The recent announcement that Zeus will appear in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder could point to something fans have waited a long time for, the appearance of Hercules in the MCU. Now that Disney owns Marvel Entertainment and has the copyright for Hercules, it feels like a move that’s bound to happen.
There’s still cause for concern though. Disney’s and Marvel’s renditions of Hercules are very different characters. We'd hate to see Disney water down the original comic-book appearance of Hercules, because he was a bit of a badass in all honesty. We don’t mean that in a ‘he wears his cap backwards and is a bit edgy’ kind of way, Marvel’s Hercules is a fascinating rendition of the Greek god.
This is, of course, mere speculation. The only thing we know for sure is that Russell Crowe will play Zeus in the upcoming Thor sequel. Crowe’s role is said to be more of a cameo than anything substantial to the story. However, we could see a post-credit scene which hints at Hercules. Or maybe a small section of the films which sets up something in the future.
Let’s pretend it is going to happen, though. Firstly, because it provides us with the perfect opportunity to talk about Hercules. And second, because the character would be an excellent fit for the current Marvel Cinematic Universe.
First appearing during the silver age of comic books, Hercules made his way into the Marvel universe during the 1960s. Adapted from greek mythology, he appeared as a rival to Thor, becoming a recurring guest in the comic for years. The two engaged in numerous battles, in a bid to claim the mantle of strongest god. Ultimately, the two would find a sense of respect for one another
Unlike Disney’s family-friend rendition of Hercules, the original Marvel comics went for a much truer rendition of the son of Zeus. Hercules is is 6’5, 325 pounds and bisexual. He wasn’t just a womaniser in the comic universe, but also had numerous relationships with men. This included a fling with Wolverine and a relationship with Northstar. It makes sense though. If there was one thing Greece was known for, it was the fact everyone was hooking up with everyone. It’s also nice to see a wider field of representation in the superhero universe, something we hope Disney sticks to should Hercules appear.
Marvel’s various renditions of Hercules are also much more complex than the cookie-cutter version we’ve seen in Disney properties. Rather than simply saving the day and falling in love, Marvel’s rendition is a complex myriad of motivations and character traits. Far from perfect and often making mistakes, the Hercules of the comics was proof that gods aren’t perfect. This ultimately makes him feel more human, more approachable and most importantly, far more relatable.
Involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
There are already a number of rumours floating around involving Disney’s interest in reviving the character for films and TV. Phase Four of Marvel's Cinematic Universe could be a great place for the Greek god to appear. The upcoming Eternals movie could be the perfect place to introduce Hercules considering his link to Gilgamesh; the two are often mistaken for one another in Marvel lore, so introducing him there would be perfect.
Instead of Eternals, Marvels could just outright have him appear in Thor: Love and Thunder, where he could either help or hinder Thor. Better yet, create a prolonged period of leave for Thor, so Hercules can take his place. It wouldn’t be the first time Hercules has joined the Avengers, so it would make sense to see him introduced in the current lineup of characters.
Whatever happens, we just hope Disney introduces the Hercules fans know and love. We want to see the party-loving, bisexual joker who isn’t perfect, but is lovable none-the-less.