Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for the movie “Avengers: Endgame”
“Avengers: Endgame” will probably be remembered as one of the most influential movies of the 21st century. The film marks the culmination of over a decade of superhero movies and grossed over $2.7 billion in the box office. In the film, the Avengers face off once more against the mad space warlord Thanos, a villain even more homicidal than Homelander.
At the beginning of the film, things are looking bleak for Earth’s mightiest defenders. After being dealt a crushing blow by Thanos in the previous film, the Avengers have suffered immense psychological and physical changes. One of the most surprising changes is Fat Thor.
The inclusion of Fat Thor into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s bound to be a slew of Fat Thor costumes on Halloween and Fat Thor cosplayers in future conventions. Fat Thor memes, some supportive and some mean, have cropped up since the movie’s release.
Aside from providing new gimmicks, the plus-sized version of the Asgardian hero actually represents many important developments for the character.
Learn why Fat Thor is a vital part of Thor’s character arc and a great addition for representation.
What was Thor’s Story Arc?
Many writers and readers will tell you that stories revolve around different questions. But every story, after you strip it down to its essential components, asks the same question: “Who am I?” Thor’s journey into Fat Thor is an essential culmination of his story so far, being part of his entire arcs of confronting various challenges to his identity.
In the first “Thor” movie, the challenge to the titular character’s identity is can he be himself without the vast powers he enjoys? Because of this loss, Thor realizes that rashness and brute force aren’t the only ways to achieve his goals.
In “Thor: The Dark World,” Thor has to grapple with the fact that doing the right thing may mean going against your duty. In his quest to stop the dark elves (yes, elves exist because this isn’t a hard science universe), Thor goes against Odin’s wishes and breaks Asgardian law in the name of doing the right thing.
By the time of “Thor: Ragnarok,” he has to grapple with consecutive losses of landmarks of his identity. Not only does he discover that Odin has concealed a terrifyingly powerful sister, said sister manages to destroy Mjolnir, Thor’s primary weapon and source of much of his combat prowess. He also loses his father who has been his constant source of wisdom. Finally, he even loses his eye and his home.
Thor may have recovered from all of these losses, but “Avengers: Infinity War” happens before he can even process them. Immediately after watching his home explode, Thor has to watch as Thanos murders his rival and brother Loki. And then, just at the cusp of victory, Thor makes a mistake that costs half the universe’s population.
But Fat Thor may never have come about if not for the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”
How Did Fat Thor Come About?
In the 2019 installment of the Avengers film series, Thor has to grapple with the recent losses in his life. His father, brother and mother are all dead, the former two within the past week. His home has been turned to space rocks.
The people of Asgard, already decimated by Hela’s brief reign, have been culled even further by Thanos in a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in a space horror movie. Mjolnir has been crushed. And despite getting a new and more powerful weapon, Thor failed to stop Thanos from executing half the universe via the infamous Snap.
Thor, and the rest of the Avengers, sorely needed a win at the beginning of the movie. They all thought that they could reverse the effects of the Snap by hunting down Thanos. Unfortunately, by the time the heroes find him, he has already destroyed the Infinity Stones, making it impossible to undo his universal genocide. This turns out to be the final straw for Thor.
When the film picks up again after five years, viewers are introduced to Fat Thor.
The Asgardian god has let go, overindulging in beer and fattening food while spending his days watching cable and playing video games. Fat Thor’s figure is often used for comedic relief, as well as his generally despondent and depressed attitude.
Viewers may never have the joy of cosplaying Fat Thor if Chris Hemsworth himself hadn’t insisted in keeping the rotund build. Hemsworth said he enjoyed the fact that Thor isn’t always depicted as a buff muscular man but that he can change. He also received positive reactions from people around set and enjoyed playing the heavy-set deity.
Why Was Fat Thor Important?
Although many people may assume that the inclusion and retention of a heavy-set Thor only persisted because Marvel wanted to sell Fat Thor costumes, his appearance throughout the movie is actually important.
The Lebowski-lookalike Asgardian contributes the following positive themes to the movie.
Heroism is a Mindset not Muscles
Marvel heroes all share the same athletic build, with slight deviation. Fat Thor showcases that being a hero doesn’t require massive pecs and shredded abs. Thor, even though he knows he isn’t in prime physical fitness, still confronted Thanos without hesitation. During the climactic battle, he is right in the fray and contributes heavily to defeat the galactic warlord.
It’s OK to Grieve
Thor’s weight gain is showcased as a side effect of his grieving process not only for his brother Loki, but for everyone he has lost along the way. Too often in movies, manly men aren’t shown properly grieving their loss.
Men in movies may be shed a single dramatic tear before looking dourly at the sunset. Fat Thor tells the audience that its okay to let go of yourself when you are feeling down that it is natural to be sad after so much pain and loss.
You are Worthy
One of the most critical moments in the film is when Fat Thor time travels to Asgard shortly before his mother’s death. Although in the past, Thor has a stirring heart to heart with his mother, who reaffirms that he is a hero.
As a final piece of proof that Thor, no matter his weight and appearance, is a good man, he summons Mjolnir which, after a delay, soars into his palm. His elated expression at confirming that he is still worthy is the source of many heartwarming and hilarious Fat Thor memes.
Finally, Fat Thor provides at least some form of representation for plus-sized people within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In a world where everyone seems to spend half the time inside the gym, seeing Thor with his beer belly laying waste to armies and keeping up with the likes of supersoldiers sends a positive message to audiences everywhere.
Just as Asami Sato shows that beauty isn’t the only thing about her, Fat Thor’s figure highlights how anyone can be a hero.
Is Fat Thor a perfect addition and representation? Definitely not. Throughout the movie, he is constantly fat shamed by his peers. Rocket the Raccoon even ignores Thor’s obvious mental distress at one point and tells him to do the same.
Although Thor’s beer belly won’t reappear in “Thor: Love and Thunder” his inclusion in the movies, however briefly, was still an important and positive experience.