Heavy Metal influenced movie that dropped acid and read a DnD monster guide seems like that’d fit the bill just nicely.
(I really hope for an appearance by either Thori, Mr. Horse or Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder- I’m going to need at least one awesome Asgardian talking animal in the MCU at some point).
Speaking of Heavy Metal, one of the stories- Den- is about a nerdy teen scientist (voiced by John fucking Candy of all people) who accidentally builds a portal to a Conan-Esque fantasy world, that gives him a new muscular Conan body to match.
Who builds portals.
To a fantasy world.
AND GETS A NEW MUSCULAR BODY.
Speaking of which.
4. Jane’s Arc
No one is saying one way or another whether they will tackle the cancer arc or not. Waititi himself remained vague on the subject, stating that things could change even in post-production. This is pretty common in the MCU- the many many alternate scenes and dropped plot points from the Infinity Saga boxset are a testament to this.
He might be hedging his bets a little, which is fair, but… see… here’s the thing.
Now. I know this might sound a little weird, but… you really need to give my favorite character cancer.
It’s what made her story so affecting, tragic and triumphant. Adapting her story without it would be like Captain America without Bucky. Or Tony Stark without being taken, hostage. I mean, sure, they didn’t do it in the Avengers Assemble cartoon, but that was literally a cartoon for children *insert quip about the MCU having too many jokes*.
I feel like this movie needs it too. It might not play a big part of the main plot, but perhaps Jane is clearly hiding something (obviously we all know she’s Thor) but she’s not letting on about where she’s been for years. Then at the climax, the ‘all is lost moment’, Jane reveals/is revealed to have been suffering from cancer.
Thor Odinson is pissed that she never told him, that she dumped him so he couldn’t help her and doesn’t understand why she’d not ask him to take her to Asgard to heal her- but she is unapologetic. She gives the same reasons she gave in the comics- doesn’t trust magic, the price is too high.
Maybe she’s trapped in another world she can’t get back to earth, or maybe secretly she doesn’t want to, she’s resolved to die in a blaze of glory as Thor.
OR at least something else similar- if they aren’t doing cancer* then I think they might do something similar.
Still tragic, still human, but doesn’t have the same ticking clock.
I think they’re going to make her the new Donald Blake.
Instead of cancer, she had been in the car with her husband Keith and son Jimmy when it veered off the road (perhaps linked to the events of Infinity War and or Endgame?). The accident killed them both, but she survived- barely. After physical therapy, she now walks with a cane but suffers from chronic pain and limited mobility. She can tap the cane and KRAKOOM she’s Thor.
Either the cancer or the accident can be revealed at the end or even in an end-credits scene. Thor visiting Jane whilst she’s receiving chemo or somewhere peaceful where Jane is finally ready to talk about her loss. Both would be good to call back to similar moments Thor had in Ragnarok. Specifically ‘He’s a friend from work’ and Thor’s encounter with Odin on the peaceful cliff in Norway.
(You could also have Jason Aaron and Russel Dauterman in cameos as hospital workers just saying).
I know what you might be thinking- ‘Isn’t this all a bit heavy for a Taika Waititi Marvel movie? considering how light-hearted Ragnarok was?’
5. Taika Waititi will BRING THE FEELS
One thing I think people have missed about Waititi’s other movies is that he knows when to not make a joke. He’s actually very good at bittersweet moments.
I would say that he didn’t employ this in Ragnarok to the film’s detriment, but that’s just me.
My favorite film of his is Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which was the one he made before Ragnarok. It’s so good, dealing with grief, abandonment, trauma and finding a new family. It’s endlessly quotable- but there are moments that even on the fourth viewing have me crying.
Then there’s Boy, which not only has examinations of family dynamics, toxic masculinity, outsiders finding each other, poverty, understanding and coming to terms with loss- but it’s a difficult watch in places. It’s closer to Once Were Warriors than What We Do In the Shadows. It still has funny moments that don’t detract from the seriousness at all.
I’d skip Eagle vs Shark, to be honest. I hated it- one of the protagonists is such an unlikeable arsehole I was hoping he’d get slapped at least- but it did also have some brilliant moments I couldn’t look away from. It also deals with awkward relationships, family dynamics, toxic masculinity and… well, coming to terms with loss.
Sensing a pattern here.
And then there’s Jojo Rabbit. His Oscar winner.
