Thor: Love and Thunder is now in theaters! That means the Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally adapted the Marvel Comics tradition of mortals wielding Thor’s Hammer. Sure, Captain America picked up the hammer in Avengers: Endgame, but he wasn’t throwing around lightning and thunder. No spoilers will be found here, but after four blockbuster movies and stars getting over the hill, one or both of Thor’s hammer will need a new wielder soon. Let’s look at the mere mortals, human and otherwise, who’ve picked up the hammer in the comics to see who might be the next God of Thunder in the MCU!
Note that many of the comics mentioned here can be found in our auctions from time to time. As can toys of many Marvel heroes, the records that provide the needledrops in Love & Thunder, etc, etc. Heck, we’d handle an antique Norse war hammer if given the opportunity!
Aliases: The Mighty Thor, Valkyrie
First Appearance as Thor: Thor: God of Thunder #25 (2014)
Odds: 1 to 0 (It’s Already Happened)
OK, this one is low hanging fruit. We’ve known since Thor: Love and Thunder was announced back in July 2019 that Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster would be picking up Mjolnir. The only question left is: for how long? Portman famously bowed out of the MCU after Thor: The Dark World, rumored to be because she wasn’t super interested in being the damsel-in-distress love interest. Which The Mighty Thor notably isn’t!
Then again, the comic version’s tenure as Goddess of Thunder coincided with a cancer battle. In fact, being Thor dang near killed her! if that particular wrinkle made it into the movie, who knows how long she’ll hang around? Let’s look at some other comic book thunderers just in case.
Beta Ray Bill
Aliases: Beta Ray Thor, Simon Walters
First Appearance as Thor: Thor #337 (1983)
Odds: 1 to 1 (It’s gotta happen some time, right?)
Beta Ray Bill is an alien super soldier, essentially his people’s equivalent of Captain America meets the Hulk. SHIELD spots an alien craft a long way off and asks Thor to check it out. They know nothing about who’s aboard, but they’ve seen that the thing can eat stars whole. Turns out, it’s loaded with Korbinite refugees, fleeing the destruction of their homeworld by Surtur. Beta Ray Bill is their protector, and doesn’t take kindly to Thor damaging the ship in his investigation. They fight, and Bill manages to separate Thor from Mjolnir. This lets him turn into a full-on alien cyborg goatman version of the God of Thunder, something so cool fans fell immediately in love. He quickly gave the hammer back, but Odin was sufficiently impressed to grant him one of his own (more on that later).
While he has never fully taken over the mantle of “Thor”, he’s been a Thunder God and honorary Asgardian for years. A statue of Beta Ray Bill briefly appeared in Thor: Ragnarok as a veteran of Sakaar’s arena. It’s unlikely that he’d pick up Mjolnir after Jane Foster, but here’s where his comic book hammer comes into play. His hammer, a combo hammer/hatchet, was named Stormbreaker. Marvel Studios’ has used that as the name of Thor’s Hammer 2.0 and, if Hemsworth ends up retiring from the MCU, our money would be on Stormbreaker ending up in Beta Ray Bill’s hands.
Aliases: Thor, Thunderstrike
First Appearance As Thor: Mighty Thor #408 (1989, merged with the Odinson), Mighty Thor #432 (1991, By Himself)
Odds: 10 to 1 (Unlikely but Possible)
The comic book iteration of Thor has a long history of human alter egos, having had at least four. However, only one is his own complete person with a life outside of Thor. Eric Masterson is a New York architect who befriends Sigurd Jarlson, a construction worker who happens to also be Thor wearing civvies. Discovering his friend’s dual identity, Eric starts helping out Thor with adventures. To make a long story short, eventually Thor ends up being banished from reality and Eric is granted his power and identity. Thus began the saga of a normal dude with the power of a thunder god, including his membership in The Avengers. Thor Odinson eventually returned, but Eric was granted the slightly-less-powerful mace Thunderstrike to replace Mjolnir and allow him him to continue heroing.
While we doubt that Eric will be taking over Thor’s Hammer anytime soon, you gotta admit that “White Collar Middle Class Dad Becomes Thor” would make a good Disney+ show.
Roger “Red” Norvell
Aliases: Thor, Thor of the Crimson Locks
First Appearance as Thor: Thor #276 (1978)
Odds: 100 to 1 (We’ll Eat Our Hat)
Legendary comic writer Roy Thomas is notably obsessed with referencing literary obscurities. Marvel’s Thor is notably different from his mythological counterpart. So during Roy Thomas’ run on Thor, he ended up creating a second Thor closer to the mythology. Red Norvell debuted as a documentary cameraman filming Asgard in the lead up to the prophecised Ragnarok.
Long story short, Loki guided Red through a series of tests designed by Odin to create a NEW Thor as Asgard’s champion should his son fall. Claiming the Belt of Strength and Iron Gloves, Red became Thor’s equal and took control of Thor’s Hammer before running off with Sif. He returned when Loki made his move and the Midgard Serpent attacked Asgard, sending the hammer to its rightful owner before sacrificing himself against the serpent. If you’re up on Norse Mythology, a red-head Thor dying at the fangs of the Migard Serpent during Ragnarok is very familiar.
Red was resurrected in the 90s when Odin was feeling particularly passive-aggressive about his son’s preoccupation with Earth. In his new role as Asgard’s main Thor, he was given his own hammer – he named it Crusher. His godly powers held even after Odin released him from service, and he would pop up for guest spots here and there in the mid-90s. Most notably, he lead the “Lost Gods” mini-series while Thor was tied up in Hero’s Reborn. He’s now long-forgotten, and it is highly unlikely that he’d ever appear in the MCU. Heck, his most recent appearance was a corpse.
Though now that we think about it, Loki making his own Thor copy would be a good plot for his Disney+ show…
Aliases: Thor-El, Superman, Kal-El
First Appearance as Thor: Unlimited Access #4 (1998, Amalgam), JLA/Avengers #4 (2004, wields Mjolnir)
Odds: 1,000,000 to 1 (It Would Require a Miracle)
If we had a nickel for every time Superman has had the power of Thor, we’d have two nickels. Which is not a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice. The first was in Unlimited Access #4, a sequel to the mid-90s mega-crossover Marvel Vs. DC. It featured Marvel and DC heroes being re-amalagamated as The X-League. Since this was during Superman’s “Electric Blue” period, merging him with the God of Thunder made quite a bit of sense. And lo, Thor-El was born.
The second time was in JLA/Avengers, wherein the Man of Steel picked up both Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer during the epic final conflict. This was noted as temporary, with Superman not being strictly “worthy” but times being desperate. It would require an unprecedented level of cooperation between media mega-corporations to get this on screen….but boy would it be cool.
Have you seen Thor: Love and Thunder yet? What do you think happens next? What do you think of our odds? Want our thoughts on another potential candidate for Hammer Time? Comment below or hit us up @b2pCollect!
Or maybe this inspired you to sell your key and semi-key issues. If so, Back to the Past would love to help you figure out the best way to do that!