When Avengers: Endgame presented audiences with a different version of the uber-buff Thor, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had mixed reactions. Chris Hemsworth appeared on screen with a much more flabby physique than his usual chiseled chassis, and some accused screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely of making fun of obesity.
Yet the writers and Hemsworth himself saw an opportunity to send a message with the presentation of the king of the Norse gods.
A different side of Thor
When Thor hit the screen in Avengers: Endgame nursing his wounds with food, alcohol, and video games after being defeated by Thanos, there was a reason behind the transformation.
“[Hemsworth] was on board,” co-director Anthony Russo told The Hollywood Reporter. “We talked to him early on about it. That was born from us just thinking about, on an individual level, how each of the Avengers were moving forward from the moment at the end of Infinity War. How they were dealing with the pain of having lost to Thanos and the pain of losing everyone? We just started building.”
While some fans dubbed the character “Fat Thor,” Russo maintained that the process was well thought out by himself, the writers, and Hemsworth.
“This came out of really intense sessions with the writers, Markus and McFeely,” Russo said. “We just started circling this character, who was really blaming himself. If you look at the loss Thor suffers in Infinity War, it’s staggering. … We started thinking about how that would weigh on him and what that would do to him. We started circling this idea of depression and throwing that out in a way that we thought was really surprising and interesting.”
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor transformation
The Extraction actor revealed that becoming “Lebowski Thor” (a term Hemsworth used in reference to the film The Big Lebowski) took massive effort.
“Physically, it was a good three hours in hair and makeup,” he told Variety. “Then the prosthetic suit, particularly for the shirt-off scene, that was a big silicone that weighed about 90 pounds.”
Hemsworth shared that his entire body had to make modifications to embody the fuller-figured role.
“It was certainly exhausting,” the Avengers star said. “I had weights on my hands and ankles just to have my arms and legs swing differently when I shuffled along through the set.”
‘Thor’ star wanted to send a positive message
While most films probably would have had Thor slim down before going back into battle, Hemsworth and the screenwriters wanted to go a different route. Illustrating that the superhero’s ability to succeed was not dependent on a number on the scale, they kept the character at the higher weight.
“We fix his problem [at the end of the film], and it’s not his weight,” Markus told Vulture. “I know some people are sensitive about some of the humor that comes from it, which I understand. But our issue that we wanted him to deal with was his emotional state that his mom addresses. And I think he is the ideal Thor at the end of the movie, and he’s carrying some weight.”
Playing the god of thunder and lightning with a bit of a paunch was a welcome challenge for Hemsworth.
“I enjoyed that version of Thor,” he told Variety. “It was so different than any other way I played the character. And then it took on a life of its own.”
With the latest installment of Avengers breaking all box office records, the Marvel star and producers apparently made the right call.