Early character design for Chris Hemsworth's Thor in Avengers: Infinity War features the God of Thunder using a gun instead of Stormbreaker. Fresh from his revamp in Thor: Ragnarok, directors Joe and Anthony Russo nearly doubled-down on Thor's newfound appreciation for firearms.
Thor's journey throughout the MCU has led him from Asgard to Earth and back again before pitting him against the goddess of death, Hela. During said journey, he wielded his trusty war-hammer Mjölnir - an Asgardian weapon that only the worthy could wield - until Hela crushed it with her bare hands. Throughout most of Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, Thor has no choice but to improvise his weapons of choice, using everything from brute strength to alien firearms. As it so happens, though, Thor's relationship with guns nearly played a much larger role in Avengers: Infinity War.
From Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War - The Art of the Movie (via @akaspidey) comes a slew of early character designs for the God of Thunder in Infinity War. While the selection varies from looks that are vastly different to his final appearance to looks that are somewhat similar to what ultimately ended up on screen, the most noticeable images include the ones featuring Thor with his very own firearm. Though it's unclear how much weight Infinity War's creative team actually put into trading Stormbreaker for a giant gun, the image clearly showcases Asgard's true king replacing his trademark weapon with a gun.
Having already used a gun on Sakaar alongside his brother Loki in Thor: Ragnarok, the inclusion of a gun would have made narrative sense - no matter how off-putting it might have seemed. Even director Taika Waititi explained that Thor was at his absolute lowest point in Ragnarok, incapable of generating any magic, which justified his use of a gun. And, considering that his situation didn't get any better in Avengers: Infinity War, carrying over that physical representation of his self-defeat would have fit nicely.
However, despite Thanos' attack on Thor's ship at the end of Thor: Ragnarok/beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, Thor's self-defeated arc was ultimately satisfied during his battle with Hela. So, as a result, graduating from guns to something as powerful as Stormbreaker was the necessary move. Doing so also set Thor on his unique expedition to Nidavellir alongside Rocket and Groot, thus bridging the gap between franchises (not only narratively, but literally, with Groot fashioning part of himself as the battle axe's handle). It also brought Thor's relationship with blunt instruments full circle - despite the fact that Thanos still managed to win.
Source: Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War - The Art of the Movie (via @akaspidey)
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