Who is Hercules in Thor: Love and Thunder? Ted Lasso star joins MCU
The iconic hero could be Marvel's new strongest character.
A major new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made his debut.
Thor: Love and Thunder is the fourth outing for the Norse God of Thunder, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), but he is not the only god to make an appearance.
You may be familiar with the ancient Greek mythological figure Hercules, who has inspired numerous screen adaptations over the years - including a Disney film - but you may not have known that a version of the character has always existed in the Marvel Universe.
In fact, the source material in Marvel Comics frequently counts Hercules among its strongest figures, with Marvel 101 describing him as one of few people who "can take a hit from Thor and remain standing to hit back".
Therefore, Hercules's long-awaited introduction here could leave viewers reassessing who the strongest Marvel character is – if you're eager to learn more, read on for your full briefing.
Additionally, if you're keen to know how to watch the Marvel movies in order then we also have you covered.
**Spoiler warning for Thor: Love and Thunder**
Who is Hercules in Marvel Comics?
Marvel's incarnation 0f Hercules is inspired by Greek mythology – just as Thor is inspired by Norse – so there are similarities between the character's historical origin and his comic book update.
He is the son of the Olympian god Zeus (played in the MCU by Russell Crowe) and mortal Alcmena, meaning he is a demigod capable of incredible feats of strength and eternal life.
After maintaining a low profile for hundreds of years, Hercules began to step out of the shadows in the 20th century to covertly fight for the allies during World War II.
In early appearances, he was depicted as a rival to Thor, given that he is one of the very few characters in the Marvel Universe with a comparable level of strength.
However, the two soon became friends, with Hercules being a supporting character in several Thor stories as well as a member of super teams The Avengers, The Defenders and The Champions, among others.
In the comic books, Hercules is also able to match the strength of the Incredible Hulk, which led him to intervene during the World War Hulk storyline, when Bruce Banner's angry alter-ego was wreaking havoc in New York City.
In the aftermath of that major event, Hercules formed an unlikely partnership with teen genius Amadeus Cho (whose mother, Dr Helen Cho, was played by Claudia Kim in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron – it's all connected).
Who is Hercules actor Brett Goldstein?
Brett Goldstein has been working in the entertainment industry for more than a decade, with credits including Derek, Drifters, Uncle and Doctor Who, but his career kicked into high gear when he joined the cast of Apple TV+ sitcom Ted Lasso.
There he plays recently retired footballer Roy Kent, who is known for his foul mouth and fiery temper, which conceals the heart of gold buried underneath.
His performance in the series has been a favourite of fans and critics alike, earning Goldstein an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series at last year's ceremony.
As Ted Lasso is confirmed to be ending with its third season, Goldstein will soon have a bit more time on his hands, which could lead to further MCU appearances.
When could Hercules appear next in the MCU?
The most logical answer is in the as-yet-unconfirmed Thor 5, given Hercules's strong comic book association with the God of Thunder and his introduction by Taika Waititi.
Speaking about Goldstein's casting as Hercules, Waititi told Uproxx that producer Kevin Feige was the one to cast the Ted Lasso star.
"Kevin really wanted him to do it, and yeah, Brett’s amazing. He’s great," the director told the publication.
Waititi made clear he is not sure where Hercules will be seen next.
"And I don’t know if that’s to do with Thor, or if it’s to do with how that will develop,” he added.
"Because, obviously, Hercules, there’s a character from the books as well. And so, yeah, this will be interesting to see because Kevin, he’s obviously the mastermind of all of these threads and how they’ll tie up and how they meet, mix and match. So I’m curious to find out myself."
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Well, as Marvel Studios is currently dishing out Disney Plus shows hither and yon, that could also be an option if they want to establish the character as a major player moving forward.
We may find out more later this month, with Marvel boss Kevin Feige recently promising information on the studio's future plans at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.
Perhaps Hercules could even have his own solo cinematic outing on the way...
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Thor: Love and Thunder is in UK cinemas now – watch the previous Thor films and more Marvel favourites on Disney Plus – sign up now for £79.90 for a year or £7.99 a month.
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