I saw it at the London Jewish Film festival last year, in fact, it closed the event. I was interested to see how the audience would react- they were a largely Jewish audience, as well as respected critics and filmgoers- and… it seemed to go down well. I loved it but I wasn’t prepared for how many gut punches would land. One moment, in particular, set off a chain reaction of gasping and crying- including me. The teenage girl next to me was buried in her Mum’s arm and sobbing her eyes out.
So, do I think Taika Waititi can lay off the jokes? Duh, of course, he can. Even in a Marvel movie? Yup. I think so.
I am pretty sure he approached Ragnarok the way he approached What We Do In The Shadows– including the documentary asides- in that he didn’t want to take things too seriously just yet. Make it fun, endear himself to the audience. I think he maybe could’ve reigned it in?
Like, a lot?
But for Love and Thunder, I think there’s a good chance he will. I’m not saying it’ll be like Boy, but probably more like Wilderpeople where there’s some emotionality that’s entirely satisfying and appropriate. It’ll be peppered with the kind of almost reflexive humor we’ve come to expect from the MCU and Marvel in general. Warm-hearted, fun but with a touch of hope and bittersweetness.
I keep thinking about Guardians 1 and 2- both had some pretty intense moments that weren’t too offset by the jokes (though your mileage may vary) and it’ll be a bit more present in this one. Again, Waititi went out of his way to reference Aaron’s run, including the ‘emotional’ aspects of it- which often had bittersweet jokes or touching moments that made it so affecting.
Not saying we’re going full grimdark, but I honestly think there will be a bit more emotionality than Ragnarok. I mean, it is called Love and Thunder.
On a related note-
5 . 5 The Love Part
As much as it pains me to say this- I don’t think we’re going to see Thor and Jane getting back together. I think that as far as the MCU is concerned, their moment passed. That recently released alternate ending for The Dark World was possibly the best and most painful break up I’ve ever seen. How can you possibly come back from that? I know it’s not technically canon, but… it’s so satisfying an end I kind of want it to be? Well, that’s kind of a lie, I want them to be together and live happily ever after, but that’s not really an option.
I want to be wrong, obviously, but I just… doubt it.
That being said, I think we will have that Big Damn Kiss at some point in the movie.
I think they’re more likely to have them still loving each other, but one or neither of them being in the right place for a romantic relationship anymore. Maybe Thor still wants to be there for her, perhaps in a way that he wasn’t when they were actually together and decides to be her supportive friend.
Maybe when she’s going back to the hospital to kick cancer’s ass/finally come to terms with her son’s death/otherwise take time to heal? After all, Thor can relate. They can maybe heal each other.
Then there’s the promise of Valkyrie finding a Queen! If we’re going to take the word of Tessa Thompson and Kevin Feige, then we’ll see some actual LGBT representation in the MCU. Not a blink and you’ll miss it kiss or some rando in a support group. I am… skeptical. I’d love to be proven wrong, really, but… I’m not optimistic.
But let’s say we’re actually going to see some unequivocal queer romancing? Who’s going to be Valkyrie’s queen?
If they’re going to do something related to a fantasy setting, then meeting Queen Aelsa of Alfheim might be a good idea?
But the other option is possibly Sif- who hasn’t been seen for a while, but Jaime Alexander did pipe up on twitter to volunteer herself as a candidate for Queen and dropped the BIGGEST HINT on Instagram that she’s turning up as Sif in something. I think she’s the most likely candidate. I honestly think she’s due a return. Marvel seems to be at least attempting to give their female characters better arcs going forward and Sif is very deserving.
So… that’s some of the things I think we’ll see in Love and Thunder. Alright, the things I want to see in Love and Thunder but in my defense, I think I might be onto something here. We’ll see I guess.
We might get some answers once they actually start shooting in August.
Tell you what, if I’m even remotely right about any of this nonsense- I’ll get a Love and Thunder tattoo- a small heart and a lighting bolt, one on each bicep (though I might just do that anyway!) At least we have the Valkyrie: Jane Foster comic book series in the meantime which you should all be reading. Till then, I’ll just keep posting about it on twitter until y’all start muting me.
2021 looks like a long way off doesn’t it?
*Which, to be fair, was also a way for Jason Aaron to end the series if it didn’t go well… which it did. So she got her very own mini-event and died in a literal blaze of glory, before becoming Valkyrie.