Thor recap: What happened in the other MCU films?

·10-min read
Chris Hemsworth's Thor - his MCU story so far. (Marvel Studios)
Chris Hemsworth's Thor - his MCU story so far. (Marvel Studios)

Thor: Love and Thunder hits IMAX and UK cinemas on 7 July, so it’s time to go hammer and tong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Taiki Waititi hopes lighting will strike twice. As a sequel to 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder is back in action and ready for another trip across the Nine Realms.

The return of some familiar faces means we get more of Thor’s new place as an honorary member of the Asgardians of the Galaxy and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie ruling over New Asgard.

Making their long-awaited MCU returns, we’ve also got Jaimie Alexander’s Lady Sif and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) flexing her muscles as Thor’s former beau.

Read more: First Thor 4 reactions hail 'electrifying' sequel

Thor's latest foe is Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher, but having faced Frost Giants, Dark Elves, the Goddess of Death, and a certain Mad Titan, he's been through a lot.

If you need a refresher, it’s time to jump on the Bifrost to see what you missed over the past 11 years.

Thor (2011)

Thor,
Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor & Tom Hiddleston as Loki,
© 2011 MARVEL.
2011's Thor, starring Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Chris Hemsworth as Thor. (Marvel Studios)

Chris Hemsworth won a hard-fought battle with a number of actors to land the role of Marvel's Mighty Thor after initially being turned down for the film by Marvel boss Kevin Feige. Other contenders included his brother Liam Hemsworth, Kevin McKidd, Alexander Skarsgård, Joel Kinnaman, and Tom Hiddleston.

Read more: Every upcoming MCU movie

Hemsworth would wield Mjolnir for the first time in Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 Thor. During a time of peace in the Nine Realms, Thor manages to rattle the Dark Elves and lets his arrogance get the better of him. Deemed unworthy of his hammer (Mjolnir), Thor’s enraged father casts him out of Asgard and into the middle of the New Mexico desert.

Thor,
Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor & Natalie Portman as Jane Foster,
© 2011 MARVEL.
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Thor, Chris Hemsworth as Thor. (Marvel Studios)

After crash landing on Earth (known as Midgard to the Asgardians), Thor befriends astrophysicist Jane Foster. Also along for the ride are Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and comedic intern, Darcy (Kat Dennings). Back on Asgard, Odin takes a nap known as the Odinsleep, which allows Thor’s adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to take the throne.

Read more: Who is Natalie Portman's Jane Foster?

Learning that he’s actually the son of Frost Giant Laufey, Loki uses his new-found power to send a giant robot known as the Destroyer to kill Thor. At the same time, he kills Laufey as a way to justify destroying the Frost Giant realm of Jotenheim.

Thor,
Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor & Anthony Hopkins as Odin,
© 2011 MARVEL.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor & Anthony Hopkins as Odin. (Marvel Studios)

Thor becomes worthy again, grabs his hammer, and returns to Asgard in time to beat his brother. Loki seemingly falls to his death, and the movie’s post-credit scene features Nick Fury at a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility examining the mysterious Tesseract.

Avengers Assemble (2012)

Avengers Assemble (2012)

Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Scarlett Johansson - Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

© Disney Media Distribution
Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in Avengers Assemble. (Marvel Studios)

Uniting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for the first time, it’s revealed that Loki faked his death (get used to it). He's planning to take over Earth using the Tesseract and a race of alien monsters known as the Chitauri. Loki uses his sceptre to brainwash Selvig and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and with the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility destroyed, Fury activates the Avengers Initiative.

When Loki is captured, Thor returns to the scene and attempts to free him in hope of subduing his brother. Thor joins the Avengers on a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, but it’s just another ruse from the God of Mischief.

Avengers Assemble (2012)

Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Chris Evans - Steve Rogers / Captain America

© Disney Media Distribution
Thor and Captain America during the Battle of New York. (Marvel Studios)

Despite their differences, the Avengers take on Loki in the climactic Battle of New York and he’s pummelled by Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

Read more: The actors who have appeared in the most MCU movies

Things end when Thor takes Loki back to Asgard to face their own justice. Teasing the future of the MCU, it turns out the events of The Avengers are put into play by Thanos (but more on him later).

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) - Thor: The Dark World (Marvel Studios)
Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) - Thor: The Dark World (Marvel Studios)

Although Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World gets a bad rep, it puts some major pieces in place for Thor and the wider MCU. It’s here that we get our first real glimpse of the Infinity Stones thanks to the Aether as the Reality Stone. An upcoming event known as the Convergence will open a portal between the Nine Realms. Heimdall (Idris Elba) is worried that he can no longer see Jane Foster, so Thor goes to find her on Earth.

Jane has been infected by the Aether and is taken to Asgard, which draws out Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston). When Thor’s mother, Frigga (Renne Russo), refuses to reveal where Foster is, Malekith slays her in cold blood. Loki and Thor unite to take vengeance on Malekith, and when the Aether is drawn out of Jane, Thor tries to use Mjolnir to destroy it. During the fracas, Loki seemingly sacrificed himself.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) - Thor: The Dark World (Marvel Studios)
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) - Thor: The Dark World (Marvel Studios)

The Convergence is focused in London, as Thor and the Asgardians fight Malekith’s forces. Thor manages to force Malekith back to Svartalfheim, who is crushed by his own ship. Thor returns to Asgard, where he is welcomed by Odin and offered the throne.

