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Is Gorr the God Butcher a Symbiote?

Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher

Thor: Love and Thunder has finally hit theaters, and it’s as wild a ride as fans were promised! One question comics fans had before the movie came out was the nature of Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher. What’s with that sword and those shadow monsters? Is Gorr a symbiote? What does being a symbiote even mean in the Marvel universe? Here’s everything you need to know about Gorr, All-Black the Necrosword, and his symbiote status!

Thor: Love and Thunder, Chris Hemsworth’s fourth solo outing as Marvel’s God of Thunder, focuses on Thor’s journey to find out who he really is, now that he’s left his Avenger days and the throne of Asgard behind. As Thor recovers from the depression he suffered in the Infinity Saga and gets back in shape, he finds out that his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) now wields his broken hammer, Mjolnir. Together, with King Valkyrie and Thor’s best friend Korg, they go up against Gorr as he tries to wipe out all gods in the universe.

The Story of Gorr in the Comics

Gorr’s backstory in the comics is a tragic one. Born on a nameless, inhospitable planet, Gorr and his people are constantly plagued by the threat of starvation and natural disasters. His people are devoutly religious, though, and they regularly pray to the gods to alleviate their hunger and save them. Gorr is orphaned at a young age, and when he grows up, his wife is killed in an earthquake and his children die one by one. After his last son dies, Gorr renounces his belief in the gods, and his people exile him.

After his exile, Gorr sees two battling gods fall out of the sky. One of them, the elder god, Knull, has a weapon that bonds to its owner through a black, organic mass. Gorr, enraged at the revelation that gods are real after all but seem to have chosen to ignore his people’s plight, takes the weapon and vows to kill every god. Thus, Gorr the God Butcher is born.

Gorr’s weapon, All-Black the Necrosword, is a sentient, symbiotic being. Created by Knull along with other symbiotes like Venom, All-Black bonds to its owner and builds power by feeding off of the gods it kills. It can also create spirits called Black Berserkers which can do their owner’s bidding.

Is Gorr a Symbiote in Thor 4?

The first scene of Thor: Love and Thunder is heart-wrenching. We see Gorr carrying his young daughter across a harsh and forbidding desert, both of them clearly dying of thirst and exposure. After his daughter dies, Gorr hears a voice calling to him and follows it. He finds an oasis with the god Rapu sitting in it, eating fruit. Rapu tells Gorr that he just killed the wielder of the Necrosword, and Gorr looks behind him to see a jet-black body lying on the ground with a sword by its side. The voices continue to call to Gorr, telling him to pick up the sword and go to Eternity. Then the sword disappears and rises from the ground into Gorr’s hand. When Gorr grabs it, he becomes infected with it, with black lines snaking through his skin and his eyes glowing golden. Gorrr’s personality also seems to change. Although he’s justifiably distraught that his daughter is dead and the god he’s spent his life revering doesn’t care, Gorr also suddenly becomes ruthless and murderous. That’s clearly the sword at work, since a moment earlier he simply renounced Rapu.

That first scene establishes that, like the sword in the comics, the Necrosword is clearly a symbiotic being looking for a host. We also see the Necrosword’s symbiosis at work throughout the movie. After he gets the sword, for instance, Gorr is able to summon powerful shadow monsters that fight for him. When the sword is finally destroyed, Gorr loses his symbiotic appearance and seems to regain his humanity, asking Thor to take care of his daughter for him.

What about the sword’s backstory in the movie? Does the Necrosword come from Knull? Is it related to Venom? That’s never made clear, but it’s certainly possible. We may find out in later MCU installments, or it might just be left a mystery.

Thor: Love and Thunder is now playing in theaters!

(featured image: Marvel)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at