Avengers: Endgame takes Thor to an emotional low point so dark that he sinks into an existential, alcohol-fuelled depression. It causes the thunder god to go through a drastic physical transformation we don’t see until halfway through the film. When we first see Thor’s new form, it’s initially played for laughs, but as Endgame unfolds, it’s shown to be a reflection of where the character’s at emotionally.
Reactions to Thor’s fat body were mixed for obvious and understandable reasons. For some, Endgame’s jokes that were specifically about Thor’s weight came across fat-phobic and body shaming, while others didn’t see the film’s sense of humour as being malicious considering that Thor’s weight doesn’t actually impact his Avenging.
In a new interview with Variety, Hemsworth explained that at one point during Endgame’s production, it was intended for Thor to lose the weight he gained during the five years after he killed present-day Thanos on his farm. But Hemsworth pushed for the character to retain his bulk because, aside from the 90 or so pounds of prosthetics it took to complete the transformation, he enjoyed the new psychological space it represented for the character. He said, “It was so different than any other way I played the character. And then it took on a life of its own.”
One drawback, though, were the number of people who insisted on touching the actor while he was in costume:
People just kept coming up and cuddling me like a big bear or rubbing my belly like I was pregnant. Or trying to sit on my lap like I was Santa Claus. You get a lot of affection. I felt like an old man, an old grandpa, with a bunch of kids around. And then you get sick of it when people come up and grab your belly. ‘Don’t grab me like that!’ I know how my wife felt when strangers would come up and rub her belly.
It’s odd to think that some of the most complicated character development we’d see for Thor would come by way of his binge drinking himself into The Big Lebowski’s costume department. But it’s even stranger to consider that none of it would have been possible had Hemsworth ended up being cast as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or Duke in the GI Joe franchise, both of which he came close to doing. “At the time I was upset,” Hemsworth told Variety. “I was running out of money. But if I played either of those characters, I wouldn’t have been able to play Thor.”
Just think about the alternate dimension we could be living in right now! The same could be said for how things might have played out if Hemsworth had been a larger part of the rebooted Star Trek franchise after making a brief appearance as George Kirk in 2009. Speaking about his decision not to reprise his role as Kirk in the next Star Trek film, the actor reasoned he simply wasn’t impressed with what the script offered for the character:
I didn’t feel like we landed on a reason to revisit that yet. I didn’t want to be underwhelmed by what I was going to bring to the table.