Christian Bale Might Be Making His Marvel Debut In The Next Thor Film
When Thor first made his debut in 2011, audiences were quick to champion the mjolnir-wielding Norse god. The character quickly became one of Marvel’s most successful, spawning a number of films and catapulting Chris Hemsworth into another tier of fame that even eludes some of Hollywood’s most long-standing veterans of film.
But it was the third film, Thor: Ragnarok, that changed everything for both the Marvel character and its actor. Directed by Taika Waititi, the superhero’s third go-around proved to be the most entertaining yet, injecting a fresh sense of humour into the franchise and allowing Hemsworth to invest more in the character. Thor became more expansive, more dimensional and for audiences, this led many to claim the film was not just the best Thor film, but potentially even the best from Marvel, too.
Not surprisingly, Waititi has become something of a hot commodity in Hollywood. In his native New Zealand, the man should practically have a landmark erected in his honour. Films like Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Jojo Rabbit, have showcased the humour that seems intrinsic to New Zealanders as well as the beauty of its natural landscapes.
Thor may have commanded a bigger budget for the star director, but Waititi leaned all the way into its production with the same humour that made him a household name in New Zealand, and now the world. Audiences couldn’t get enough of the idiosyncratic wit the director brought to the film, which amassed close to $US854 million worldwide and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93 per cent. Given the overly critical nature of audiences these days, that’s about as sure to a universal ‘thumbs-up’ of approval as you can warrant.
It comes as good news then that the director will write and direct the follow up to the 2017 blockbuster, with The Hollywood Reporter announcing he has signed up to helm the next installment, later confirmed by Disney to be called Thor: Love and Thunder. Chris Hemsworth is also expected to reprise his career-defining role as the Asgardian god of thunder.
The announcement was unexpected, as both Hemsworth and Waititi have been busy lining up other projects. With Waititi taking up the fourth installment of the Marvel franchise, it doesn’t bode particularly well for Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Japanese manga, Akira. Originally expected to be released in May of 2021, the project has since been put on pause indefinitely as the production dates seemed to clash with Love and Thunder. It’s unclear what will happen with Akira, which has already suffered delays and could, as so often happens in Hollywood, be shelved altogether.
That doesn’t bode well for fans hoping to see the live-action remake of the Japanese manga show, but it does see Hemsworth and Waititi team up once again – and we all know how great this pairing is.
Where Hemsworth seemed destined to always play the handsome, rugged heartthrob with the action chops to match, Waititi allowed him to break free of the mould and express more of his personality. He proved to audiences that he has a penchant for comedy, and certainly delivered a film that leaned into the hilarity that lasers, sci-fi cheesiness and an ‘80s-themed soundtrack all-too-easily conjure.
Now, it seems as if the film will feature an iconic character played by an even more iconic superhero actor. Reports now suggest that Christian Bale, who put in one of the 21st century's era-defining performances as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy, could be in line to join Team Marvel and take on the mantle of heroic monster Beta Ray Bill. Collider reported exclusively that Bale was in talks to join the cast, which already includes the aforementioned Hemsworth alongside Tessa Thompson.
Beta Ray Bill, for context, first appeared in the Thor comic back in the early '80s, taking on the form of a brutish Korbinite alien who turns out to be a great hero. He's even capable of wielding Mjolnir, and has a hammer of his own, Stormbreaker, that boasts powers to rival that of Thor's legendary weapon.
We'll be sure to bring you more news on the project as it surfaces. Thor: Love and Thunder will hit cinemas in November 2021.