What do the post-credits scenes mean?

Thor: Love and Thunder, the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has officially hit theaters, and fans lucky enough to attend an early screening are already buzzing about the movie AND its mid- and post-credits scenes. What exactly did we see in these scenes, and what could they mean for both the characters we know and love and the future of the MCU? We are here to dig into these questions. But beware: we are heading into spoiler territory!

SPOILER WARNING! DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER! WE ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR YOUR REBELLIOUS NATURE!

First, let’s talk about the film’s ending and the possibilities it raises for Thor’s future in the MCU. When we leave the god of thunder, he has become a surrogate father to Gorr’s orphaned daughter, who we are told in the narration is called Love (as in Love and Thunder). While this specific character isn’t straight from the comics, there are more than a few characters she could be inspired by. In Jason Aaron’s epic title run, Thor actually meets his three granddaughters from the far future and fights Gorr alongside them, so there’s precedent for Thor as a parent figure.

When we see her reflection after she was brought back to life by Eternity, Love also bears a strong resemblance to a character known as Singularity, first introduced in the A-Force comic in 2015. Many fans from Marvel have asked the studio to adapt A-Force, an all-female superhero team, and it will likely make this newly optimistic fan faction.

In the mid-credits scene, we get to see a new character who has a long and beloved history in Marvel Comics, the mighty Hercules himself, played by none other than Ted Lasso star Brett Goldstein. The classic Greek hero made his first appearance in Marvel Comics in 1965, when he was summoned by a version of Kang to battle Thor. Over the years, Hercules became not only a hero in the Marvel Universe, but also an ally to Thor and eventually a member of the Avengers. Hercules’ appearance not only sets the stage for a fifth Thor movie, but could mark the introduction of a future Avenger into the MCU.

In the post-credits scene, we see Natalie Portman as Dr. Jane Foster, who succumbed to stage 4 cancer in the film’s final scenes, ending up in the afterlife Asgardian realm of Valhalla. She is greeted by Heimdall, another Asgardian hero tragically lost in Avengers: Infinity War. He invites Jane to join the rest of the gods, having earned her way to the famous halls of Valhalla, and Jane seems content with her lot.

What is Valhalla in the MCU? Is it a cosmic realm that can be reached by our other living heroes? Does that mean we’ll see Jane or Heimdall again someday? Maybe it’s nothing more than a well-deserved happy ending for Jane, but it feels like the cosmic door may be left open, if only a little bit.