From Batman to ???1 of 9
Thor: Love & Thunder co-star Tessa Thompson has seemingly confirmed what was 2020's first major superhero movie casting rumor and even went a step further, claiming matter-of-factly Christian Bale will play the villain in the 2021 fourth chapter of the MCU franchise.
So while the obvious speculation surrounding the once-Batman’s entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been focused on characters germane to Thor mythology - Cul and Beta Ray Bill have been bandied about - with Thompson's reveal we're going to try (foreshadowing) to stick to villains.
So here’s a stab at potential Thor/Marvel villains we’d love to see Bale take on… including some not-so-obvious choices ... and one ... well, frankly ... cheat.
Dario Agger2 of 9
A key villain during Jane Foster's time as Thor, Dario Agger is a literal minotaur - as in the half-man-half-bull of Greek mythology - who masquerades in human form as the ruthless CEO of Roxxon, driven to literally destroy the environment out of greed.
A timely villain indeed - and though he's not so well known outside the Thor mythos, his Roxxon connections could poise Dario Agger as a presence in the MCU for some time - especially with a heavy-hitter like Christian Bale in the role.
Bale has the menace to pull-off Agger's bloodthirsty boardroom style, while also shifting into high gear in his minotaur form to pose a physical threat to the Blood and Thunder's heroes.
Gorr, the God-Butcher3 of 9
The major villain of Jason Aaron's opening Thor story (that indirectly led to Jane Foster eventually becoming Thor) was Gorr the God-Butcher, an alien warrior from a dead world who sought to slay every god in existence out of vengeance.
To do this, he seized All-Black, the Necrosword, a powerful cosmic weapon (with ties to the Venom mythos, hmm...) capable of slaying even the mighty Thor.
While it's a bit unlikely to envision Bale in a totally CGI role, he could absolutely pull-off the savage intensity needed for a villain out for the blood of every single Asgardian - and every other so-called god in the Marvel Universe.
It's not a leap to image Thor dying at the hands of Gorr as his MCU send-off... Aaron's Thor finale King Thor pitted Thor and Gorr against each other in one final battle for all.
Doctor Doom4 of 9
Switching gears a bit...
It remains to be seen whether Marvel is going to try to replicate the success they achieved with the Thanos-Infinity Stones throughline of the studio's first three phases. But if they want another villain to anchor a decade-long story arc we’ve already argued why Doctor Doom would be the sensible choice.
Gravitas is Doom’s #1 calling card and there’s little doubt Bale could ace the combo of nobility and narcissism that makes the monarch of Latveria so compelling.
While he might be a tough squeeze into director Taika Waititi's more off-beat sensibilities, at this early stage we can’t help but entertain the idea of Bale as the MCU villain to occupy the heroes for years to come and making his debut in Love and Thunder.
Kang the Conqueror5 of 9
Marvel’s villainous master of time is more of less a cosmic-tilted Doom, but given they cracked the door wide open to time travel in Avengers: Endgame and the MCU is headed full-on into exploring the multiverse, Kang rings some potential Phase 4 bells.
He’d be more at home (at least to debut) in the more cosmic-oriented Thor franchise and, well, if Bale could pull off Doom’s noble villainy, we’d be there for his take on this Marvel monarch as well.
But Bale or not, please Marvel, streamline Kang's backstory.
Namor6 of 9
Someday we’ll write a piece on MCU Atlantians potentially being separatist Asgardians, but for now we've got to throw out another of Marvel’s greatest and most iconic untapped characters, who also straddles the line between noble warrior and occasional villain - Namor the Sub-Mariner.
As we say, there’s a longer, yet-written piece to come that would better broach Namor’s place in a Thor sequel - but once again, Bale is almost built in a lab to pull off Namor’s over-the-top regal arrogance smashed with heroism whereas most other actors could stray too far into camp.
And a Bale-Namor would also do what Namor does best, provide a genuine romantic rival (in this case to Jane) for the main Marvel hero.
Bale's also known for making physical transformations for his roles - meaning a bulk-up for one of comic books' most infamously shirtless characters could be well in hand for the actor.
Reed Richards7 of 9
… and speaking Namor and romantic rivals, we're going to switch gears just a little bit and throw out a suggestion we couldn't help mulling.
Consider this a bonus detour entry.
Now there’s pros and cons to introducing Fantastic Four characters in an established franchise before their own debut, but for speculative purposes let’s entertain the pro for a moment (and remember, Jane Foster is a physicist, so there's room for a new colleague to be introduced...)
Unlike Namor and Doom, Reed doesn’t straddle the line between noble heroism and villainy, but that said we think the best version of Reed straddles the line between hero and a-hole.
Our mind’s eye version of Reed is someone so intelligent and so devoted to his immediate family his social skills with everyone else leave much to be desired.
Bale, again, has the tools to pull off sympathetic and dynamic though occasionally unlikable - and he'd nail Reed's out there grasp of super-science.
Mephisto8 of 9
Back to villains...
Often depicted as the Marvel Comics equivalent of the Christian devil, Mephisto is as charismatic as he is darkly destructive - and covetous of Thor's godlike soul.
Who better than Christian Bale to play the proverbial devil himself, able to swing from scenery chewing villain to dominant physical presence in an instant - and to potentially embrace the character's longtime connections to the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange, and more in the wider MCU.
What if Mephisto got his clutches on Thor's soul (as he's so often tried in comic books) leaving Jane Foster to take up Mjolnir and the mantle of Thor?
We'd also be remiss not to mention that Mephisto joining the MCU would give a comic-book-centric solution to that little snafu with Spider-Man's secret identity getting out...
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