Thor: Love and Thunder set photos have confirmed the return of Matt Damon and Luke Hemsworth as fake Loki and Thor, who will now be joined by Melissa McCarthy as fake Hela, which is a perfect casting for the movie. Thor: Ragnarok’s play reenactment of Thor: The Dark World was one of the film’s comedic highlights, largely because of the star power brought to the silly roles by Damon, Hemsworth, and Sam Neill. The addition of Melissa McCarthy as Hela hints at another such scene in Love and Thunder.
Major Hollywood stars don’t often show up to someone else’s movie for a gag, but Taika Waititi compelled several big names to do just that in Thor: Ragnarok. Getting Chris Hemsworth’s brother Luke to stand in as actor-Thor was particularly inspired, especially given the whole Hemsworth family’s predilection for the stage. Thor: Love and Thunder will be extending Ragnarok’s dramatic reenactment, presumably covering part of Ragnarok's storyline, this time with the noteworthy addition of McCarthy.
Regardless of how much time fake Hela spends on screen, McCarthy is guaranteed to steal every second of it. She’s proven her chops time and time again as one of today’s funniest comedians, and her particular disposition toward physical comedy and emotionally intense characters should make for a great send-up of Cate Blanchett’s icy Hela performance in Ragnarok. McCarthy and Damon are both veterans of the SNL guest roster, so hopefully, they’ll get at least a bit of time to play off of each other in Thor: Love and Thunder.
The choice to cast a comedian like McCarthy as fake Hela is also interesting from a narrative standpoint, as it sheds some light on how the Asgardians are choosing to remember the events of Ragnarok. Hela was eventually defeated, but not before the whole ordeal left old Asgard in ruins, forcing its residents to flee to Earth. With not much time having passed between the end of Ragnarok and the start of Love and Thunder, it’s curious that those same Asgardians are choosing to portray Hela in such an absurd and silly way.
One explanation is that Asgard has decided to lighten the damage Hela dealt in retrospect by making her comical. McCarthy is a great pick if that’s the case, as her over-the-top style of humor would help make the danger Hela posed seem more ridiculous than frightening. Of course, it hasn’t been revealed in what context the new play takes place, so there could be any number of explanations. No matter what, McCarthy should be an excellent and hilarious addition to Thor: Love and Thunder. And let's not forget that McCarthy auditioned for a bit part in Love and Thunder via social media - which begs the question of whether that itself was planned PR for her involvement.
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