Earlier today it was reported that former Batman actor Christian Bale from The Dark Knight trilogy is potentially getting back into the world of comic book movies. Bale is in talks for a role in the fourth Thor movie, Thor: Love and Thunder, starring opposite Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tessa Thompson who return to their respective roles. For the movie, Taika Waititi (returning behind the camera after directing Thor: Ragnarok) will bring back Portman's Jane Foster and let her wield the hammer as the God of Thunder, taking inspiration from Jason Aaron's run on the iconic character (which recently came to an end).
Given Bale's past foray into the genre, starring as Batman in all three of Christopher Nolan's movies, it's a surprising to see him make the leap to Marvel Studios. Bale also previously said he had no interest in appearing in any superhero movies, saying in an interview: "I’m not interested in doing that... I can’t remember a single superhero film that I’ve ever watched. Apart from the ones I made and like, the Christopher Reeve Superman films.”
It's unclear who Bale will be playing in the movie, but given his comments perhaps it's not another hero. There's also the fact that the list of major Thor characters from Marvel Comics that haven't appeared in the film is shrinking, which leaves some distinct possibilities. We run down our best guesses for who Bale will be playing in the film below, feel free to sound off with your own thoughts in the comment section!
Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to be released in theaters November 5, 2021.
One of the most popular guesses among fans already for who Bale might play is Beta Ray Bill, the horse-like alien that has been a fan favorite to appear in the MCU for years. In the source material Beta Ray Bill is capable of lifting Mjolnir, not only meaning he is worthy, but resulting in a feud between he and the god of thunder. The character later became an ally to Thor after receiving his own hammer, Storm Breaker, a name which MCU fans know has already made its debut on the big screen. Beta Ray Bill was also previously hinted at in Thor: Ragnarok, appearing as one of the heads of the winners of the Contest of Champions. The addition of this character might also give Bale a lighter load as an actor where he only provides his voice instead of appearing on set, akin to Bradley Cooper as Rocket in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
Another fan favorite when a new actor is attached to an MCU property, it's possible that Bale is taking on the role. Created by a group of intergalactic mad scientists in the pages of Marvel Comics (seemingly the product of Ayesha in the MCU), the character was conceived as the "ultimate form of man" bearing many super powers and traveling the cosmos as both a hero while also appearing as an antagonist in some instances to characters like Thor. It's unclear when Adam Warlock will make his MCU debut, as James Gunn recently threw water on the idea of him appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
The primary antagonist of Jason Aaron's run on Thor, Dario Agger on the surface is the remorseless CEO of Roxxon Energy Corp, a Marvel staple that has appeared in the MCU a number of times. Behind closed doors though, Agger is actually the mythic Minotaur, whose primary plan was to make Roxxon a lot of money by investing in energy alternatives that stem from shady and non-Earthly realms (of the nine variety). Should this be his part, Bale would likely only need to put on a suit for the part (though perhaps some motion-reference pajamas for the Minotaur scenes).
With the 20th Century Fox characters now 100% at Marvel Studios, it's only a matter of time before they all begin to make their debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though plenty of notable characters in that bunch, there's none bigger (literally) than the world-eating Galactus. Bale could lend his likeness or just his voice to the character, but it might be a stretch for him to make his debut in a movie that's already bringing us a new god of thunder, even though he did make a major appearance in the recent Thor #1.
A half-brother of Thor, the character has yet to make his debut on the big screen despite being a major part of the god of thunder's life. The hiccup in this case is that Balder's original role in the pages of Marvel comics was to be the trigger for Ragnarok, something that has now already occurred in the MCU. Balder did go on to have a role in Jason Aaron's Thor as well, so perhaps a change will be in order for the character. It was previously revealed that Balder has been included in the original script for the first Thor movie, so he's a character that Marvel certainly has on their radar.
The Greek god himself Hercules has long been the subject of Marvel Studios rumors as well, previously rumored at an appearance in this year's Eternals. Despite being a hero in the Marvel canon, Herclues has often found himself at odds with Thor and there's a bit of a meta-ness to the idea of putting Christian Bale into the role of another god character who appears as Thor's "better" in the film. The character has also had more than one encounter with Jane Foster when she held the hammer, making an appearance by him that much more of a possibility.
Another Greek god that could be added, and might still appear even if Hercules is in the film, is the god of the underworld, Pluto aka Hades. Pluto and Thor have had a few run ins in Marvel Comics before, and it seems incredibly likely that Bale will be playing a villain character in the new movie (since that would likely just mean one appearance and not a multi-picture contract with Marvel). Pluto has also had some recent interactions with Jane Foster after she took on the Valkyrie mantel, so their connection is only recent.
Yet another Greek god that could appear is Ares, the god of war. The big clash between Thor and Ares comes from the character serving as the "replacement" for Thor in the "Dark Avengers" team line-up. They've had a few other interactions but it's possible Marvel Studios sees the potential in the character and are interested in exploring he and the Greek gods on the big screen as counters to the Asgardians. Ares also has a costume to die for in the source material.
It's also possible that Marvel Studios will stay away from the character given his prominence in Warner Bros. and DC's Wonder Woman, but it remains to be seen.
In Thor: Ragnarok one of the most hilarious scenes revealed actors replaying the roles of the characters in the previous films, and featuring hilarious cameos by real-life actors as the characters. Chris Hemsworth's brother Luke played Thor with Sam Neil playing Odin, and Christian Bale's Ford v Ferarri co-star Matt Damon playing Loki. Perhaps the gag will repeat itself in some fashion with Bale taking on the part. This is perhaps unlikely as a part this small wouldn't necessarily make as big a splash in the news as Bale's involvement in the project has.
Marvel has shown previously that they're willing to bring in people to play themselves in the MCU but also to make references to Hollywood's place in the MCU. Perhaps Bale is taking on the role of Christian Bale in the film, an actor tasked with appearing in a movie based on The Avengers or something to that like. This type of meta-joke would also be right in the wheelhouse of Taika Waititi.