MCU Sequel Pitch: Thor 5: Hel and Back

This is a pitch for a direct sequel to Thor: Love and Thunder, in part to fix what didn’t quite work in that movie, in part just positing where the story goes from here. It isn’t connected to or assumed to be in continuity with my pitch for the Incredible Hercules (or my other Marvel pitches more generally). Many of the characters are the same, and I’d certainly pitch trying to bring in characterization along those lines, because Hercules can be a really fun, somewhat ridiculous character in his own right, if he doesn’t get pigeon-holed into a villain role, and has historically been one of the Avengers.

This will, obviously, have spoilers for the latest Thor movie. Watch that first, if you’re worried about that.

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We open cold, on Valkyrie and Jane in bed together. “That was… unexpected,” Jane says. “I came here looking for magic, but…”

“Not to be full of myself, but that felt magical to me,” Valkyrie replies, and Jane blushes.

“No, I’m… I’m sick. Dying. Even now, I can feel it…” Valkyrie pulls Jane to her, and holds her, stroking her shoulder. A tear slides down Valkyrie’s cheek; she’s not ready for another tragic romance. We zoom into the tear, then out of another sliding down her cheek.

We’re modern-day, now. Valkyrie is sitting in an Asgardian pub, and wipes the tear away before polishing off her beer. She stands up, wobbles, and falls over. Her assistant helps her up, and helps carry her out. Now, personally, I would place Lady Sif as the assistant… but she could be an entirely new character if we want. Either way, my intention is to set her up as a potential love interest for Valkyrie. We cut to the Marvel logo.

The next morning, in Valkyrie’s office. She pours a bottle of beer into a mug to drink. Her assistant is looking at her, and she shrugs. “Hair of the dog.”

The assistant kicks a bottle on the floor, one of many. “Pretty sure you’ve polished off the whole litter at this point- enough to make a whole coat.” Because I’m a Disney nerd as well as a Marvel one, I’d have there be, in total, 99 bottles, one for each Dalmatian puppy.

“Who,” Valkyrie tries to get up to make her point, but sways, falling back into her chair. “Who do you think you are? Questioning your sovereign?”

“Asgard is a people- and my concern is for them- not for the ass on the throne.” Valkyrie knows that she’s calling her an ass, not just referring to her ass, and tries to get up to throw her weight around, but again falls, this time knocking her wheeled chair spinning out from behind her desk as she falls to the floor.

Excitedly a guard runs into the room. “Highness!” They exclaim, before realizing Valkyrie isn’t behind her desk. “Highness?” Valkyrie holds up a finger above the desk, as if telling them she needs a moment. There’s scuffling, awkward scuffling as she tries to get up without using that hand, clearly struggling, before the assistant steps in.

“Tell me,” she says. “We’ll get it sorted.” They say it’s an Olympian, making trouble along Asgard’s border. The guard leaves.

“I’m on it,” Valkyrie says, trying to get up, but not quite able. “In a minute.”

“I’ve got it,” her assistant says, and calls Thor.

Thor arrives at the border with his young Thor Girl, to find Asgardians beaten and wounded, and trolls rampaging. The pair makes quick work of the trolls. There’s a tear in the fabric of reality, smashed there by Hercules’ mallet, which trolls continue to push through. There are 3 basic solutions: if we want, we can have Dr. Strange or America Chavez show up to fix the tear; it can heal on its own once there are no longer trolls holding it open, or Thor can use Stormbreaker to seal the rift (essentially the reverse of the Bifrost).

One of the guards gives Thor a scroll from Hercules, challenging him at a time and place. He largely shrugs- unconcerned over a pissed off Olympian. Right now he has more concern over Valkyrie. He drops Thor Girl off with Valkyrie’s assistant, before taking Valkyrie out for brunch.

Valkyrie stares into her beer, and we zoom into it, and out of a different beer Jane, now the Mighty Thor, is pouring for her. Jane hands it to her, and she’s about to drink it, before stopping, and setting it down. “You’re amazing,” Valkyrie says. “Beautiful, but so strong. I could love you so easily… but I couldn’t stand to lose you.” She strokes Jane’s cheek.

“It’s okay,” Jane gingerly kisses her forehead, “I think what I need right now is a friend.” Valkyrie takes Jane’s hand as we zoom back into and out of the beer. Valkyrie is still staring, until Thor snaps her out of it. I think everyone has taken to calling her “Val” because she hasn’t told them her real name- she’s still that closed off.

Valkyrie, clearly still deep in her feelings, tries to pivot to something lighter, breezier. “So how has fatherhood treated the Lord of Thunder?”

