The Thor: Love and Thunder trailer is full of surreal and otherworldly sights: Thor doing crossfit with chains tied to a the remains of a dead god; Natalie Portman becoming a second Thor while wielding Mjolnir, which has somehow magically reformed following the events of Thor: Ragnarok.

At least one of these ideas has a long history in the Thor franchise. Thor co-writer Zack Stentz revealed on Twitter that he had pitched one of the really wild shots in the trailer — of a magical boat pulled through the sky by a pair of goats — way back in 2009.

Stentz says at that time “[Marvel President Kevin] Feige & company looked at us like we were nuts. Now there they are in the L&T trailer!” He cites that as evidence that Marvel has “loosened up creatively since Phase I” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It doesn’t take Stentz’s level of access and insight to recognize Marvel has gotten looser and wilder in recent years. Think of how straightforward those early Marvel movies like Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger were. Then compare that to some of the movies and shows we’ve gotten in the last two years.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe now has an entire multiverse of realities swirling within it. We’ve met three different Spider-Men, and about a dozen different Lokis. There’s no way Marvel would have tried any of that a decade ago. Now we’ve got a multiverse, we’ve got TV shows about obscure characters like Moon Knight, we’ve got Thor’s magic goats. What a world.

Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to open exclusively in theaters on July 8, 2022.

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