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Marvel Phase 5: MCU Theory Reveals How Gorr Sets Up Thanos’ Replacement

By Mabel Judith Andrady
June 15,2022

After Thanos’s death, fans wonder who the MCU’s next major villain will be. One theory suggests that Thor: Love & Thunder’s antagonist, Gorr the God Butcher, lays the groundwork for Phase 5’s Thanos replacement. The highly-anticipated Phase 4 of the MCU not only introduces new characters and events but also continues the stories of established heroes like Thor, who is returning with his fourth solo movie.

Thor: Love & Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi, will reunite fans with the God of Thunder as he seeks solace in the wake of the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. To prevent Gorr the God Butcher from destroying the entire pantheon of deities, Thor must once again take the field with the assistance of Valkyrie, Korg, and Jane Foster, now known as Mighty Thor. Additionally, Zeus, king of the Olympians, and Lady Sif, Guardian of the Galaxy, will appear in Thor: Love & Thunder.

Thor: Love & Thunder is one of the most anticipated films of 2022 for many reasons, and much anticipation and speculation surrounds Gorr’s role in the film and the MCU as a whole. There hasn’t been a villain like Gorr in the MCU before, and his appearance may be setting up Phase 5’s real Thanos replacement, Knull, a villain so powerful that he could give the MCU’s heroes a fight they won’t soon forget.

In-Depth Analysis of Knull’s Comic Book Background

The Symbiote God, Knull to appear in Thor: Love and Thunder?

Knull, a god of the underworld with ancient origins, first appeared in Marvel’s Venom volume 4, issue 3, in 2018. Knull is commonly associated with Venom and Carnage because he created the Symbiote and Exolon races and the All-Black Necrosword. Knull claimed to rule over and be the avatar of the primordial void that separated the sixth and seventh universes, where he had his origins. Knull is a God of the Void, but he is not the primordial darkness itself. When the Celestials conquered his kingdom of darkness, he was awakened by the Light and used it to forge the first symbiote, the All-Black Necrosword. Knull then refined the blade using the head’s power, establishing a metaphysical link between the primordial symbiote and himself that would become the primary source of his strength.

After the theft of the All-Black, Knull became a feared figure and was exiled to an unidentified planet, where he continued to experiment with his powers and eventually learned that he could summon amorphous parasites from the shadows and fuse them with “lesser creatures.”

After that, Knull gathered a fleet of Symbiote Dragons and began conquering worlds, and it was on one of these missions he first encountered young Thor. Knull went on killing gods and enslaving people, but his meeting with Thor severed his link to the symbiote hive mind, causing the symbiotes to disperse across the universe, bond with good-natured hosts, and eventually rise up in rebellion against Knull.

How Gorr Prepares the Way for Knull’s MCU Debut

Is Christian Bale's Gorr The God Butcher A Symbiote

In Thor: Love & Thunder, we meet Gorr, who has a deep history with Knull and whose introduction could serve as a convenient setup for his appearance. Knull created the first symbiote and the All-Black Necrosword and went on a killing spree, crashing into an unnamed planet along the way. When All-Black was incapacitated while fighting the gods in golden armor, he abandoned Knull and forged an alliance with Gorr, who had followed in Knull’s footsteps.

While using the All-Black, Gorr killed one of the gods in golden armor and swore vengeance against all gods for ignoring his prayers. Gorr took All-Black with him on his many missions to destroy gods, and the symbiote played a crucial role in Gorr’s most destructive scheme: the Godbomb, a moon-sized munition that would have dispersed the symbiote’s eldritch shadows across the time and space, eradicating every god who ever existed or ever would exist.

Now, the Thor: Love & Thunder trailers and teasers have briefly shown Gorr using a white sword, though its speculation that this was digitally altered for the trailer, so there is a possibility that this will be the All-Black just like in the comics – and if Gorr is using the All-Black in Love & Thunder, then Knull remains in the MCU. In addition, Knull’s arrival is set up by introducing the Ebony Blade, which was teased in the post-credits scene of Spider-Man: No Way Home and is described as a “symbiotic divine weapon with the ability to damage worlds” by Knull himself.

Phase 5’s Superior Villain

Gorr Faces Off Thor And The Asgardians In New Promo Art For Thor 4

There have been many speculations about who will replace Thanos as the MCU’s main antagonist, with Kang the Conqueror and Galactus being the most popular candidates, but I think Knull would be a better villain for the MCU’s Phase 5 films. Although having Kang as the main antagonist would keep with the MCU’s current “multiverse” theme, Knull’s connection to symbiotes opens the door for storylines revolving around and including symbiotes and thus allows the MCU and Sony’s Spider-Man Universe to merge again after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Knull is unlike any other character the MCU’s heroes have encountered because he is an eldritch god and is portrayed as the essence of evil. Furthermore, because of his abilities to create and dominate symbiotes, deceive dark energy, transform, and more, Knull would bring more chaos to the MCU than previous villains, just for the sake of destruction. Even if Knull isn’t the big bad of Phase 5, he could still be on his way to wreak havoc across the MCU in some capacity, and the universe has certainly left enough hints for him to be included.

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