His eyes narrow, but he recognizes the “Lord” part as her teasing him about their meeting on Sakaar. “Oh… it’s given me a new appreciation for what Loki and I put our parents through, but also, for why they put up with the pair of us.” Now I want this to be an important moment for Thor. I think we’ve pushed him too far into an arrogant, oblivious direction… so it’s something of a correction. “But I didn’t ask you here to talk about me or my daughter. I wanted to speak, about this morning.”

“Have you never arrived to battle hungover? Or still drunk? I could have handled it.” She’s trying to convince herself far more than Thor.

“I’m not here to lecture. I’m here because I owe you an apology. After we lost in Wakanda, I couldn’t take care of Asgard. I couldn’t take care of myself. You held our people together when no one else could have…”

We linger a moment, as one possibility dawns on her. “You can’t fire me,” she says… but she almost wants him to, so she can get back to drinking her pain away.

“No. I wouldn’t dream of it. But I’m sorry I wasn’t here for you while you were here for Asgard. I’m sorry I didn’t see how much you were hurting. I know what it is to crumble under too much weight.” He puts a hand on her shoulder. “You don’t have to bear it alone.” She starts to lift her glass, before setting it down and pushing it away. It’s slow, but she folds into him.

“I miss Jane,” Valkyrie says.

“Me, too,” he says, and pats her shoulder. I imagine we use some of The Eagles Hotel California as we transition.

We zoom again into the beer, but this time when we zoom out, we’re in an entirely different place, filled with bright light and white halls. We’re in Valhalla. Jane takes a drink from her beer, but it’s daintier. “Seem to have lost some of your appetite,” Heimdall teases her.

“The longer I’m here, the less in touch with the Thor I was I become.”

“I wondered if paradise was losing its luster.”

Is this paradise? The food’s good, the company better. But it’s just a place. Like staying in a nice hotel-but one you can never leave.”

“And what if I said you could?”

“Is the alternative entropy, or nonexistence?”

“That is the subject of some debate, seeing as it’s all entirely theoretical.”

Her scientific curiosity is piqued, and she’s becoming more animated. “So there’s a door, and no one knows what’s on the other side of it.”

“So far as we know, no one’s ever gone through. There is some concern that it’s a one way trip- if we leave, we can’t come back. And where do dead heroes go if Valhalla is closed to them?” He lets the question linger. “And some,” we pan over some heroes who are having a gay old time, likely the Warriors 3, “have simply fought as long as they want, and are happy for the rest. But I’m not done; I have a son to raise. And I’m getting the sense you’ve more adventures left in you.”

“What do you need from me?” she asks.

We cut back to Asgard. Personally, I’d like to have this fight in and around the statue of Jane as Mighty Thor in Asgard, but you could set it in the same place as Thor fought trolls earlier. Valkyrie’s assistant, who I’m just going to call Sif on the assumption we’re using her for it, is there, with Thor Girl. “Should we have brought a child to a fight?” Sif asks.

“We were no older than her when we started fighting frost giants,” Thor says.

“And you’ve never recovered from all the blows to the head,” Sif quips.

“Besides, she has the most capable minder in Asgard. Not a woman alive I’d trust more with her safety.”

We cut to Valhalla, and the woman no longer living he’d trust more. Jane and Heimdall have assembled a team for a breakout, including the Enchantress… and an unknown Asgardian lass who we will eventually come to know by the name Angela. The Warriors 3 distract some Valkyries who are watching a door with ornate runes carved into it. Now, my preference would be for us to pay Rene Russo to come back as Frigga, and have her use rune magic to open the door, acting as the final member of their little escape attempt (maybe hidden until the last second under a hooded cloak). But if we’re using this to bring along Enchantress, she could work, or literally grab someone and say they, too, know rune magic. They open the door, and it’s blackness beyond. Jane hesitates, as much because it’s empty as because it’s clear Frigga isn’t coming with them. But eventually she tells Jane to go- to give Thor her love.

Back in Asgard, other Asgardians gather. It’s… not that odd for gods from other pantheons to challenge an Asgardian, Thor in particular. They had largely sporting relations between them. There’s even concessions, one beer-slinger stopping to offer Valkyrie her usual mead. She opens her mouth, reaching, before looking to Thor. He gives her a gentle, encouraging look, and she says, “None for me, today.” He’s confused, but moves along. Thor gives her a smile, and she’s… a little awkward. Mostly because she’s not really tried coping sober and it’s harder than it looks.

Hercules arrives. He uses his mallet similarly to how America Chavez from Doctor Strange 2 uses her fists, punching holes in reality. He swaggers through one, onto the battlefield. “Asgardian,” he points his mallet at Thor, “you have stolen from Olympus, and tarnished the name of Zeus. I would have you answer this disrespect.”

