Who Is Gorr the God Butcher? Christian Bale’s Thor 4 Character Explained

Among the many, many, many (many!) nuggets of info dropped during Disney’s investor presentation, none set my imagination ablaze quite like the reveal that Christian Bale will be playing Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder.  For one thing, the idea of Christian Bale in a Taika Waititi movie at all is like imagining a corgi puppy taking a sabretooth tiger for a walk and I cannot wait. But also, Gorr the God Butcher isn’t your most well-known villain, but he’s one heck of an adversary for Chris Hemsworth‘s Thor and his involvement alone has major implications for how wild Waititi’s second Marvel movie is about to get.

Gorr is a relatively recent creation, debuting at the start of 2012’s relaunched Thor: God of Thunder run by writer Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic. For a character whose Wikipedia occupation is literally just “God butcher”, Gorr has one heck of a tragic backstory. Born on a nameless wasteland of a planet, the meek, peaceful being spent much of his life having a crap taken on his head by the universe. His pregnant wife, Arra, was killed in an earthquake, and the rest of his children soon followed due to the harsh nature of their homeland. Grief-stricken, Gorr was finally cast out from his superstitious society for pretty understandably being like, “gods clearly don’t exist.” However, in his wanderings, Gorr witnesses a literal god fall from the sky. Enraged at the proof of an uncaring pantheon, Gorr killed the god and claimed his weapon, the incredibly-named All-Black the Necrosword.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Image via Disney

Thus began Gorr’s mid-life career shift as an immortal shadow-thing hellbent on murdering every god in the multiverse. Folks, things get real whacky from there. At some point in his eons-length god-murdering odyssey, Gorr lay claim to the “Pool of Forevers”, giving him unfettered access to the streams of time. One of the fun things about Aaron’s Gorr storyline is it teamed up three different Thors: A young, boastful Thor from the 9th century, a modern-day Avengers-era Thor who had recently been deemed unworthy and lost Mjolnir, and an ancient All-Father Thor presiding over an Asgard overtaken by Gorr’s shadow minions. It took all three Thors to stop Gorr from executing his ultimate plan, a “Godbomb” that would detonate and wipe out all gods from every timestream, ever.

So, yeah, a whole lot of wild mythology wonkiness for Waititi to play with. But there’s still a ton of questions, the first being: Is this a voice-only role for Bale? Gorr looks like, uh, this, so it’s entirely realistic the character will be a CGI creation, like Waiti’s own Korg. Another question: Is Gorr’s involvement a sign that Waititi’s script is going to travel through time? The filmmaker has been very tight-lipped about exact plot details, saying only “it’s so over the top now in the very best way. It makes Ragnarok seem like a really run of the mill, very safe film.”

The most interesting connection between the Gorr storyline—which saw Thor lose his hammer, like he’s already done in the MCU—and Waititi’s film is that we know, at some point, Natalie Portman is going to take over the title of Thor, but we don’t know exactly why. In the comics, Jane Foster adopted the mantle right around the time Thor was found unworthy, so the timelines seem to match up. “It’s based on the graphic novel of The Mighty Thor,” Portman has said. “She’s going through cancer treatment and is a superhero on the side.”

For more on the future of the MCU, here are the new release dates for Thor 4, Captain Marvel 2, and much more.

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