Warning: this article contains SPOILERS for Spider-Man: No Way Home!

Marvel Studios are running the risk of using the same multiverse plot point in three consecutive MCU Phase 4 movies with Thor: Love and Thunder. If there is an overarching theme to the current phase of the MCU, it’s the multiverse. Loki introduced audiences to the concept of the multiverse, and What If…? followed that introduction with an animated anthology that featured stories from different universes. Spider-Man: No Way Home then proceeded to highlight the potential of infinite universes by bringing together the three versions of Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire. No Way Home was a celebration of the web crawler’s 20-year history on the silver screen, which was only made possible due to the multiverse exploding into existence at the end of Loki.

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The follow-up to No Way HomeDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, promises to delve even deeper into the concept of the multiverse, hence the title. The first trailer for the Doctor Strange sequel revealed that Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) will encounter at least two variants of himself in the film. While this sounds similar to No Way Home on paper, the fact that all three versions of Strange will be played by Cumberbatch and that one of them will play an antagonistic role differentiates it from the Spider-Man MCU threequel.

However, there is a limit to how many times Marvel can pull the same trick, and Thor: Love and Thunder risks going past that limit. Thor’s fourth MCU installment is based on Jason Aaron’s The God Butcher comic run, a story that features three versions of Thor. If Marvel Studios choose to accurately adapt the God Butcher storyline, they will have a major repetitive plot point in three consecutive Phase 4 films.

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In The God Butcher, Gorr (who will be portrayed by Christian Bale in Love and Thunder) is an alien from an unknown world hellbent on killing all the gods in the universe, after deeming them unworthy of worship. His journey leads him to cross paths with Thor on three different occasions. When Gorr proves to be too powerful to defeat, the main timeline Thor calls on the help of both a younger and older version of himself to aid him in taking Gorr down.

If Marvel Studios choose to do this in Thor 4, it would be the third Phase 4 film in a row to feature three versions of the main character. Audiences and critics alike are bound to notice this, and comments about the film being repetitive will overshadow any good qualities the film has. This move will be detrimental to both Love and Thunder’s reviews and word of mouth, which in turn will harm its box office performance. Attempting to pull off this trick for the third time might even indicate that Marvel Studios are facing a creative drought, or at least leave critics and fans with that impression.

There are a few details that point to Marvel Studios avoiding this blunder. For starters, it’s too obvious of a mistake, and Marvel Studios have avoided those in the past. Additionally, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is set to take on the mantle of The Mighty Thor in Love and Thunder. This could indicate that Marvel is opting to use Hemsworth, Portman, and perhaps a variant of Odin, or even characters like Beta Ray Bill and Hercules, instead of three variants of Thor Odinson. Thor: Love and Thunder has a lot to unpack, and will definitely answer some of those lingering questions when audiences finally get to watch what is shaping up to be the most exciting MCU film of 2022 in July.

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