The mythology of the MCU’s gods is a mess
In Thor: Love and ThunderHeroes against a new villain: revenge-minded supernatural assassin Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale). True to his name, Gorr’s entire stick is to slay the gods, a task he takes on for himself after the god he worships won’t lift a finger to help him in his quest. when needed. With his dark, shadowy Necrosword, Gorr is on a mission to kill every god, because as far as he (or we) can tell, they have done nothing to help their followers. , or even just to make the multiverse a better place .
Since Thor (Chris Hemsworth) himself is a god, he disagrees with Gorr’s murderous actions, especially since he and the other survivors of the destruction of his home, Asgard, become Gorr’s next target. Thor mourns some of the gods Gorr has slain, and seeks help from a number of untargeted people. The variety of creatures he encounters in the process leads to a question that haunts the MCU, especially as these mythical gods become more and more central to the movies: What the hell makes a god? god in the MCU?
[Ed. note: Some broad story spoilers ahead for Thor: Love and Thunder.]
The Asgardian Dilemma
No Thor: Love and Thunder answer this question? you can ask. The gods are just immortal entities that humanity worships throughout the universe, right? Ah, if only it were that simple. Here’s a complication: When the Asgardians were first introduced in 2011 God of thunderthey are introduced as aliens.
Back in the early days of the MCU, movies shied away from mystical and magical elements. All the power and action is centered around technology, science, and interplanetary aliens, which are supposed to feel more serious and cool and more mature than fanciful. Asgard’s “magic” used to be very advanced science, something Jane Foster notes as she visits Asgard In 2013 Thor: Dark World. This extends to the rest of the MCU, with Powers of Wanda Maximoff original explanation in 2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron is the result of scientific experimentation rather than magic. No one identified her as a “witch” until WandaVision established a tradition and history of witchcraft.
So in the old days, all magic in the MCU was really just science… until it wasn’t. You can’t have Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, without some magic. At this point, the MCU has fully embraced magic as a source and type of power, meaning that gods can revert to being gods, not just people from another world. But at the same time, they are still aliens, as much of what they do involves going into space.
In Thor: Love and Thunder, Thor and his friends seek help in the Almighty City, where the gods hang out in a space station, ruled by Zeus (played by Russell Crowe). When Thor and his friends arrive, they come across a host of other gods – some referencing or inspired by real-world cultures, and others from MCU fiction. Among some of those real-world deities, like creatures in traditional Aztec garb, is the stone deity that Taika Waititi’s rock alien Korg worships (he sits proudly on his throne). The gold of the scissors has been defeated) and Bao, the dumpling god. (He’s not an actual figure in Chinese mythology, but he’s adorable nonetheless.) the Eternals‘ Heavenly Master also appeared. However, other established MCU gods are noticeably absent, like Egyptian gods are seen in Moonlight Knight.
Traveling to the Almighty City is obviously traveling to somewhere in space. Classic superhero comics often blur the lines between magic and science – unsurprising in a genre that’s only slightly younger than broadcasting and a few decades older than race. space. The MCU reflects this loose cosmology – what exactly is the difference between Doctor Strange’s magic and Scarlet Witch’s magic? We never found out, other than being told that witches were bad for some reason. If Wanda’s power is always within her and is only activated by Baron Strucker’s HYDRA experiments, what makes up the Infinity Stones, or the Sword itself? How do creatures from other universes get involved in cosmology? The questions continue to expand with the MCU, but that could be a topic for another paper.
Verdict: All the gods are just aliens, and the human mind is too weak to understand the difference.
So far so good – except for 2021 the eternalWe know that many of the religions on Earth derive from myths and legends influenced by the presence of near-immortal beings known as Eternals, who have guided mankind for thousands of years.
Most of the Eternals are not directly viewed as gods, but they have inspired stories of heroic mythological figures: Sersi is the witch Circe; Ikaris is Icarus, the guy who flies too close to the sun; Ajak is the Greek warrior that Ajax’s Iliad; and Gilgamesh is the main character from Epic of Gilgamesh. Other members of the group remind the legend of common mythological concepts, such as druids and sprites. But Phastos, Thena and Makkari had direct Greco-Roman partners in Hephaestus, Athena, and Mercury. It’s an important part of the eternal that their guide to humanity has inspired stories across cultures, and the closing credits tie some of the actors’ names to the artists’ artistic representations. their mythological objects, creating this connection.
