Fat Thor: Hilarious or Humiliating? The Problem with Fatphobia in Endgame

Fat Thor Avengers Endgame

Chris Hemsworth as Fat Thor certainly caught many fans by surprise. Among the changes that the remaining characters went through, his was one of the most physical and visceral for viewers. After all, we’re all used to seeing Thor always battle-ready and unfazed even when faced with apocalyptic challenges.

We’ve all seen the Fat Thor meme, but few others saw the deeper meaning of it. There were also those who thought the whole thing was no laughing matter. So what’s the real story behind the Fat Thor costume? To better understand this, we should take a closer look at the events that led up to it.


Life After The Snap

Avengers Endgame picks up five years after Thanos’ snap, which “erased” half of humanity including some of our favorite Avengers. The beginning of the film showed us how those who remained dealt with the trauma of their sudden loss. Some sought solace sharing their pain with others, such as the Captain America support group. Then there were those who found more effective solutions, albeit, ones that are unhealthy.

For example, Black Widow buries herself in work and tries to fix as many things as she can. Hawkeye becomes the poster boy for toxic masculinity and slips into a life of violence as a rogue assassin. While it may seem as if Tony Stark’s post-snap life is better than the rest, he no longer harbored the same zeal for helping others that he used to have. For Iron Man, there was simply no more point in doing so.


The Hulk vs. Fat Thor

One of the most notable changes among the survivors can be seen in Bruce Banner. How he handled things post-snap is also important when it comes to better understanding Thor as these two were considered to be the strongest Avengers and were always in competition. This is not counting Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, of course. They were both defined by their strengths, but the devastating thing for both is that in the end, it was not enough to keep the worst from happening.

However, instead of letting those regrets consume him, Bruce Banner spent the five years post-snap reconciling with his dark side—the Hulk. While he did run away initially, Banner eventually came to terms with his “other half” and when he returned, he had managed to unite both sides of his personality. Whether he achieved it by reducing stress through meditation music or plenty of internal work, we’re certainly glad for him. Banner worked through the pain of his loss, fought his personal demons, and came out on top.


The Circumstances that Led to Fat Thor

In mythology, gods are often written as nearly invincible and Thor is no different. He destroys his enemies effortlessly and has participated in numerous battles in which he came out victorious. However, when it mattered the most, the God of Thunder seemingly failed all of humanity. It is safe to say that he blames himself for what had happened.

First, he failed to kill the Mad Titan before he was able to complete the snap despite his great strength. When he did manage to kill Thanos off, it was already too late. We must also remember, that this is not the first great loss that he had gone through. We see the first glimpse of his downward spiral in the Taika Watiti directed film, Thor Ragnarok. Following those events, Thor lost his brother Loki, portrayed by Tom Hiddleston, and Asgard in one fell swoop.

It is also worth noting that during this time his relationship with Jane Foster, who is portrayed by Natalie Portman, was not going so well either. There’s no doubt that he must consider this as yet another failure on his part. We all know Thor’s tendency to take on all of the responsibility, even for things that are truly out of his control.

For all the power he is able to harness, Thor was helpless when it came to preventing these tragedies.


How Did Thor Get Fat?

When the story picks up again in Avengers Endgame, we meet Fat Thor who no longer believes that anything matters. He has failed and nothing can undo that, so why keep trying? He went from someone who has always been incredibly proactive to someone completely indifferent. For some, how to be happy lies in small pleasures. Movie Thor, however, needed something much stronger to recover from all that he has lost.

The truth is that no matter how much it made us laugh, the God of Thunder was going through a dark period in his life. Unlike how the Hulk turned it into a period of betterment, Thor chose to self-medicate. From becoming an alcoholic (aided by the self-refilling beer mug he got from Doctor Strange) to leading a sedentary life, he managed to gain weight as a result.

Some audiences may have played Fat Thor Endgame as a punchline, but the coping mechanism he chose will be a familiar one for many out there.


Fat Thor and Mental Health

Thor is fat, but we must also look beyond the surface. It isn’t just about the Fat Thor memes. The film showed us a good representation of what it’s like dealing with depression. The cause, of course, is clear. He no longer had the same confidence or self-worth he had prior to the snap. The grief and responsibility he felt after what he sees as a failure on his part was too-heavy a burden to bear.

