Marvel's version of Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, has always been something of an outlying character when it comes to mainstream comic book audiences, but he's definitely an A-lister these days, thanks to his solo Marvel Studios releases - and his dashing portrayal by Chris Hemsworth. He'll be seen onscreen again in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
Meanwhile, in the ongoing comic book universe, Marvel shook things up with the recent announcement that the next relaunch of the comic Thor: God of Thunder would feature a new, female Thor. The series' writer, Jason Aaron stated that, “This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”
Traditionally, it was Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, which grants only those who are worthy the powers of the deity. Now, thanks to Marvel, we get to see a preview of the comic book panels which reveal that the hammer's inscription has been changed to reflect the new Thor's gender. It now reads:
Whosoever holds this hammer, if SHE be worthy, shall possess the power of... THOR
Have a look at the preview of this scene below:
Thor was originally introduced in Journey into Mystery #83 in 1962, with an origin story which followed disabled medical student Donald Blake as he discovered Mjolnir in a cave and was able to wield the power of Thor. Later, it was revealed that Odin had placed his son on Earth without his memories in order to teach him humility. Certain aspects of this were used in director Kenneth Branagh's 2011 Thor.
This basic incarnation of the Thunder God is the one fans know from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there have been several other Thors over the years. Thor's longtime love interest Jane Foster actually took up the hammer in the late 197os (in an alternate-universe What If? issue); a member of an alien race named Beta Ray Bill was found to be worthy to wield Mjolnir; there was the frog version of Thor (called 'Throg,' he wielded the mighty 'Frogjolnir'); and in a crossover event, Wonder Woman was able to use the hammer as well.
The news of this next Thor first broke not long after Marvel announced that a new Captain America will take over for Steve Rogers in the comic books, and coincides with the recent 'Death of Wolverine' arc.
The new Thor is another way to not only address the lack of diversity in both comic books and the movies based on them, but to orient fans to expect some big changes in the film universe as well, since after Captain America 3, Thor 3 and The Avengers 3, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth's current movie contracts will have been fulfilled.
Thor #1 debuts this October.