Move Over, Spider-Man, Thor Is Iron Man's True MCU Successor


The news that Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have been waiting for since the 2017 release of Thor: Ragnarok has, at last, arrived: Director Taika Waititi and star Chris Hemsworth will reportedly reunite for Thor 4. As welcome as the development is, it's hardly surprising. After all, Hemsworth has hinted for more than a year that he's open to returning for a sequel -- and the events of Avengers: Endgame left the god of thunder as one of the few founding members still in play.

A sequel to Ragnarok also changes the tenor of the Phase Four. Spider-Man: Far From Home positioned Tom Holland's Peter Parker as a potential successor to the late Tony Stark, not as the next Iron Man but as the sort of figurehead of the MCU. But now, that honor may very well belong to Thor.

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The MCU's Longest-Running Franchise

With Thor 4 now apparently in the works, Hemsworth's god of thunder is at the helm of the MCU's longest-running franchise, spanning from 2011 (two months before the release of Captain America: The First Avenger) to until .. well, we're not quite certain yet. Sure, Tony Stark has made more appearances, for now, but there were only three Iron Man movies, over a five-year period.

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Thor, however, will have at least four solo outings -- more than Iron Man or Captain America -- in addition to four Avengers films, and that cameo in Doctor Strange. That doesn't even take into account Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, in which he'll presumably play some role. He'll effectively be the elder statesman of the MCU.

The Next Tony Stark

Even after his own franchise ended in 2013 with Iron Man 3, Robert Downey Jr.'s character remained the primary connective tissue of the MCU, with prominent roles in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Infinity War and Endgame. Now Thor would seem the most obvious choice to fill those shoes.

Endgame concluded with the thunder god relinquishing the throne of New Asgard to Valkyrie, and heading into space alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy. Although we don't know which will come first, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 or Thor 4, Hemsworth could easily appear in both.

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Of course, we don't know the future of the MCU, but as the self-proclaimed "Strongest Avenger," Thor could even emerge as one of the leaders of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, one whatever form -- or, indeed, forms -- they might take.

Given the MCU's increasingly cosmic scope, as well as Thor's incredible popularity, it would make sense for him to become one of the new faces of the franchise, alongside the likes of Captain Marvel. There are plenty of stories left to tell about the god of thunder. Ragnarok opened up possibilities for the character, and Endgame took them further by bringing him to his lowest point. Now, there's nowhere for Thor to go but up.

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