Long-time fans of the franchise will know how passionate Thor is when it comes to his home, people, his family, and every life in the universe. Imagine losing all of that within a short period of time and you’ll come to understand the choices he has made since. Fat Thor in comics may not exist as this portrayal is solely for the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it isn’t too far from what happens in the original canon.

We may have seen him goofing around or downplaying his situation, but even these are part of the problem. Instead of facing it, Thor continues to deny its existence and deflects whenever his friends point it out. During one scene, where he is confronted by Bruce Banner and Rocket, he tells them “I know you think I’m down here wallowing in my own self-pity waiting to be rescued and saved, but I’m fine.” Yet, everyone in the room could tell this was certainly not the case.

This is just another symptom of depression, particularly the way it can hinder a person’s mental health to keep them from recognizing the problem.


Fat Thor is Still Worthy

In Thor Ragnarok we saw the destruction of Mjölnir, which is the god’s weapon of choice. For a length of time, he believed that it is the source of his power and without it, he has nothing. So much so that Thors dad, Odin, appeared to him with a very important reminder: “Are you Thor the god of hammers?” All too often, like Thor, we fall into a pattern of thinking where we attach our own power and value into things we can easily lose.

For some, it could be a job title or a relationship. There are those who pin their self-worth on material things, basically nothing of real value. As such, when we are lost, we also end up thinking that we are no longer worthy. However, as the God of Thunder realizes, our own true strength is within us and can be drawn from our loved ones.

Perhaps the best part about Thor’s character arc in Endgame comes near the end, when he finally regains his confidence and enters the battlefield without any changes to his weight. In full armor and wild hair, he appeared less like Santa Claus and more like the Norse god that he is. It just goes to show that depression is truly a hidden battle and that one cannot judge another by appearances alone.

Once Fat Thor managed to overcome all of the darkness that had consumed him, Thor was back to his old self. Well, perhaps wiser and made better by his experiences. He now knows the power that lies within him and it’s safe to say that no one would be able to take that away. We’re sure Chris Hemsworth would agree: Thor will always be worthy!


Fat Thor and Fatphobia

For all the good things that Fat Thor can teach us, there are also important underlying issues that need to be discussed. In particular, how the movie handled the topic of weight gain. There were more than a few moments where his weight became the subject of comedy. We’re certainly not alone in thinking that the fat jokes were unnecessary and might have also been triggering to audiences sensitive to it.

In a way, the movie made it seem okay to make fun of people because of their weight. Unsurprisingly, this rubbed people the wrong way. After all, there is a huge movement promoting self-love and body positivity, so this move by Marvel Studios certainly feels like a huge step-back when it comes to that.


What is Fatphobia?

Example of Fat Phobia on the Show Hot & Heavy

Most are already familiar with the term fat-shaming. This basically refers to the way people loudly call out people for their weight gain. It could be someone passive aggressively telling someone to check out free YouTube home workouts so they can “live longer.” This could also manifest as someone telling another person that they need to lose weight because they look unhealthy.

What does fatphobia mean? Basically, it is the fear of fat bodies. It is also weight bias and carries a stigma, where people believe that those who are bigger tend to be lazy, make bad lifestyle choices, and need to be educated about their situation. This differs from fat-shaming in the way it is delivered.

Most of the time, fatphobia manifests as microaggression. Think of someone in your family telling you that “You would be so much prettier if you lost a bit of weight.” The unfortunate thing is that these two have become so normalized in our societies that most of us barely notice it happening, unless we’re on the receiving end.

The thing is, it doesn’t just affect the person it is being said to. Anyone who is within earshot would begin to think that having a bigger body is something to be ashamed of. It also makes them believe that pointing it out is the right thing to do. After all, they’re just being helpful and concerned for the other person’s weight—right?


The Problem with Fat Suits

The main issue with fatsuits is that they are used to get laughs. Their overall design is also meant to look comical. Basically how other people see fat bodies. Fat Thor gets a pass for its realism, but the sad truth is that most fat suits aren’t created with the same degree of thoughtfulness. The actors who wear them often move awkwardly, furthering the stigma when it comes to heavier bodies.

