Avengers: Endgame has been a colossal success. In fact, even that might be putting it lightly. The conclusion to Marvel's Infinity Saga has already raked in more than $2 billion, making it the second-highest-grossing movie of all time, surpassing Titanic's 22-year record.
However, despite mostly positive reviews from critics and fans, there have been some sticking points to Endgame. Debates have raged about representations of women and the LGBT community in the MCU, while other fans have questioned potential plot holes. But one subject has really been brought to the forefront since Endgame's release: Fat Thor and his role as comedic relief throughout the movie.
Opening up about the idea behind Thor's transformation, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely spoke about the evolution of the character, questioning where he'd be after "blatantly [failing]" in Infinity War.
"We wondered: 'OK, well, what if he does become a sort of depressive alcoholic?'" Markus said in an interview with Vulture. "The weight gain was just part and parcel of that state of mind."
Markus later suggested that Fat Thor was more relatable to audiences because he no longer had the body of a god:
[W]e’re all used to Chris Hemsworth the, in effect, living god. But when he came out with the prosthetic on, it wasn’t so much, Oh my God, what a silly fat man; it was, He kinda looks like me when I take my shirt off. [Laughs.] Thor became human, for the first time.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, McFeely further stressed that the idea behind Fat Thor wasn't to make him the butt of every joke, which is why they decided not to transform him back into the ripped Thor everybody recognises.
Markus added: "We didn't want to treat the weight gain like the issue that he needed to get over. Like, 'Thor got fat and now he needs to go on a diet.' No, he needs to feel OK about himself no matter who he is."
Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo brought up some of the same points in a separate interview with SiriusXM. Pointing to Thor's MCU journey as the reason for his transformation, Joe said: "We try to pull some level of psychological realism into the storytelling. If half the universe had disappeared and it was your fault, you would process that in a very intense way."
Anthony added that he thought the way Thor starts to behave is a "very real and relatable element of depression" and, like Christopher, thought Endgame Thor was more relatable. "We find Fat Thor as inspiring as any version of Thor," he said. "It's just a very human version of the character."
However, although Markus said it wasn't about making light of Thor's situation, Anthony appeared to go in a slightly different direction. "Where do you go with a character who's that low, who's carrying that much pain?" he said on SiriusXM. "Sometimes the road forward from that moment is through humour."
The Russo brothers continued to talk about Fat Thor while appearing on ABC's Popcorn With Peter Travers. "How would you react?" Joe said, referencing Thor's shortcomings and losses during Infinity War. "You let yourself go, start drinking a lot. You don't care what you eat, you don't take care of yourself, you don't sleep well." Anthony added: "We wanted to explore a very human response to that kind of suffering."
It's actually not the first time that a bigger Thor has been entertained in the MCU. Ragnarok director Taika Waititi revealed that he had planned throwback scenes depicting Thor growing up fat.
Talking about his vision on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Waititi explained: "I wanted to do some flashbacks to when Thor was a fat little kid [in] an '80s version of Asgard where they had massive shoulder pads and everyone had mullets. ... Just this pudgy little kid walking around with a mullet and being picked on by other kids."
And what does Thor himself have to say about all the drama? Actor Chris Hemsworth has so far remained tight-lipped about the situation, but he did acknowledge his character's transformation at the world premiere of Endgame, suggesting it was, at least partly, his idea.
"We shot for many hours and days and discussed how far could we push [Thor] and what we could do different," Hemsworth said to USA Today. "I just had an opinion. I wanted to do something different this time."
Ben Henry is a celebrity reporter for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.
Contact Ben Henry at email@example.com.
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