Marvel Comics is about to make a big change to its superhero lineup, reintroducing Thor as a female character debuting this October.
“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss in a press release.
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Technically this isn’t the first time that Thor has been a woman, Jane Foster (the character played by Natalie Portman in the movies) briefly became Thor in one of Marvel’s gender bending What If? comics, but this time the change is permanent. (Thor was also a horse-like thing called Beta Ray Bill for awhile, but that’s another story.)
Marvel, DC trying to increase diversity among comic book characters
It’s no secret that the mainstream comic book industry has a diversity problem. Almost all of the big name characters are white men (Captain America, Wolverine, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Spider-Man…) whose origins go back forty years or more. Marvel and DC have tried to address this by adding new characters, but most of the time they are simply female counterparts to existing male characters (Supergirl, Batgirl, Batwoman) that never get the same level of fan support. Case in point is Thor Girl, also called Thorita, who was introduced in 2000 but is still basically unheard of. Since that tactic hasn’t worked Marvel has decided to try a different approach, replacing some of its main characters with more diverse versions.
“This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before,” says series writer Jason Aaron (caps lock his).
Marvel still has the movie right to Thor, so the new character could make it to the big screen
And this isn’t the first time they’ve made such a bold move. When Marvel introduced black Hispanic teenager Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man in the Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man series some people criticized the company of bowing to political correctness, but the comics were well received and the character has proven to be popular with Peter Parker fans.
Morales hasn’t made it to the big screen, but that’s because Sony, not Marvel, owns the movie right to the character (they sold the rights decades ago and Sony reportedly has no intention of selling them back). But Marvel still owns the rights to Thor, so if the change is as permanent as the announcement suggests there could be a female Thor coming to a theater near you in the next few years.