Director Taika Waititi was writing the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder movie when his young daughter looked over his shoulder and asked, “Daddy, what’s a shadow demon?”
Waititi had no idea.
Waititi took the shot at work and the development team created a 3D rendering that would eventually become the monster seen in a pivotal scene with actor Christian Bale, who plays the antagonist Gorr the God Butcher.
Realizing it was a good idea, Waititi asked Bale’s kids and Natalie Portman’s kids (who plays Mighty Thor/Jane Foster) to do the same, eventually designing many of the monsters from the movie.
Thor: Love and Thunder is the fourth Thor film and the second to star Waititi after the critically acclaimed 2017 Ragnarok.
For this film, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor goes through a sort of midlife crisis, where he feels a little lost and wonders what he wants to do.
His ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster, comes into the picture, she’s transformed into Mighty Thor and wields Thor’s original hammer Mjonir, further complicating matters.
“It just made sense – Jane Foster in the comic books is so strong and she’s really the love of his life,” Waititi said, adding that he wanted to bring Jane back in a meaningful way that would develop the characters.
“It was really cool to see 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 latest film that she has agency and a pivotal role in the plot.
Foster joins other recent female superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel.
“The idea of superheroes, of all those traditional images that we know — just muscular guys and underwear and spandex — that’s kind of gone out the window now and it could be anything.”
Waititi said Portman wanted to come back after Ragnarok was released because it was so different from the other Thor movies.
“I think she saw that and thought… ‘I would love to play in that environment and be a superhero too and not just be the girl on the side’. I think that was the most important thing.”