Thor Play: What’s next for Chris Hemsworth after Avengers: Endgame?
The clock is ticking. In just three months, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will finally get to see the ultimate conclusion of the (current) saga in Avengers: Endgame. While anticipation is high to see just how the world’s greatest superheroes bounce back from having half the universe destroyed by mega space villain Thanos, in real life, many are wondering just which of the actors are bidding farewell to the franchise in this valedictory epic.
For a while now, rumours have abounded that it may be the last big screen outing for Chris Evans (Captain America) and Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man). What, though, of that other pillar of the Marvel Universe, the Mighty Thor, as played by Chris Hemsworth in three solo outings and three titanic Avengers team-ups? It’s a fair question. While we know that the character survived the apocalyptic events of last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, we don’t know if the upcoming blockbuster will see the exiled God hang up his legendary hammer for good.
Since Thor burst into cinemas in 2011, Chris Hemsworth has become wholly synonymous with the mighty Norse God. Given his statuesque physique and blonde locks, it’s a role he seemed born to play. It’s also a part that propelled him from being a little-known soap star in Australia to becoming the world’s fourth highest-earning actor, taking home some US$64.5 million last year, according to Forbes magazine.
In order to find success in Hollywood, however, he had to travel a good deal further than most – some 12,800 kilometres to be exact. Born on 11 August 1983 in Melbourne to Craig, a counsellor, and Leonie, a teacher, Chris was the second of three sons. Growing up between stints in Melbourne and extended stays in the wilds of the country’s Outback, one thing was clearly seared into his memory – the relative poverty of the semi-nomadic Hemsworth family.
It was this grim reality that fuelled his resolve to become an actor. It was an ambition he shared with his two brothers – Luke and Liam – both successful actors in their own right. Indeed, it was elder brother Luke who got Chris his first break – a guest spot on Neighbours. It was, however, a rival soap –Home and Away – that brought him lasting local fame. However, he quit the soap after three years back in 2007, announcing he was heading off to Hollywood on a mission to make or break his career.
His first break came when he was cast as George Kirk, father of the far-better-known James T, in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek. As Kirk Senior dies in the movie’s opening minutes, it was, however, never destined to be a recurring role. It was another two years, though, before he got the career-defining opportunity to bring the God of Thunder to life.
With Thor as his calling card, his days of uncertain employment were over. Aside from his MCU commitments, he was soon taking the lead in other big budget productions, including Snow White and the Huntsman, Red Dawn and Rush.
Such success, though, was not without its costs. In particular, he was dogged by industry gossip that his wife, Spanish actress Elsa Patsky was struggling to come to terms with her husband’s new superstar status and his prolonged absences from his Byron Bay, Australia home and family, especially his three young children – India, Sasha and Tristan – due to his busy filming schedule.
But this period of constant commuting may soon come to an end for Chris Hemsworth, largely on account of the Heir of Asgard not necessarily featuring in plans for the next phase of the MCU. While Thor’s ultimate fate won’t be known until 24 April – when Endgame hits a megaplex near you – the fact that his multi-picture Marvel contract expires this year is well known. So far, the actor’s comments on his post-Endgame career have been tantalizingly non-committal, with the 35-year-old saying: “I may even take a whole year off. Maybe, it’s time I cashed in and checked out.”
Many, though, see the actor as being a little disingenuous. There is, indeed, no real reason for him to hang up his hammer, with every possibility that Thor could return as the elder statesman of the MCU in many instalments yet to come. Even if he doesn’t, Chris Hemsworth has already signed up to take the lead in the reboot of Men in Black, the high-tech alien-hunting comedy franchise. When you have the stature of Hemsworth – both literally and figuratively – there’s always going to be some franchise that wants you on its books.
Text: Tenzing Thondup