Thor sighs. “I’d honestly rather not.” Hercules is just… baffled. “I have a daughter.” He points to Thor Girl on the sidelines. “And while I believe in teaching her that some trials must be met with martial force, that is an option of final resort, not first. Real heroes use their words.”

“Confounding Asgardian!” Hercules bellows, charging and swinging his mallet.

Where things get spicy is, like last time, Hercules’ entrance tore a hole the trolls can get through. At first, Asgardian guards and Thor Girl mop them up, but not only do smaller trolls stream out at a faster pace, but their big bruiser, Ulik, shoves through. That’s when Valkyrie enters the fray. “I haven’t fought sober since I lost…” she pauses, and more quietly adds, “my heart.”

“It’s easier to hit an opponent when you’re not seeing double,” Thor says, grappling Hercules. Throughout the fight, Thor rallies her with encouraging words, and in the process wins over Hercules, who recognizes in him the heart of a wise and noble warrior, to the point of ending hostilities.

Hercules glowers. “I know Zeus to be vainglorious. I’ll not bloody a noble soul to salve his wounded pride. I yield- though I do not surrender.” Hercules joins them in turning their attentions to Ulik. He takes a licking, and it requires all of them wailing on him to drive him back through the portal.

But this time the portal doesn’t close, not until dead Loki claws his way out of it (looking earily like he did after his death at Thanos’ hands). He’s escaped the underworld to tell Thor that Jane is there- but that things don’t look good for her. Hades is aware of her, and closing in. If he wants to save her, he needs to do it, now. As he finishes delivering the message, a hand large enough grab him in its fist pulls Loki back into the underworld, and the portal shuts behind him.

“I’ve had many a glorious adventure in the underworld,” Hercules brags. “I feel in your debt, for the trouble caused. If it would restore my honor, I would gladly escort you through Hades’ halls. It’s been too long since I kicked him in his rancid toga.”

“So we’re going to Hel?” Valkyrie asks.

“The underworld, but yes,” Hercules says.

“And you’re bringing the child, aren’t you?” Sif asks.

“I was smaller than her, the first time I went to Hades,” Hercules brags.

“Frigga help us, now there’s two of them,” Valkyrie says. Hercules smashes a new portal. “I’m a queen,” she says. “I’m not walking.” It’s playful, not us turning her posh.

We cut back to Jane and Heimdall. I’m imagining sort of a barren forest, jagged, deformed, dried out trees scraping at the blackened sky (there are stars to light it, but they are more distant and their light weaker than the stars we know). Their band is quiet, because they know they’re in hostile territory, even if they don’t know it’s technically the Olympian underworld. They’re set upon by shades (we could, if we have money to burn, use CGI for dead villains in this fight- ones who could reasonably be in Hades). Angela is surprisingly adept at fighting. But for all their skill and vigor, it’s clear they’re being overwhelmed. Then we hear music start up, and Heimdall looks to the horizon. “What in Odin’s name is that?” Heimdall asks, squinting with his magic eyes.

“That’s our ride,” Jane says with a wide smile. We cut to the portal Hercules smashed, and the goats pulling the ship scream, for a moment in time with the singer screaming in a song before the music turns up (I’m specifically thinking the scream from AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, which might be worth bringing back, but it’s hardly the only song with that kind of scream in it). The ship flies through the air, and the heroes knock back skeletal pegasi as they fly, before the heroes all jump down to Jane’s group.

Valkyrie is surprised Thor jumped with them. “I thought you were staying to land the ship,” she says. In the background, we see the ship crash, and hear the goats scream (just their usual scream, not implying any actual harm comes to them). Thor winces. “I’m sure it’s fine.”

The heroes all band together fighting shades. At one point, Thor Girl is knocked back, landing somewhere behind Jane, with Mjolnir landing at Jane’s feet. Jane picks up the hammer, and transforms into the Mighty Thor, knocking back the shade that had knocked down Thor Girl. By then, Thor Girl has recovered, and Jane tries to hand her the hammer back. Thor Girl holds out her hand to take it, but the hammer essentially splits; Jane’s is hollow, the center portion forming Thor Girl’s smaller (but proportional) Mjolnir. And not a minute too soon, as Hades arrives. I’d go big, burning blue guy in a toga. He should resemble the Disney version enough that Thor Girl will throw one of his catch phrases at him as she attacks him first (also, how damn adorable would that be, the littlest Thor flying right at the big bad through the rest of the fighting?). I’m thinking something like, “Let’s get ready to rumble” or even “Hades, Lord of the dead, hi, how ya doing?” before smacking him right in the face with her hammer. I might even go so far as to have the kid take the name ‘Meg’ from the movie’s heroine (Waititi does seem to dislike naming characters…).

