Thor: Love and Thunder is rebuilding Asgard, but it will be difficult to bring it back without undermining the lessons learned from its destruction in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame. Director Taika Waititi is currently in the middle of production for his next MCU film. After getting significantly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, production has been going smoothly for a few months, with various set images making their way online, offering an idea about what to expect from the sequel. Among the latest images reveal that the movie will see the return of old Asgard.
Subsequent images reveal that it will be part of another theater scene similar to the dramatization of Loki’s fake death in Thor: The Dark World; only this time, it will be Odin’s demise. This confirms that, whatever else is happening in this backdrop, it will be set after the real Asgard was destroyed at the end of Ragnarok. Since the remaining Asgardians have relocated to Earth following their home world’s destruction, there’s also a chance they’re trying to mimic the look of their old kingdom in their new settlement.
While this might sound like a great idea to help them feel more at home, it undercuts the idea that Asgard is not a place, it’s a people, which was a strong theme in both Ragnarok and Endgame. In Ragnarok, Thor was motivated to save Asgard from being destroyed after getting visions that the Surtur will kick off the events of Ragnarok. It was only later on, during his spiritual conversation with Odin at his lowest moment while fighting Hela, that he realized that he was focused on saving the wrong Asgard. Instead of having an attachment to the actual location, he needed to take care of its people. This ultimately gave him the idea of intentionally starting Ragnarok to defeat the Goddess of Death and ensure the safety of his citizens, as wherever they may next go, they will be Asgard, as long as Asgardian people remained.
The idea is emphasized, albeit more subtly, in Endgame. In the brief time the Joe and Anthony Russo film was in New Asgard, it’s revealed the Asgardians were making do with what they had. While their supposed king was non-functioning, as he tried to shut himself down from responsibility following his catastrophic mistake in Avengers: Infinity War, they seemed to be doing well, partly thanks to Valkyrie for taking charge of the situation. While it looked like a simple fishing town, the fact that they appeared to be thriving highlighted the fact that this was still Asgard, because it’s where Thor’s people were; they don’t have to rebuild it with grand stages and palatial constructions to make it feel like home.
Interestingly, while Thor: Ragnarok spent its time destroying signature elements of the God of Thunder’s sub-franchise in an effort to send a message that it was a new beginning, Thor: Love and Thunder appears to be bringing them back. Aside from restoring old Asgard, Mjölnir is also back on set. While it did appear in Avengers: Endgame, Captain America eventually returned it to its original time setting at the end of the same movie. It’s unclear how the magical hammer factors into the story, but just like Asgard being rebuilt, it undermines the lessons Thor has learned after Hela crushed it with her bare hands.