Avengers: Endgame introduces many changes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it's the Thor franchise that may have changed the most. Thor received a major overhaul by way of Thor: Ragnarok, and with how Endgame leaves both Thor and his fellow Asgardians, it suggests that Thor 4 is going to be a very different movie as well.
Endgame is a finale for the Infinity Saga, wrapping up the 22-film series in a way that's both a culmination and a jumping off point for new stories. The MCU is certainly not over, but the films that will release after Endgame will see certain heroes elevated while introducing new ones to fill out the ranks. Spider-Man: Far From Home, for example, will see Peter trying to live up to Tony Stark's legacy, while the new Captain America, Sam Wilson will need to do the same with that of Steve Roger's. Meanwhile, upcoming films like The Eternals and Shang-Chi will bring new heroes (and villains) into the MCU.
Endgame has both Tony Stark and Steve Rogers move on from being Iron Man and Captain America, respectively, and Thor does something similar - he takes a break, needing to focus on himself for a time. It isn't nearly as radical as Tony's death or Steve's choice to remain in the past, but it will mean that Thor's corner of the MCU will be very different once the franchise returns with Thor 4. Here's how Thor 4 will be different from Ragnarok, starting with the biggest change:
Valkyrie Is The Queen Of New Asgard
Thor's arc in Avengers: Endgame is possibly his most transformative one yet, reconciling the person he thinks he's supposed to be with the person he actually is. In doing so, Thor realizes there's someone better suited than him at being the ruler of Asgard - Valkyrie. Throughout Endgame, Valkyrie already is a leader to the Asgardian refugees in all but name, but Thor abdicates and hands the official duties of ruling New Asgard over to her at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
Valkyrie is now Queen of New Asgard and it's the first time a character other than Thor or Odin (or Loki disguised as Odin) has ever ruled the Asgardians in the MCU. Come Thor 4, Valkyrie is likely to still be in charge, and having previously spent so much time away from Asgard, she could very well bring a fresh perspective to the usually arrogant and once isolated kingdom. Valkyrie will be a very different ruler than either Odin or Thor, and a New Asgard under her rule is sure to reflect that.
New Asgard Is Established (And Prosperous)
Thor: Ragnarok destroys the realm of Asgard, while Avengers: Infinity War opens with Thanos killing half of the Asgardian refugees. When Thanos enacts the Decimation, half of the Asgardians are killed again. But thanks to Valkyrie - who surely must have played an important role in leading the survivors to safety - the Asgardians have now settled on Midgard (Earth) in the village of Tønsberg, Norway (the same village where centuries ago Odin led the Asgardians in battle against the Frost Giants and where Red Skull first discovered the Tesseract).
Tønsberg is renamed New Asgard and under Valkyrie's guidance, grows in to a prosperous fishing village. By the time Thor 4 rolls around, there's no telling how far New Asgard will have come. Now on Earth, New Asgard may share some of its knowledge with the planet, advancing Earth science beyond what even Wakanda has achieved. New Asgard may never again be as grand or opulent as the realm of Asgard was, but its location on Earth will keep the kingdom more closely connected to the rest of the MCU.
Thor Is A Guardian Of The Galaxy (But Can Return)
Thor has been the main link between the MCU and Asgard since the beginning, but as his story has evolved, he's spent less and less time among his own people. That all came to a head when Asgard was destroyed in Ragnarok, and with the realm gone and his people looking to Valkyrie for guidance, Thor is free to be his own man/god. At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor hops on the Benatar and flies off with the Guardians for adventures yet unknown.
Not until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 will we get to see how this new dynamic plays out (though it's obvious Thor will continue getting on Quill's nerves), but it makes sense for Thor to join up with a team of misfits given his state of mind. Of course, Thor won't necessarily remain a Guardian forever, but he may still be with the team during Thor 4 and absent from the plot for a portion of the film. The Guardians may even join him when he returns. By the time Thor 4 happens, however, Thor may have spent enough time finding himself that he'll want to return to New Asgard. Which isn't to suggest he'll retake his place as king (not unless something happens to Valkyrie), but even gods must come home eventually. It's either that or some threat will force him to come back and protect his beloved Midgard once again.
Loki Is Still Alive (In Another Timeline)
Along with Queen Valkyrie, New Asgard, and an absent Thor, the other big change come Thor 4 is Loki. On the one hand, Thor's brother is dead, having been killed by Thanos at the very beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. But then the Avenger's time travel shenanigans in Endgame result in the creation of new timelines - including one in which Loki escapes the Battle of New York with the Tesseract/Space Stone.
It's unclear what future (if any) Loki will have in the MCU films, but Loki is getting a series on Disney+. Just when that series is set and which version of Loki it will star is unknown, but there's every chance the scene of Loki escaping in Endgame is there as setup for this series. Then again, perhaps this other Loki - and notably, a Loki who hasn't experienced the same redemption arc as the Loki in the prime MCU timeline - will have some role to play in Thor 4, antagonizing Valkyrie and New Asgard, possibly even being what causes his brother to come home. If so, Thor and Loki will again be odds, offering up a very different dynamic from where the brothers last left off.
When Will Thor 4 Release?
Thor 4 currently doesn't have a release and, in fact, hasn't even been officially announced by Marvel Studios. The only upcoming MCU film that is officially announced is Spider-Man: Far From Home, which rounds out Phase 3. There have been discussions about Thor 4, as Valkyrie actress Tessa Thompson recently said Ragnarok director, Taika Waititi has already pitched an idea to the studio.
Marvel Studios is also at various stages of development on Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi, Black Panther 2, and Doctor Strange 2, so it's not like Thor 4 is a big priority at the moment - especially if Thor appears in the also in-development Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3. That film isn't likely to release until 2023 at the earliest, so if Thor 4 does happen, it won't be releasing anytime in the near future.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019