As the others beat back shades, the three Thors beat on Hades. Hades pulls a deal out of his toga: that he’ll let Thor take Jane, or he can have his brother, Loki, holding the Loki shade in the palm of his hand. Thor just isn’t playing that game. “I’ll get Jane safely away from you, but I’m coming back for my brother,” he says, pointing Stormbreaker at him. Hades is worried, since that makes it a lot more likely he loses all the marbles, and so orders all his forces to attack. I’m going to say the Loki shade stabs Hades and escapes to fight with them, before he steps between Thor and a fatal stabbing from behind by Hades. The Loki shade disappears into a dust of stars (as Frigga did in Dark World and Odin in Ragnarok), and Heimdall smiles, because he knows exactly where Loki’s gone. During the fighting Valkyrie is a beast; she’s gotten really good with Thunderbolt, but during a pause, Angela gasps. “Runa?”

Valkyrie’s confused. “Nobody’s called me that since,” as she turns, she’s mobbed by Angela, who absolutely smothers her in kisses. “But you’re…” We probably hear it in her voice, but we flash for a moment to the absolutely gorgeous slow-motion moments from Ragnarok, and see Angela taking a stabbing that was headed for our Valkyrie, whose name we’re only just finding out is Runa.

“I’m here,” Angela assures her. “Death herself couldn’t keep me from you- not for long.”

Moved by all of their reunions, Hercules offers to keep Hades busy while the rest of them escape, seemingly sacrificing himself. Heimdall leads them out of the underworld, Stormbreaker proving able to cleave them a path away when they reach the right spot.

We’re likely going to need more of an epilogue than these stories tend to get, because we’re tying up a lot of loose threads. Angela is there, as Valkyrie pours the booze down the drain in their new place. It’s a meaningful moment for Runa, but Angela… Angela just can’t keep her eyes off her. She goes to her, and they kiss. This is a kiss three movies in the making. It better be a showstopper.

We go to Heimdall’s home. I’m assuming his wife survived, and he reunites with her, and with his brave son from Love and Thunder. It might pay instead to set this scene somewhere public, so Heimdall’s son could run off to play with Korg’s kid, and Heimdall could smile at Korg and his partner.

We cut to the Thor family. I’d put them in the odd little pod from the end of Love and Thunder. Thor tells Jane, half-joking. “We have a daughter,” introducing her to Love.

“We?” she deadpans.

“You know how when two people adopt a kitten together. Just because one of them goes to Valhalla for a few years before returning to life, it doesn’t mean they don’t have any responsibility for the kitten.”

Years?” she asks.

“It’s been several.”

She totters under the wight of the idea. “It felt like days…”

“It felt like decades…” he says, and brushes her hair back.

“I missed you,” she says, curling into him.

“I missed you, too.”

“So I guess it’s my turn to change out the litter box.”

Thor Girl stomps angrily. “You told me I had to go to the toilet!” she says angrily.

“I’m not having this argument again,” Thor says. “When you’re outdoors, if you want to use the sand, fine. But I refuse to have a bucket of sand for a toilet indoors. Never again.” Jane gives him a confused look. “I had an odd childhood, growing up with Loki.”

We fade to black. “The Thors will return in Thor: Ride of the Valkyries” then go to credits.

Mid-credits scene

Hades falls, limp, to the ground. “Already down?” Hercules mocks, a little winded, but otherwise jolly. “Last time, I swear you lasted at least twice as long. I actually feel a little guilty, like maybe I should have held back, if just to protect your ego.” Hercules shrugs, then uses his mallet to smack another hole in reality to leave.

But we linger on Hades in the foreground. He stirs, starting to rise as we pull back, muttering about Hercules, when he is stabbed through the back with a black sword.

“No, don’t get up, I’ll seat myself.” We match cut, Hades’ head in a similar position in frame, as we pull back, to reveal Hela seated on the throne in the underworld. “Better to rule here,” she says to the head like she’s talking to Yorick’s skull, “but I don’t have to tell you.” She unceremoniously chucks the skull offscreen, and we cut back to more credits.

More credits, then an end credits scene

Loki arrives at Valhalla. He’s met by his mother, who embraces him. “My son,” she says. “I’m so proud to embrace you here. I knew I would, in time…”

If we have Frigga, I’d end it there, because that’s a really sweet conclusion to his arc.

But if not, I’d have him greeted by the Warriors 3. They lead him inside the hall, and relate that there’s a possible way out, if a dangerous one. Loki claps one of them on the back and says he’d like to hear more, but first he’s going to sit down and have a well-earned drink. Alternate line that’s probably too far, but would likely be worth the price of admission just to see Tom Hiddleston say it: “First I’m going to drink enough ale to seduce a horse,” because referencing Loki giving birth to an 8-legged horse is absolutely the second best note to end on.

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