Marvel Comics are weird. There are Devil Dinosaurs, Moon Boys, ducks named Howard, homeless D-Men, and Mechanized Organisms Designed Only for Killing (M.O.D.O.K. to his friends, and don’t ask about B.R.O.D.O.K.). Once upon a time, we would have said they were too weird — you gotta remember that most people met The Punisher directly on video when the skull emblem on his chest was deemed too idiosyncratic — but Iron Man obliterated Hollywood’s stuck-up sense of authenticity and reminded the suits that suspension of disbelief is their game.
In the same year when The Dark Knight scored its cash by dragging Batman into Michael Mann’s kind of gritty, recognizable reality, the Marvel Cinematic Universe laughed at its growl and eventually gave us space gods and Rocket Raccoon. Once the world accepted Thor, all bets were off. Howard the Duck could return, and Doctor Strange could wage his Groundhog’s Day war against Dormammu inside the Dark Dimension. B.R.O.D.O.K., your chances are looking pretty good.
Whenever we feel the MCU has fallen into a reliable rhythm, along comes a film like Thor: Ragnarok to shake things up. While many of the Marvel films reek of their director’s vision, none do so more than the third Thor, with Taika Waititi infusing his off-kilter, comedic sensibilities into the Nine Realms without forgetting to celebrate the majestically strange already baked into the comics. For those believing Waititi could not possibly sink any further down Marvel’s blackhole mythology, think again.
Taking to his Instagram account, Waititi led a discussion with Tessa Thompson and Mark Ruffalo about their experiences working together and also gifted a few teasers of what we can expect from the upcoming fourth Thor installment, Thor: Love and Thunder. We already know that the sequel will feature Christian Bale in an unspecified villain role, Thompson’s King Valkyrie is questing for her queen, and Natalie Portman is returning as Dr. Jane Foster, who will transform into The Mighty Thor herself. Waititi promised that the sequel will be “so over-the-top” and much weirder.
How is that possible? Space sharks. Yep, Waititi confirmed during his discussion on Instagram that these dastardly cosmic swimmers will appear at some point during Love and Thunder. He recognizes a cool image when he sees it, and he doesn’t care how silly your adult brain may think space sharks are. Rad is rad.
But here’s the thing. Space sharks, or Star Sharks as they’re officially known in the comics (sometimes one word: Starsharks), could reveal the identity of Bale’s villain role. While they have been around since the early ’80s (appearing first in The Uncanny X-Men #162), the Star Sharks of late have featured prominently in writer Jason Aaron‘s run of Thor. These animals are ravenous and are known to orbit Gorr the God Butcher’s world, feeding off the corpses of deities that the villain flings into space.
If we’re talking Thor and Star Sharks, then we gotta be talking Gorr, and many have already speculated that Bale would look mighty fine covered in a mo-cap suit and wielding All-Black the Necrosword (a vicious weapon that looks very similar to the blade carried by Hela in Ragnarok, which also has ties to the origin of Venom). When he was young, Gorr lost his parents to starvation, and he was left to fend for himself. He married and sired children, but those that didn’t also starve to death were killed in a horrendous earthquake.
On the brink of despair, Gorr witnessed a clash of gods who fell from space. The knowledge that such beings existed erupted a great rage in his soul. Consumed with hate, Gorr made it his life’s work to hunt down all creatures who dared to call themselves gods. The Mighty Thor became his most wanted target.
Gorr is a perfect foil for Thor, especially for a Thor coming off the pain and agony of Avengers: Endgame. Having just spent a half-decade plagued by doubt, coming face-to-face with a soured wretch like Gorr, who blames deities like Thor for the senseless deaths of billions who perish every day in the universe, Thor will be forced to confront his inaction as a god. We may look at him as an alien, but he certainly struts about like a supreme being.
How can you call yourself a god when there is so much misery in the galaxy? How do you rationalize such a thought process? It’s all very heavy stuff, but that’s why we’ve got Taika Waititi at the helm, to balance the crushing drama with space sharks.