That would really support the idea of ”All the gods are actually aliens, and humans are too stupid to know the difference”, if Zeus wasn’t introduced in the Almighty City as “a god”, in the traditional human sense. Aside from the nod of Dionysus, the god of wine, there is no other direct mention of Greek mythological figures in the city. But Zeus raises obvious questions: Are some of the Greek gods of the Earth divine, rather than just Eternal Gods or legends about Eternity? Was there an actual Athena kicking around the Almighty City, while Thena the Eternal did all her dirty work on Earth? Can belief in a god figure help create or empower a real god, the same way it does in (for example) Neil Gaiman’s novels?
And what about the Roman counterpart? Is Zeus really Jupiter, since Roman mythology is essentially a copy of Greek mythology with some additions and deletions for pizzaz? Or was there another Jupiter who replaced Zeus when he was too tired to throw lightning around? Actor Carmen Foon is said to be Minerva (Athena’s Roman counterpart) in Thor: Love and Thunderso many Not played by Angelina Jolie, who plays Thena – that means there to be separate Greek and Roman gods?
Then there’s the question of the Celestials, the primordial race responsible for creating the Eternals. They are the oldest beings in the universe and in fact created it – which would make them the closest thing to God Abraham in the MCU to date. But aside from the Guardians of the Galaxy clashing with Ego (not the Celestial in the comics, but adapted into a sort for the MCU), no one but the Eternals seems hyper-aware of Celestials. No MCU properties since the eternal acknowledged Tiamut, the massive celestial body that began to expand from the Earth’s crust. Even though Sersi turned it into marble, it’s still there, something you’d think the heroes of Earth might notice.
New ruling: Some Gods are beings sent by a primordial race of god-like aliens, and some of the gods are actually aliens. But apparently some gods are actual mythological deities as we know them.
What the hell happened to Moon Knight?
And then there’s Moonlight Knight.
Moonlight Knight heavily based on Egyptian mythology and assumed that Egyptian gods existed but did not directly interact with humans anymore. Instead, they empower humans as avatars to do their bidding. Much Moonlight Knight far removed from the MCU – beyond a brief Black Panther references when the humanities of Moon Knight, Steven and Marc, wander into the Land of the Dead and meet the hippo goddess Taweret, there really isn’t much to tie it to the rest of the MCU.
But it To be remains part of this complex web of gods. Moonlight Knight writer Jeremy Slater revealed that the show’s team had to cut some script references to Gorr the God Butcher because they simply didn’t know if Moonlight Knight will be released first Love and Thunder.
Also Moonlight Knight Gods like the ones we see in the Almighty City – powerful, immortal beings who aren’t just high-tech aliens or servants of an even higher power? Probably, except that they are very noticeable Not in the Almighty City, despite their distance from the humans on Earth.
New-New Judgment: There to be the gods are real, but they’re actually removed from the daily spin of life, so they use humans as avatars to do their bidding and don’t even hang out with the gods their prodigy, maybe because Zeus was a goddamn monopolist.
Putting it all together
The Norse gods are Asgardians who are aliens, but not really. The Greek Pantheon is made up of several empowered creatures, but also several gods, and we’re not sure if Greek gods and Roman gods are the same. The Egyptian gods were real gods, but they didn’t really do the divine anymore, and instead they just used humans to do their bidding. The gods of the major real-world religions still being practiced don’t appear in these stories, but the gods of the religions practiced by aliens certainly do. The MCU has magic now, except where it doesn’t. Probably Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi put it best.
“There is a certain line where you have to leave other things behind,” he told Polygon. “Otherwise, you get bogged down with the idea of glorifying the truth or authenticity of something. Any comic character is reinterpreted in a different way by different writers and artists every time there is a new work. It also proves that nothing is truly sacred.”
Final Verdict: Everything is made up and nothing matters, so have fun and use the gods as little paper dolls for playtime in our cinematic universe.
Thor: Love and Thunder currently in theaters.