Like Ragnarok before it, Thor: Love and Thunder has made some pretty interesting changes regarding the Odinson's future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But unlike the third film in the franchise, the recent blockbuster hit starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman concluded with an ending that leaves the door open for their characters to return while giving them satisfying character arcs in the process.

We take a look below at how Love and Thunder has positioned the future of Thor and his friends in the MCU.

How Thor: Love and Thunder sets up the franchise for the future in the MCU

Thor, Love and Thunder, Marvel, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Entertainment

Love and Thunder ending explained

Thor's recent Marvel film started with him finding little purpose as the Guardians of the Galaxy's primary muscle. After learning of Gorr and his threat to end all gods, the Odinson finally found a reason to return to Earth. At this point, he learns that Jane Foster now wields Mjolnir and his plan of enlisting the help of Zeus to raise an army of gods isn't going to bear any fruit.

This leaves Thor, Jane, Valkyrie, and Korg to confront the God Butcher directly in order to save the Asgardians' children and end his threat. This is where we learn that his true goal is to obtain Stormbreaker, use its Bifrost ability to reach Eternity, and use the wish he gets from doing so to kill all the gods. Fortunately, Thor and Jane stop Gorr and convince him to resurrect Love, his daughter, instead. In doing so, Jane succumbs to cancer during those final moments as Thor adopts Love as his own.

The film's ending shows Thor raising Love as the pair go off on different adventures across the galaxy. Jane, meanwhile, is welcomed into Valhalla by Heimdall after dying a warrior's death.

Thor's future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

During Phases 1-3, Thor always had a purpose to fulfill. Whether it's protecting Asgard or fighting alongside the Avengers, the God of Thunder always had a mission to complete.

The same can't be said with how Love and Thunder ended as he's now the adoptive father of Gorr's Child. Marvel fans can expect the pair to continue going off on countless adventures as events on Earth continue to unfold for Phase 4 and beyond. With new heroes rising up to handle the different threats besieging Earth, like Shang-Chi, the Eternals, and Ms. Marvel, the pressure is off Thor's shoulders to be an Avenger full-time.

This new status quo helps Thor evolve from the selfish Asgardian prince he was at the start of the MCU, to the bumbling doofus everyone loves, to the father he always longed to be. At the same time, the film's conclusion keeps the door open for the God of Thunder to return, alongside Love, when the next big event comes rolling in.

Jane Foster and her potential return

Before Thor: Love and Thunder, Natalie Portman's Jane Foster was always relegated to the sidelines as a secondary character and a love interest for the Odinson. Thanks to the source material, Jason Aaron's legendary run in the comics to be exact, Jane was elevated to the spotlight in this film as she becomes worthy of wielding Mjolnir and becoming the new Thor.

While Jane's run as the Mighty Thor was good, it wasn't as long as some fans expected it to be. The thing is, her ascension to Valhalla is a wise one as it keeps the door open for her character to return at any point in the future. It should be remembered that in the comics, Jane Foster became a Valkyrie after her stint as Thor. It shouldn't be farfetched to think that this can be the route Marvel uses to bring back Portman for any project in the future.

If it does, the only reason it can work is if Valhalla itself is in danger and the need for a Valkyrie arises. This can potentially happen if the rumors are true and Marvel makes Secret Wars its follow-up to the Infinity War and Endgame. With the Multiverse and countless other dimensions in play, including Valhalla, there's a pretty good chance Jane can don a new armor to help against any impending threat to her new home, or even the old one.

Valkyrie and New Asgard

Thor: Ragnarok left Asgard in ruins after Surtur destroyed the said realm. In the aftermath, Thor established New Asgard on Eart while Valkyrie served as its ruler after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Thanks to what happened in Love and Thunder, it seems that New Asgard's future in the MCU is looking good.

Valkyrie has established herself as an able ruler of New Asgard. Sif has returned and with her comes centuries of experience and wisdom. The people of New Asgard and its future, the children, have already begun learning their heritage. All of these elements come together to set the stage for a strong nation that can last for a long time.

Thor: Love and Thunder neatly wraps up Thor's adventures in the MCU. At the same time, this conclusion gives his franchise enough reason to rest for the moment and still be available when the need arises. If anything, there'll always be a reason good enough to gather Thor and his friends once again in the future, much like what Infinity War and Endgame did a couple of years ago. In any case, the Thor franchise is in good hands.