Another problem with fat suits is that they go against the self-love philosophy. It makes it seem as if people only become their best selves after they stop their weight gain and get thin. Think of shows such as Insatiable and the film Shallow Hal. In both cases, fat people who have lost weight are “magically” seen by others as entirely new people and are suddenly shown to be more attractive. Surely you can see why this is very harmful to those watching.

Remember, there are people who go to extremes just to lose weight because they have bought into this idea. They undergo risky surgeries, follow dangerous diets, and even starve themselves just to achieve this perceived ideal. Fat suits make it seem as if anyone can become thin as long as they “work hard” for it. The worst offense, we think, is how it dismisses the fact that heavier people can lead normal and successful lives even without losing weight. Not all bodies are created equal, after all.


The Journey to Creating Fat Thor

For the Russo Brothers, the 90-pound silicone fat suit proved to be a challenge. This is why plenty of thought was put into the creation of the suit itself. Not only did they make it appear realistic, Hemsworth also had to be able to move accordingly while wearing it. After all, he did have his fair share of physically challenging scenes.

Did Chris Hemsworth gain weight for the role? Not at all. His appearance was achieved through practical effects, but this came at a price. Aside from the discomfort, the added weight of the fat suit began to wear on his back after a while. In one scene, he even had to wear armor on top of it! The whole process must have been a tough one for the actor, but he does say it helped him portray this “new” Thor better.

As he could not physically put on the weight, costume designers also gave Hemsworth something to stuff the sides of his mouth with. These made his cheeks look plumper, but also slightly changed the sound of his voice. According to the actor, he would spend three hours in hair and makeup each day! Lastly, he was given a new Fat Thor beard and wig, which completed the transformation.

Aside from the Fat Thor suit, they also added weights to his wrists and ankles in an effort to really mimic how a heavier person would move. For this, we have to give them some credit. After all, unnatural movement is one of the major gripes people have when it comes to the use of fat suits in film and TV.


What Does Chris Hemsworth Think of Fat Thor?

Chris Hemsworth on Graham Norton Speaking About Fat Thor

Avengers Endgame and fat suit controversy aside, Chris Hemsworth is among the staunch defenders of Fat Thor. In fact, Hemsworth fought to keep Thor’s heavier appearance in the film. For him, portraying this version of Thor was not only different, but also enjoyable. After having had the role for years, it’s easy to see why the actor would want a change of pace. Even his co-star Tessa Thompson talked about how excited the actor was for this “new” Thor.

He shares the same sentiments as the movie’s characters, reminding people that weight was never Thor’s issue. It wasn’t something that he had to overcome, unlike other portrayals of heavier people in media. With that said, he also understood that some of the humor pointed towards the character might be distressing for some.

In fact, it was also Hemsworth who decided on keeping Thor’s weight all the way to the end of the film. This narrative choice, we think, made all the difference when it came to Thor’s story. It goes against the trope that fat people need to lose weight in order to succeed and achieve their goals. Thor showed that he was fully capable, despite carrying the extra weight both physically and mentally.


Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder Teaser

So, what’s next for Thor when it comes to his character arc? The upcoming film Thor Love and Thunder will be directed by Taika Watiti and will star Chris Hemsworth in the lead again. It is the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will pick up after the events of Thor Ragnarok. The film should not only fill the gaps in Thor’s overall storyline, but give us a glimpse into what “created” Fat Thor.

The film isn’t set for release until March next year, but filming has been ongoing in Australia. What we’re certain of is that Jane Foster will be making a comeback and she just might get her turn in wielding the legendary Mjolnir.

You can expect to see familiar faces such as Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Jaimie Alexander as Sif. Actor Russell Crowe has been confirmed as part of the cast, though there is no information about the role he has taken. The same goes for Christian Bale, though there are reports that will play Gorr the God Butcher.

From gods to god-killers, there’s plenty of the usual action to expect from Love and Thunder. Though, Portman also teased about the possibility of very emotional scenes focusing on her character’s cancer treatment. Will we still see Jane Foster as Thor? Nothing has been revealed yet, but there certainly is a good chance of it happening. After seeing the Fat Thor version of the character, it is exciting to imagine a powerful feminine presence taking over the mantle!