Originally written by Cooper Hood for Screen Rant
Christian Bale may be joining in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Thor: Love and Thunder, but which Marvel character could he play? The Thor franchise was injected with new life through the comedic direction of Taika Waititi. His approach led to Thor: Ragnarok becoming a big hit with audiences, allowing it to earn over $850 million worldwide.
After this success, Marvel Studios decided to bring Waititi back for a fourth installment, which was officially announced last year at San Diego Comic-Con. The acclaim that Waititi has received through Ragnarok - and his other directorial efforts What We Do In The Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and Jojo Rabbit - has continued to see major stars lining up to work with him. For Thor 4, this not only means that Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are returning, as Thor and Valkyrie respectively, but Natalie Portman has agreed to come back as Jane Foster and become Mighty Thor.
Although filming on Thor 4 won't begin until later this year, Marvel fans were treated to an early year surprise with the report that Bale is in talks to join the cast of Thor: Love and Thunder. The news is quite an exciting development for the sequel and the first piece of new casting for the film. The prospects of Bale joining the MCU is excellent on its own thanks to the world-class and versatile nature of his acting, but the role he may play has yet to be revealed. As unfortunate as that may be, it does leave us with the ability to speculate as to who he could be. Here are some of our best guesses.
Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill is one of the most requested characters by fans to join the MCU, and his ties with Thor make it difficult not to think this could be a fit for Bale immediately. The Korbinite warrior is incredibly strong in the comics and gains his hammer - known as Stormbreaker - after a duel with Thor. Beta Ray Bill has been teased in of the MCU, and his inclusion in Thor: Love and Thunder is something many want to see. Bale would bring his powerful voice and presence to the character and could easily serve as the straight man opposite a more comedic Thor.
While this role would likely mean that Bale won't physically be seen in the movie, he could still do the motion-capture for the part. That said, Bale is known for his insane physique transformations, so he could also bulk up to try to portray Beta Ray Bill from the neck down believably. This would mean more of a supporting role for him in Thor 4, given the three main characters already announced, but Beta Ray Bill has immense potential for the future. Whether or not Bale is interested in a multi-picture contract is not known, though.
Instead of a full mo-cap/CGI-enhanced character for Bale, he'd also be an excellent fit as Dario Agger aka Minotaur. A recent addition to Marvel's mythology, Agger is the CEO of Roxxon, who happens to have the ability to transform into a giant minotaur. He was prominently featured in Jason Aaron's Thor comic run, which Waititi has cited as a significant influence on Love and Thunder, and was the first big villain that Mighty Thor fought. It would not be totally shocking if this were another piece of the story Waititi was borrowing and would make Bale a great selection for the part. The role would require someone who can be a charming and despicable businessman, and it is easy to see Bale pulling that off. Not only would this allow Bale to be the main villain of Thor 4 potentially, but audiences would get to see his recognizable (and bankable) face in marketing. Plus, who doesn't want to see Bale transform into a giant minotaur a few times?
As the brother of Odin, Cul Borson would be an intriguing option for Bale to play as well. Cul is a power-hungry Asgardian who could enter the MCU at a time when not only has his brother passed away, but where Asgard has been handed over to someone outside of the family. In the comics, he is known as the god of fear and a frequent inhabitor/ruler of Earth who was trapped at the bottom of the ocean for thousands of years. A similar trap would easily explain why Bale could play the older brother to Anthony Hopkins' MCU character, despite him being significantly younger in real life. Bale could bring real gravitas to Cul and chew up the scenery as he challenges Thor, Valkyrie, and Mighty Thor for the throne. In Jason Aaron's Thor series, Cul was an adversary for Mighty Thor and even ruled over Asgard when Odin was not able.
Balder The Brave
While we're in Thor's family tree, Bale could also fit as his half-brother Balder the Braver in Thor 4. At a young age, Balder was given the gift of near invulnerability by one of Frigga's spells, with his one weakness being mistletoe. More recently, though, he was brought back during Jason Aaron's run when he was the King of Hel. Since there has always been a brother dynamic to the Thor franchise through Thor and Loki's relationship, Balder could be a replacement for the god of mischief. The thought of Hemsworth and Bale playing brothers who are either meeting for the first time or haven't seen each other in years would make for a brilliant pairing. And, with the potential for his one-time love interest Karnilla to be the villain of Thor: Love and Thunder, he could add new depths to Thor 4's title.
Moving away from Asgardian lineage, Bale could play a different type of god in Love and Thunder instead, such as Ares, the god of war. The Olympian fighter and former Avenger is one of the most skilled individuals in combat in Marvel lore and could be featured in Thor 4 as either a foe or an ally. Bale is no stranger to bulking up for specific roles and could do so again to match the enormous physique of Ares on the page. It would also give him a role that would have the potential to last for multiple MCU films - if that is something that interests him. No matter what Waititi's take on Ares could be, there's no doubt that Bale could pull it off.
These are just a few suggestions for who Christian Bale could play in Thor: Love and Thunder, though, and many other exciting possibilities do exist. Now that he's been linked to the project, figuring out the role is undoubtedly a piece of information that many are seeking out. With that in mind, it may not be too long before it is ultimately revealed.