Thor, in addition to being the son of Odin and an Avenger, is also a god. He is, of course, the God of Thunder. His divinity seems like it could be a problem in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, because the villain of the next entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is named Gorr the God Butcher.
In Love and Thunder, which hits theaters on July 8, Gorr will be played by Christian Bale—making his first appearance in a superhero movie since The Dark Knight Rises came out in 2012. As seen in the second trailer, he’s a pale, chalky white humanoid with orange eyes, a sword, and a vendetta against the gods.
“The only ones who gods care about is themselves,” he says in the trailer. “So this is my vow: All gods will die.”
Who is Gorr and why does he hate gods so much? Unlike many villains from Marvel Comics, Gorr the God Butcher doesn’t have decades of history to untangle as the character made his comics debut only a few years ago. However, this being comics, that debut story involves some time travel so it is, of course, just a little complicated.
Who Is Gorr the God Butcher?
Gorr made his debut in the first arc of writer Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribić’s acclaimed Thor: God of Thunder comic series in 2012. The storyline, which takes place across three timelines that eventually converge, introduces the God Butcher to the Marvel Universe and reveals his long and involved history with Thor.
Long ago, Gorr was an alien living on a desolate planet plagued by famine, natural disaster, and all sorts of horrors that made life inhospitable. Despite this, the people of the planet devoutly prayed to gods who never acknowledged—let alone helped—them. Gorr eventually lost faith in the gods entirely after the agonizing deaths of his family, but one day a miracle happens: Two dueling gods fell from the sky and landed, severely injured, in a crater in front of him. When one of these gods had the audacity to ask Gorr for help, he snapped. Gorr grabbed the other god’s sword and cut down the god. It would be the first of many he would butcher.
Armed with the powerful, shape-shifting sword known as All-Black, the Necrosword, Gorr went about slaughtering gods throughout the galaxy until, in 893 A.D., he encountered a young Thor in Iceland. Thor, who at this point was not yet worthy of holding Mjölnir, was hanging out with Vikings and enjoying the perks of being a god. After almost getting himself killed, Thor is able to, with the help of some mortal Vikings, defeat the God Butcher. However, Gorr does not die, but instead is inspired to take his God Butchering to new levels rather than just killing them one by one.
In the present day of the Marvel Universe, Thor realizes that gods are once again being killed. He sets off on a mission to figure out what’s happening, and eventually is reunited with a much more ambitious Gorr. He has been killing gods and harvesting their blood to travel to the end of time (forcing the gods of time to do his bidding under the threat of death). Some gods he keeps alive but enslaves so that they can toil away building The Godbomb, a twisted weapon that, when activated, will kill every god, everywhere, at every point of existence.
Thanks to the time travel, present-day Thor finds himself with the Young Icelandic Thor from Gorr’s past. They’re joined by a future version of Thor who has, as King of Asgard, been fighting off Gorr for 900 years because the God Butcher wanted Thor, who bested him once ages ago, to be the last god to fall. The trio is only able to defeat Gorr when he realizes, with horror, that he has effectively become a god—the very thing he hates. He is weakened enough by this realization, and the onslaught of the two older Thors, that Young Thor is able to cut his head off.
Gorr was, as gods are wont to be, resurrected. In the 2019 series King Thor, which starred the older future version of Thor seen in Gorr’s debut arc, he’s brought back to life by an evil future version of Loki, but he quickly goes rogue and fuses with his sword, All-Black. He transcends godhood to become a force of nature, though he is eventually reduced to an amnesiac mortal being by the end of the arc. It’s a good read, but it’s likely that the choicest cuts of the God Butcher’s story will be pulled from that initial comic arc.
What Will Gorr Be Like in Love and Thunder?
Love and Thunder seems to be heavily borrowing from Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder comic run, which lasted for seven years. There’s a shot in the trailer that’s basically an exact, detail-for-detail copy of an illustration Ribić drew of Thor overlooking the giant corpse of one of Gorr’s victims. Jane Foster (Nathalie Portman) picked up the mantle of Thor in the pages of God of Thunder, so the film is clearly drawing from the series as a whole.
However, this being the MCU, there will of course be some differences. Jane Foster wasn’t involved in the God Butcher arc in the comics, and there are a host of MCU-specific characters or events—like King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) or Thor hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy—that weren’t part of the comics. And, it seems unlikely that Love and Thunder will have the same ending with multiple versions of Thor. (It would be the third MCU movie in a row to prominently feature alternate versions of the same character, so perhaps we’re due for a break.)
Still, Gorr’s basic backstory—a man with a vendetta against all gods because they didn’t answer the prayers of the people who needed and believed in them is strong stuff, and you can easily see it slotting into the MCU.
Gorr looks a little different in the movie than in the comics, as he’s more alien on the page, sporting extra tentacles on his head. The MCU version, on the other hand, looks like a gaunt, black and white Christian Bale. His blade is different, too. In the trailer, it appears to be a nondescript longsword, while in the comic it’s an amorphous gooey black blade. (It would later be revealed that All-Black is the first ever Symbiote—the slimy black stuff that the Spider-Man villain Venom is made of. Given the complicated film rights ownership split between Marvel Studios and Sony, it seems extremely doubtful that this will be the case in Love and Thunder, especially as All-Black being a symbiote was not at all a factor in Gorr’s first comic appearance.) The movie version of Gorr also appears to be able to create inky black minions, named Black Berserkers, to do his bidding, just as in the comics.
We will see for sure what aspects of Gorr made it off the chopping block when Thor: Love and Thunder premieres on July 8. The God of Thunder had better be ready, though. And, while there’s no evidence whatsoever that the mostly standalone Disney+ series Moon Knight will have any crossover with the Thor sequel… all those Egyptian gods might want to look over their shoulder.
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