As the Marvel Cinematic Universe has evolved during the last passing decade, so too have each of the original Avengers lineup (and we’re not just talking about Natasha’s ever-changing hairstyle here…). Every one of the team’s founding members has been molded and shaped by their one personal tragedies and battles, and now an interesting theory has suggested that it is Thor who will ultimately be the hero with the biggest and most spectacular future ahead of him as the franchise moves forward.
You only have to watch just five minutes of Thor: Ragnarok before you realize it’s VERY different to any of the other preceding MCU movies. Put down by most observers and commentators as being the result of director Taika Waititi’s own personal and humorous take on the source material, this new suggestion teases the fact that Waititi was in fact facilitating the agenda of Marvel’s creative masters, and may have been laying the foundations for the Thor’s eventual evolution into The Rune King.
If you’ve never heard of The Rune King, then you’re far from being alone, as only the more devoted of Marvel readers would be able to talk at length about the character if pressed for significant detail. It’s a version of Thor that appeared in the Avengers Disassembled storyline, and is easily the most bad-ass incarnation of the Odinson that you’ll ever see. In a distant future, with Odin long dead and another Ragnarok cycle approaching (this time facilitated by Loki), Thor takes a desperate gamble in order to save his people, and gains god-like powers in the process.
Now, you can argue that Thor is already a god anyway, but in reality the MCU Asgardians are actually more like aliens who encouraged lesser races to worship them as gods. What we’re talking about here are powers that put the likes of Thanos and Galactus to shame. Powers like telepathy, teleportation, the ability to travel between dimensions and to alter reality. Immortality. Pretty much ALL the sexy stuff.
But it’s the way in which Rune King Thor achieves these new powers that is the most intriguing and disturbing part of his story. Your average MCU viewer sees the fact that Odin has one eye and probably attributes that to some nasty battle damage. The reality is that Odin voluntarily chose to put out one of his own eyes to increase his levels of universal knowledge and awareness. And in order to become more powerful than his dead father, The Rune King elects to put out both of his eyes, becoming one of the most powerful Marvel characters of all time in the process.
So where’s the argument for the Chris Hemsworth version starting to head down this tragic path? Well, it’s two-fold. Firstly, he’s already started to visually match this version of the character. With his new glowing eyes and a tendency to dress all in black, he’s starting to look more like the Rune King than any other previous Thor incarnation. Then there’s also the fact that he’s just been through a really really rough couple of days.
The Rune King’s powers are granted to him due to his extreme acts of sacrifice and selflessness. By being prepared to put his vision, and ultimately his life on the line in defense of his people, he gets granted greater abilities. You only have to look at Hemsworth’s last couple of MCU appearances and you’ve got an appalling catalogue of loss and suffering. He’s lost both parents, his brother, best friends, girlfriend, half his people, his kingdom and his axe. Oh, and his sister turned out to be a bondage loving mass-murderer.
As the MCU Thor’s new lighting-powered abilities manifest following the loss of everything he holds dear, and a pretty shitty future waits in the offing for the dwindling population of Asgard, we may well end up seeing him achieve his ambition of being the strongest Avenger. Only at the cost of also being the loneliest one too…