There have been many theories on how many of the original actors, whose trilogy have ended, would remain in the MCU beyond the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Thor, Iron Man and Captain America have finished their respective stories before they were forced to confront Thanos and are now approaching an unknown future. After ten years, there is a sense of finality for many of the core characters. We do have some new ones that will continue the legacy of the MCU with Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and Black Panther but it would be odd to see all of the original Avengers just vanish after being so dominant throughout the first ten years. This is why I have a theory that from the main Marvel trinity that consists of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, it’s the Asgardian king that will have one more adventure beyond Avengers 4.
Odinson, King of Nothing
Thor might have had the strangest arc amongst the MCU’s characters. In Thor, he was promised to become king and take over the throne from his father. Yet, through his own arrogance and a bit of toying by Loki he ended up banished to learn about humility on earth. Thor: The Dark World taught him about sacrifice and making him decide on his own that what he seeks is beyond his own family duties. He decided against ruling Asgard and returned to Jane Foster, but not realising he left his brother behind to rule the nine realms. After going on a quest searching for the Infinity Stones, he had to face the death of his father, the return of his evil sister, let Surtur destroy his home and head off into space in Thor: Ragnarok. Now, he finally became the true king of Asgard, or at least what was left of it.
All this led to one of Avengers: Infinity War‘s most emotional moments. Rocket sat down with Thor where he confessed to the fact that he has nothing left. He lost his mother to a Dark Elf, his father’s life evaporated into nothing, his evil sister was presumably killed by Surtur, and Thanos killed his brother before his very eyes alongside half of his people. At this point in his life, he may have nothing left and so his only goal is to take his revenge on Thanos for what he did. His revenge path brought him new friends and let him see long lost ones as well but in the end, he still lost. Whatever happens in Avengers 4, there probably won’t be much time to finish whatever his arc has become at this point. Right now, he is the king of nothing.
A Guiding Light(ning)
The future of the Avengers seems bleak at the moment. Many core members are going to face the end of their stories, as contracts are coming to an end. Many future members were turned to dust after Thanos’ actions in Infinity War. While it seems clear that they will return, it still signals the end of an era. The next generation might need some help, as they learn the ropes of what it means to be an Avenger. Would it not be fitting that the man who needs to learn to become king gets his first glimpse at his new responsibilities as he trains a new generation of heroes. He will be a supporting player at the beginning of the franchise’s new direction. It also helps for him to find his place once again after the events of Avengers 4 before his unfinished arc is brought back to the foreground.
Perhaps we could get a Young Avengers film that will jumpstart the post-Avengers 4 era. Here, Thor takes over a similar role that Tony had in Spider-Man: Homecoming. We have seen him as a rather goofy character in Ragnarok but Infinity War gaves us a broken man. Seeing him vent everything he had gone through into helping a new generation would be a great way to give him some hope for a brighter future. He could be a supporting character throughout a few films that would point to what he has been doing during his “free time” and build up to Thor‘s fourth film.
We got a glimpse at a story about a young man forced to learn about what it means to be king. He has recently lost his father and is faced with a brand new future at a time his people need him the most. That premise was what we got in Black Panther, as T’Challa has to take control over Wakanda after losing his father. Shortly after, he is faced by an outsider who claims his right to the throne. Now, this storyline would have made sense for the first MCU prince. Thor: Ragnarok actually has some minor elements that do feature this story arc. Thor loses his father, has to protect his home from an outsider who wants to take back what they believe is theirs and figure out his role among his own people. He only takes over the throne at the end of the film, but it all ends up leading into the opening of Avengers: Infinity War in which which he ends up losing whatever was left.
A Black Panther sequel is inevitable and it will continue to focus on T’Challa’s reign as king. So, the problem is that Thor’s potential storylines would already be told by another superhero. At first, this would point to his presence beyond Avengers 4 as being rather pointless. Yet, there is a very important arc that has yet to be told. Thor has nothing left and while Phase 3 was all about losses, he still has something he needs to regain. Ragnarok hinted at him wanting to rebuild their empire on earth, which would be an interesting way to shake up the MCU’s earth. It would be great to see him rebuild his lost home on earth while facing one last remnant of the former Ragnarok. The MCU has been very flexible with how it handles Norse mythology but one element of Thor’s mythological background that has always been very prominent has still not been told and would make for a perfect bookend to his arc. Thor’s death at the hands of the Midgard Serpent.
A Serpent’s Wrath
The Midgard Serpent is one important element that Marvel Studios can make use of to truly bring Thor’s tale to an end. The themes in every Thor film have been tied to the Odinsons and their legacy. Thor featured the backlash of Odin keeping the truth from Loki after the peace treaty with Laufey. Bor’s war with the Dark Elves was the focus of Thor: The Dark World. Then they meet their long lost sibling Hela in Ragnarok. And when Surtur devastated Asgard to its core, the fate of everything the All-Father had built was left (literally) in the air.
The newly appointed king will have a lot on his hands rebuilding his kingdom but will also face a new challenge. Bor’s second son, Cul Borson. The man once known as the Serpent returns to Asgard only to find it in flames. Dissatisfied with his brother’s family letting their kingdom get destroyed at the hands of Surtur, he makes his way out into the known galaxy to find the one responsible and rebuild Asgard in his own image. This sets up the main storyline as the confrontation becomes about where the future of Asgard lies. Two different visions will face off against each other. After many battles with his friends at his side, he might have to accept that maybe none of their visions are right. He makes the ultimate sacrifice to stop the Serpent. He repents upon his past and takes his last steps while knowing that Asgard lives on. He is finally at peace, taught a new generation of heroes to keep the memories of his friends alive and his death brought Asgard back together. Finally, his arc comes to an end as the franchise moves towards an unknown future.