Thor has been through a lot. The character first appeared in the 2011 film that bears his name, played by a lovably oafish Chris Hemsworth doing his best Shakespearean accent.
As the MCU has rolled on, various directors have reinterpreted the Asgardian hero as everything from a tragic protagonist to a goofy fish-out-of-water.
However, audiences fell in love with the version of the character seen in Thor: Ragnarok, his third solo outing. The Taika Waititi-directed film introduced audiences to a free-wheeling version of the Marvel universe that felt at once like a throwback to Jack Kirby’s cosmic storytelling and an embrace of modern comedic styles.
The fourth Thor solo entry sees Waititi back in the director’s chair, and the trailer suggests it will follow the pattern set up in Ragnarok. The third Thor outing saw the hero ranging all over the galaxy, fighting in the gladiatorial pits of Sakaar and defending Asgard from his murderous sister, Hela.
The film left plenty of room for jokes between action set-pieces, but the humor never undercut the drama. Waititi is a master of using ridiculous situations to underscore character motivations. The Love and Thunder trailer suggests that the fourth Thor outing will return to this rich comedic vein.
Spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame follow in the next section.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor teamed up with the Guardians of the Galaxy after abdicating the throne of Asgard. This leaves Valkyrie in charge of New Asgard, the Scandinavian home of the surviving Asgardians.
By joining up with the Guardians, Thor sets out as a space drifter on a quest to find out who he really is. The new trailer underscores this, with the hero noting that he’s given up the superhero business and plans to just wander the cosmos instead.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the new trailer is the brief glimpse it offers of Jane Foster’s take on the classic Thor persona. In the comics, Jane becomes “Thor” after she picks up the hammer Mjolnir and is imbued with the power of the Thunder God.
Seeing Natalie Portman return to the role after sitting out the last few MCU outings is a treat. Fans will get to see more of this new take on The Mighty Thor when Love and Thunder hits theaters on July 8.