And it's not a gender-swap, like Loki.
Female Thor gets Mjolnir and the name. No 'Lady' in front.
TIME's Eliana Dockterman interviewed Marvel's Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso and Thor writer Jason Aaron in "Marvel Comics Writers Explain Why They’re Making Thor a Woman," where the message is clear: female fans are welcome and encouraged.
When asked if female fan interaction was high on the list for the company, Alonso believes in the Marvel message of "our goal is to make our characters reflect the outside world." And doing so means that the "eight titles that are anchored by female leads where it’s that character’s name on the masthead" will remain important.
Somewhere Loki sulks in the background. "I was a woman way before Thor did it."— Rob Manuel (@8bitwiz) July 15, 2014
In 2013, DC Entertainment Chief Diane Nelson told The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit that a Wonder Woman movie would have trouble creating general audience interest since the Amazon “doesn’t have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes.”
After all, Wonder Woman's getting a cameo is in the Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie. Everyone be happy! So one of the triumvirates—a character that's been around since 1941—for the company only gets a cameo in a movie about the differences in how to be a leader and superhero. 'Kay.
DC: We're not sure there are enough lady comic readers for a Wonder Woman movie... MARVE: Thor's a woman now!— Gregory Stolze (@GregStolze) July 15, 2014
Amazonian princesses need to sit down apparently. (Bad plan, DC. Bad plan.)
Meanwhile Marvel's going to upend their entire Thor comic line because "she is in fact worthy." Following the mythology of who can wield Thor's mighty hammer means "she becomes Thor." Marvel Studio's 2011 Thor had an entire storyline based on that hard and fast Mjolnir mythos, actually. (Same scene that introduced Avenger Hawkeye.)
So male Thor will transition to another role, still part of the Marvel Universe, but not god-Thor. Curious about the new identity though. Will he retake the Dr. Donald Blake moniker he had at the beginning of the series when Odin booted him to Earth? Or will he choose a new name to match the latest changes in his life?
Are you a gentleman that is upset about Thor being a woman? Do you remember when he was a Frog? Growing up is fun.— Gerry Duggan (@GerryDuggan) July 15, 2014
Just because male Thor's hit a very rough patch doesn't mean the god has to disappear from the universe or Avengers. "There are a number of women in Thor’s life, and we’re going to tease out for quite awhile the identity of who this woman is." Looking at the information seems like Marvel's been courting the female audience for a while if he's surrounded by well rounded, worthy women.
While Chris Hemsworth is pretty secure in playing movie Thor for at three more appearances, there's a nice balance to the comics now.
Plus, Aaron isn't worried about the gender of Thor. "So I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while." Making a clear, decisive statement, he points out "this isn’t something that’s just going to last for a few issues." Basically, this is not an Event or Stunt. "She will carry that hammer in her own books and the other books as well."
Whosoever holds this hammer... pic.twitter.com/mF49RteCHw— Jason Aaron (@jasonaaron) July 15, 2014
In other words: get used to this new Thor. No fridging, either. The Marvel author very clearly notes the most important element to a comic is "figuring out that character and telling your story."
Still taking notes, DC?
Just because male Thor is no longer The Thor, he'll stick around but he'll learn what it's like to be without Mjolnir. This isn't a publicity stunt, either. After Aaron's work on the past 25 issues of Thor, God of Thunder, the latest change is a "continuation of everything that I’ve been doing." If the Hulk can't lift the hammer on a whim, then clearly, the story has weight within the Marvel Universe.
“This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR." - @jasonaaron— Ryan Penagos (@AgentM) July 15, 2014
Marvel stands behind the story and the reworking of a fan favorite, too. Alonso minces no words about upset fans. "I can say unequivocally that there’s no amount of negative feedback we could get right now out the gate that would stop us from publishing this story because we think it’s worth publishing."