Could Thor Become Marvel's New Elder Statesman?

Thor Odinson is the only Phase 1 hero that is still being granted solo projects during Marvel’s current Phase 4, an impressive feat given that the other Phase 1 characters have been killed off or are being placed in backseat roles to make room for new heroes. Additionally, Thor is also the only MCU hero thus far to have surpassed the typical three-film threshold granted to most big-name heroes, making Thor: Love and Thunder a big deal for multiple reasons.

Thor has played a massive part in almost all the MCU’s major team-up films, with Captain America: Civil War being the only exception. Thor was present for all four Avengers movies, and has been on a journey to better himself since fans first met him in the original 2011 Thor film. With his new movie on the horizon, what does this mean for the future of the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

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Once driven by violence and the desire to rule with an iron fist, Thor taught the God of Thunder a lesson in benevolence and diplomacy, thanks to his banishment at the hands of his father. In order to be deemed worthy of both Mjolnir and the Asgardian throne, Thor needed to prove that he was capable of thinking logically and unselfishly, which he accomplished in the first film of the series. In subsequent years, Thor faced loss for the very first time, beginning with the death of his mother in Thor: The Dark World. He also lost his father, his home, and his brother. Fans know that the latter still alive thanks to Loki, but Thor has yet to become aware of this.

Thor: Ragnarok also taught Thor that his true power doesn’t come from his ability to wield an enchanted hammer, but from within himself. This lesson in particular was a major stepping stone in Thor’s development, because he no longer judged his worthiness on magical objects or the validation of others. Now, based on what fans have seen so far in the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer, Thor will be branching out from his origins even further. He is now going on a mission to discover who he is as a person, not a god or a king.

All in all, Thor has experienced high points and low points, celebrated victories and suffered through losses, while simultaneously finding himself and doing what’s best for others. He’s proven himself to be a good leader on numerous occasions, which sometimes includes stepping down as a leader altogether, because he knows that people take precedence over power.

With speculation from fans about the Young Avengers being assembled, these new heroes are going to need a leader. A lot of them are lacking in experience. Some have just joined the superhero lifestyle, like Kate Bishop; others are just starting to understand what it means to be one of the good guys, like Yelena Belova. Now that Thor has relinquished his position as King of Asgard, serving as a pseudo-leader or advisor for these young heroes might be what helps Thor find his new purpose in life.

Having once been part of the new recruits that launched the Avengers initiative, Thor understands what it takes to work as a team, even when the team in question can’t always see eye to eye. The Thor: Love and Thunder trailer hints at him forming even more alliances, now that he’s gallivanting the galaxy with the Guardians, so it shouldn’t be a challenge for him to show these new heroes what teamwork is all about. Given the otherworldly level of knowledge Thor has about the superhero lifestyle, now would be the perfect time for him to step in and take charge, as far as Marvel’s new heroes are concerned. Not only was Thor part of the greatest alliances in MCU history, he was also given the opportunity to learn about leadership from both his father and his fellow Avengers.

Despite their differences, Steve and Tony always managed to pull themselves together when it came time to save the world, and they each proved to be good team leaders for different reasons. Working under the guidance of Captain America and Iron Man surely taught Thor a thing or two about rallying people together to fight for the greater good. Thanks to the lessons he’s learned throughout his personal storyline, in combination with everything he’s been through the last decade or so with the Avengers, Thor is arguably one of the most well-rounded characters in the MCU. His vast knowledge and long life experience would make him the perfect candidate for Marvel’s new elder statesmen, especially since he’s made a good name for himself over the last few years.

The events of Thor: Love and Thunder will surely dictate where he goes next on his journey, and he might even realize that he’s ready to live a peaceful life away from the responsibilities that come with being a superhero. However, given how much work has gone into his character, Marvel Studios would be wasting all the potential Thor has left if they retire him like the rest of the Phase 1 heroes.

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Julie Elizabeth Weyant (131 Articles Published)

Feature writer and avid Marvel fan

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