Who Will Christian Bale Play in 'Thor: Love and Thunder'?
There’s a storm coming, and Christian Bale is right in the thick of it. While that line is closely associated with his role of Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Bale is trading in one storm for another, along with one comic book franchise for another. As we learned yesterday, Bale is in talks to join the cast of Thor: Love and Thunder. The fourth film in Marvel Studios’ Thor franchise sees Thor: Ragnarok (2017) director Taika Waititi return, along with castmembers Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, as Thor and Valkyrie respectively. Most exciting is that they will be joined by Natalie Portman, who has not reprised her role as Jane Foster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Thor: The Dark World (2013). Said to draw inspiration from Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s run on The Mighty Thor, Foster will harness the powers of the God of Thunder and will become a new version of Thor in the film.
So with a new Thor, a new leader of Asgard in the form of Valkyrie, and the Odinson on a quest to find his place in the universe, where does Bale fit into all of this? There’s early speculation that he’ll be playing the film’s villain, but there’s also potential for new and fan-favorite allies in this fourth Thor installment, especially if our heroes are looking for love among the stars. Here are a few guesses for likely characters worthy of Christian Bale’s talent.
Heat Vision breakdown
Beta Ray Bill
A character oft-requested by fans, the alien super-soldier of the Korbinite race was the first hero outside of the gods to prove worthy of lifting Mjolnir. While Thor and Beta Ray Bill originally began as adversaries, they soon became frequent allies and friends. Bill was granted his own hammer courtesy of Odin, Stormbreaker, which possess similar powers to Mjolnir. Creator Walt Simonson envisioned Bill as a kind of alien everyman, whose strange and equine-like appearance would throw readers off from his noble and honorable nature.
Bill was originally set to appear in Thor: Ragnarok but was cut due to time, with producer Kevin Feige noting that he hoped the character could be introduced in the future. You can still catch a glimpse of Bill, in statue form, outside the Grandmaster’s palace. Beta Ray Bill certainly has the kind of interesting visual properties that would seem to entice Waititi, and there’s the matter of his sentient ship, the Skuttlebutt, which could serve as another off-beat character in the film. Although it would certainly be interesting to see Bale made unrecognizable under prosthetics or CGI, we wonder if Beta Ray Bill’s inclusion would perhaps be too many hammer wielding heroes, and too disparate from Jane’s arc to be given its due in this movie. Beta Ray Bill’s arrival in the MCU seems inevitable, but we’re not sure Love and Thunder is the place for it.
Balder the Brave
Another long-standing ally of Thor’s is Balder the Brave. Thor’s half-brother (which wasn’t revealed until much later), one of the best warriors in all realms and one-time ruler of Asgard and later Hel, Balder has been a part of the Marvel Universe almost as long as Thor. He is known for his frayed relationship with Karnilla, Queen of the Norns, and for the fact that his death is the thing that triggers Ragnarok. Hela trapped him in Hel for a time, forcing him to once again slay the tens of thousands of enemies he’d killed in his long lifetime. The experience freed him from Hel, but turned his hair white and left him in the grips of an unyielding depression. Following that, Balder was accompanied by the Warriors Three who pulled Balder out of the darkness and reigniting his adventurous spirit.
Bale definitely has the looks for Balder, but unfortunately he seems like a character who should have been introduced much earlier in the franchise. It’s possible that his connection to Hela and Ragnarok could be circumvented, especially if focus were to be placed on his bad romance with Karnilla, but then once we consider that The Warriors Three were so hastily dispatched of in Ragnarok there’s little left to tie Balder to his comic book counterpart. Plus, the decision to make Hela Thor’s sister in Ragnarok, rather than Loki’s daughter as she is in the comics, makes any more secret siblings seem difficult to pull off. That goes for Thor’s other brother, Tyr, as well.
Gorr, the God Butcher
One of the best, and most complex, new villains in Marvel Comics, Gorr served as the opening adversary in Jason Aaron’s Thor run, and the God of Thunder’s final enemy in the current King Thor miniseries that concludes the seven year storyline. An alien from an unknown planet, Gorr’s life was marked by tragedy early on when his mother, wife, and children all died, despite his prayers to any god out there listening. Believed to be cursed and exiled from his Tribe, Gorr came across two gods fallen in combat, one of whom held All-Black, the Necrosword, the first symbiote made forged in the head of a dead celestial. Gorr then sets out on an eons long quest to find all the gods across the universe and murder them for their selfishness and failure of their worshippers.
Essentially a serial killer for deities, Gorr could prove to be an incredibly adversary for an Odinson struggling with his identity and the question of what worthiness means. It was Gorr’s actions that rendered Thor unworthy in the comics and unable to lift Mjolnir, leading Jane Foster to possess the hammer. Bale seems like a likely candidate for the role and there’s little doubt he could bring an immense sense of suffering to the role of the villain. “The God Butcher” storyline is one that seems perfectly made for film, but not necessarily perfect for Waititi. As is clear from the title, and Waititi’s decision to make Ragnarok a comedy, Love and Thunder doesn’t seem like the best place to grapple with serious concerns about the roles of gods in the universe, and Jane Foster’s own atheism that ties these arcs of Aaron’s run together. Bale would make the perfect Gorr, but Waititi doesn’t seem like the guy to do him justice or to even be interested in his specific kind of thematic weight.
Another recent villain from Jason Aaron’s Thor run, Dario Agger is the CEO of Roxxon Energy Corporation. Oh, and he also turns into a giant, bloodthirsty Minotaur thanks to a pact he made as a child with a dark god. A pompous prick in every way, Agger is all about the money, and would gladly destroy the world if it paid well and he was able to move his investments in time. One of the central villains during Jane Foster’s tenure as Thor, Agger joined with the Dark Elf Malekith to ensure the War of the Realms, and is currently running afoul of the Immortal Hulk.
If I were a betting man, I’d put all my chips down on Agger being the role Bale is being sought for. There are, of course, the parallels of between Agger and Bruce Wayne, two orphans who made a pact with something they didn’t fully understand in order to wage a war of fear. And both are filthy rich, though Agger uses none of his wealth for altruism. Maybe Agger runs a little too close to Patrick Bateman from American Psycho (2000) as well, but again that may be why Bale is being sought, so that he might revisit that character type through a different lens. Plus, a guy who turns into a giant minotaur certainly seems up Waititi’s alley of weird. And there’s the fact that Thor has never faced a corporation before in any of his film appearances. Given the man-made climate change that currently affecting Hemsworth’s home of Australia with devastating wildfires, Agger and Roxxon couldn’t be more topical. With Jane Foster hailing from Earth, an Earthbound adversary also makes sense for her opening salvo as Thor.
Roxxon has shown up on trucks and advertisements in all three Iron Man movies, and played a significant role in Agent Carter, assuming that series is canon. And as one of Marvel Comics’ biggest threats, even more so now given the state of the world, it’s time for their evils in the MCU to be exposed in full. Agger may be the least known character on this list, but he is arguably the character most fitting for Thor’s next chapter and Waititi’s direction.
Thor: Love and Thunder is expected to start production late this summer, and we doubt we’ll have to wait long to see which role Bale has landed.
by the Associated Press