Director Taika Waititi was writing the upcoming film Thor: Love and Thunder when his young daughter looked over his shoulder and asked, “Dad, what is a shadow demon?”
Waititi had no idea.
Waititi took the photo to work, and the development team created a 3D rendering that would eventually become the monster that appears in a pivotal scene with actor Christian Bale, who plays antagonist Gorr the God Butcher.
Waititi realized it was a good idea and asked Bale’s children and Natalie Portman’s (who plays Mighty Thor/Jane Foster) children to do the same, eventually designing many of the movie’s monsters.
Thor: Love and Thunder is the fourth Thor film and the second directed by Waititi after 2017’s critically acclaimed Ragnarok.
For this film, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is going through something of a midlife crisis, finding himself a bit lost and wondering what he wants to do.
His ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster, enters the scene, having transformed into Mighty Thor and wielding Thor’s original hammer Mjonir, further complicating matters.
“It just made sense: Jane Foster in the comics has such a strong presence and really is the love of her life,” Waititi said, adding that he wanted to bring Jane back in a meaningful way that would develop the characters.
“It was great to have her holding the hammer and being a superhero this time.”
‘There are more female superheroes, more queer superheroes’
Jane Foster appeared in the first and second Thor films, but it is in this last film that she has agency and a central role in the plot.
Foster joins other recent superheroines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Captain Marvel and Ms Marvel.
“The idea of superheroes, of all those traditional images that we know, just muscle guys, underwear and spandex, has now gone out the window and it can be anything.”
Waititi said that Portman wanted to return after Ragnarok was released because it was so different from the other Thor movies.
“I think she saw that and said… ‘I would love to play in that environment and then also be a superhero and not just be the girl next door.’ I think that was the main thing.”