Russell Crowe’s Zeus Is A Villain In Thor: Love And Thunder?

By Michileen Martin | 1 month ago

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Anyone who’s been following Marvel news over the past couple of years knows that — as Gorr the God Butcher — Christian Bale will be playing the lead villain of the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. But for a while now there’s been speculation that Russell Crowe’s Zeus will also be one of the film’s antagonists. Now a new piece of merchandise from the movie could possibly support the Zeus villain theory.

As pointed out by Screen Rant, last week an advertisement for a Valkyrie BuildAFigure provided a hint that the Russell Crowe character may be more than a neutral party in Thor: Love and Thunder. Among other things, the toy’s description reads “When a dangerous new visitor threatens the livelihood of New Asgard, King Valkyrie is forced to take up her sword once more to defend her people.” You can see a tweet including that ad below.

Why does this description hint more towards Russell Crowe’s Zeus than Gorr? Well, for one, it says this “visitor” will threaten New Asgard’s “livelihood.” Assuming Taika Waititi hasn’t decided to adapt Gorr as some kind of stock market analyst version of the villain of the source material, the guy doesn’t want to negatively impact the gods’ GDP — he wants to murder them. So he probably isn’t the “visitor” being referred to. Screen Rant also points out an Easter egg from Spider-Man: No Way Home. In one scene, a news ticker mentions political trouble in New Asgard and references someone whose name begins with a Z.

Then there’s the trailer that dropped earlier this week. We see a bored Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) attending some kind of important diplomatic event, while we see Russell Crowe from behind celebrating in what is presumably Olympus. Valkyrie’s meeting could very well have something to do with a brewing conflict between New Asgard and Zeus.

A conflict between the two powers could be exactly how Gorr the God Butcher enters the film. If you were someone dedicated to killing every single god in creation, and you found out two different pantheons were going to war with one another, is there anywhere else you’d want to be more than that battlefield? It could be that Russell Crowe will be one of Gorr’s first victims.

thor vs zeus
Thor vs. Zeus in Avengers #284 (1987)

Not to mention that it isn’t like the idea of Zeus being a Marvel villain is particularly new. While the character Russell Crowe will play in Love and Thunder usually sees himself as being beyond the concerns of mortals, he’s been an antagonist to Marvel’s heroes more than once. One particularly epic example unfolds in a 1987 Avengers storyline. After Zeus’ son Hercules is beaten into a coma by the Masters of Evil, Zeus wrongly blames the Avengers for it. The “Assault on Olympus” story followed, culminating in a three issue battle with Zeus singlehandedly taking on an Avengers roster including heavy hitters like Thor, Namor the Sub-Mariner, She-Hulk, and Captain Marvel (the Monica Rambeau version).