Read more: The story of Loki so far

Thor once again denies his father’s request, but in one final twist, Odin is revealed as Loki in disguise. The Aether is taken to the Collector (Benicio del Toro), because with the Tesseract on Asgard, it would be unwise to have two Infinity Stones so close.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers... already back in the saddle for the fourth movie - Credit: Disney
Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron. (Marvel Studios)

The Avengers are back in action, and this time, their ranks are a bit bigger. Thor takes a more supporting role while the heroes battle against the superpowered Maximoff twins, HYDRA, and a rogue version of Tony Stark’s AI. The rotten robot called Ultron finds a body and intends to wipe out all human life by slamming the land of Sokovia into Earth.

Ultron is one of the few worthy of lifting Thor’s hammer, but the ancient artefacts continue to emerge when Loki’s sceptre is confirmed to contain the Mind Stone. The Mind Stone is used to create a heroic android known as The Vision, and with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver now fighting for Team Avengers, they all take on Ultron in Sokovia.

Thor played a vital part in the creation of Vision (Paul Bettany) in Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron. (Marvel Studios)
Thor played a vital part in the creation of Vision (Paul Bettany) in Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron. (Marvel Studios)

Leaving Earth and the new Avengers HQ in the safe hands of Captain America and Iron Man, Thor says he’s going to learn more about the outer space forces that have been behind recent events. It’s yet another major tease of Thanos’ quest for all six Infinity Stones.

Doctor Strange (2016)

Yes, Loki is back and up to his old tricks. Popping by for a fleeting appearance in the mid-credits scene of Doctor Strange, Thor is given a magical beer that never runs dry.

The God of Thunder is looking for an MIA Odin, while Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has been keeping tabs on Loki as a threat to Earth. As long as it gets everyone back to Asgard quicker, Strange agrees to help.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor Ragnarok flipped expectations on their head. (Disney)
Thor: Ragnarok flipped expectations on their head. (Marvel Studios)

Despite some fans being bummed that Thor and Hulk sat out Captain America: Civil War, Thor’s third solo movie was a breath of fresh air. Putting his comedic twist on the usually dark Thor franchise, Taika Waititi delivers the colourful but catastrophic Thor: Ragnarok.

After beating Surtur in Muspelheim, the fire demon warns that he’ll bring around the end of days known as Ragnarok. Picking up where we left off in Doctor Strange, Loki and Thor find Odin, who dies of old age. Thor’s half-sister Hela (Cate Blanchett), aka the Goddess of Death, stops by, destroys Mjolnir, and then throws Loki and Thor onto the trash planet of Sakaar. Hela takes over Asgard with the help of Skurge (Karl Urban) and kills the Warriors Three.

Tom Hiddleston's Loki tussles with Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel Studios)
Tom Hiddleston's Loki tussles with Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel Studios)

Captured by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and under the sadistic gaze of The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), Thor is forced to fight his champion, who turns out to be Hulk after disappearing in Age of Ultron. Hulk, Loki, Thor, and Valkyrie form a team called the Revengers and launch an attack on Hela.

Realising the only way he can defeat Hela is to enact Surtur's Ragnarok, Thor frees the monster and sacrifices Asgard along with his eye. The surviving Asgardians escape, but not before they’re intercepted by Thanos’ warship

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel Studios)
Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel Studios)

Serving as the third Avengers movie, Infinity War opens as Thanos decimates the Asgardian forces. As well as killing Heimdall, Thanos snaps Loki’s neck in brutal style when the God of Mischief tries to double-cross him. With his best friend and brother dead, Thor manages to escape and is picked up by the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Half the team heads to try and prevent Thanos from getting the Reality Stone from The Collector, while Thor goes with Rocket and Groot to find the dwarven blacksmith called Eitri. Instead of creating a new hammer, Eitri forges an axe-like weapon called Stormbreaker.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel Studios)
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel Studios)

Along with a snazzy cybernetic eye, Thor and the Guardians join the Avengers on the Wakandan battlefield. It’s here that the MCU delivers its iconic “You should have gone for the head” when Thor badly wounds Thanos but fails to kill him.

With all six stones, Thanos clicks his fingers and enacts “the Snap” to wipe out half of the universe’s population.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Chris Hemsworth in Avengers: Endgame (Credit: Marvel/Disney)
Chris Hemsworth in Avengers: Endgame (Credit: Marvel/Disney)

And so we reach the end of the road for Thor’s pre-Love and Thunder journey. The non-dusted Avengers go to Titan II, but with Thanos saying he’s destroyed the Infinity Stones, an enraged Thor decapitates him. Five years after the Blip Thor feels responsible for everything that has happened and has let himself go.

A reluctant “Bro Thor” is recruited from New Asgard and goes on the Time Heist with our surviving heroes through the Quantum Realm. Thor goes back to the events of The Dark World to try and retrieve the Reality Stone, having a heartfelt reunion with his mother Frigga. Hey, at least he gets Mjolnir back.

Read more: Hemsworth gets ripped for return of Thor

Thor goes to 2023 and mourns the loss of Natasha Romanoff, before Hulk tries to reverse the snap with the Avengers’ own Infinity Gauntlet. Before long, an alternate Thanos from 2014 comes to ruin the party and we get the massive “Avengers, assemble" scene.

Even though 2014 Thanos is beaten, there are some heavy losses. Thor attends Tony Stark’s funeral and then travels to New Asgard to crown Valkyrie as its queen. Thor’s last scene has him blasting off into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy and ready for a new chapter.

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

(L-R): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios' THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder. (Marvel Studios)

The official synopsis for the fourth solo Thor movie reads: The film finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced – a search for self-discovery. But his retirement is interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who seeks the extinction of the gods.

To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who — to Thor’s surprise — inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.

Thor: Love and Thunder comes to IMAX and UK cinemas on 7 July. Every Thor movie so far can be streamed on Disney+.

Watch the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer

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