Thor Related to Hercules?!?
A short, strange spotlight on the Mighty Avenger
Like many Marvel fans, we like to go back over some of the comics related to our favorite Marvel characters and refresh our memories on their backstories. In so doing, we came across something wild in Marvel canon that we had almost forgotten. Thor is a relative of Hercules! No joke!
How do we know this? We recently read the Thor entry to the 80’s version of the Essential Handbook of the Marvel Universe; an encyclopedic series breaking down every Marvel character’s powers, story, and appearance in meticulous detail. In this series, they list the known relatives of every hero in the Marvel universe, and under Thor, it lists his mother as…Gaea?
For those of you who don’t know, Gaea (also spelled as Gaia, Giah, etc.) is a primordial Greek Goddess (in Marvel canon: a powerful alien being that originates from an alternate dimension), and is the mother of the Greek Titan Kronos, as well as the grandmother of Zeus! And we are pretty sure that everyone knows who Zeus’s son was… Hercules! Thor has a unique relationship with the extremely powerful Gaea in the Marvel universe for a specific reason; Marvel wanted Thor to have a reasonable reason for being the most powerful Asgardian besides Odin, and they wanted to bind the Asgardian and Olympian mythologies together for a more cohesive Marvel lore.
Obviously, in the original myth of Thor, Frigga is Thor’s real mother, and this seems to be the route they’re taking in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (but who knows, maybe Frigga will be revealed to be Thor’s step-mother). However, Marvel’s version of the Thor story presents us with a fascinating family tree that the original myth does not! We did some checking to make sure that this familial relationship is still canon (after all we were looking at the outdated 80’s version of this encyclopedia for nostalgic reasons) and we confirmed that it remains canon in the Marvel timeline…at least for now. So, what does this mean for Thor?
It means that, as of now, Thor is the brother of the Titan Kronos, and the Uncle of Zeus…making him the Great Uncle of Hercules!
Now, because this blog’s usual audience are often Disney fans and may not be familiar with the intricacies of the Marvel universe, we must present a disclaimer: the Hercules Thor is related to is NOT the same one from Disney’s animated film, but rather a lesser-known Marvel character that we will show below…
Unfortunately for you Disney nuts out there, this dashes the hopes of there being a definitive Disney/Marvel Universe crossover…unless you count Big Hero 6. Some people will be relieved and some will be disappointed…it just depends on what kind of pop-culture fan you are.
Of course, Disney’s animated film Hercules is just a different interpretation (or point of view) of the same mythology shown in Marvel. If the enterprising fan wanted a headcanon/fan-theory excuse, they could say that Disney’s Hercules is the human’s legend of Hercules, and not what really happened (which could be the events of Marvel’s Hercules)? After all, humans did accidentally mistake the Asgardians and Olympians for Gods in Marvel, so it’s possible that they could have exaggerated the myths a little from what really happened.
You can take that theory as far as you like, but we just find it fascinating that Thor is related to both the Asgardians and Olympians in Marvel continuity; a Son of Odin and an Uncle of Zeus!
One last thought for crossover junkies: There’s even a theory floating around that connects Ariel’s family to Hercules’ through Ariel’s father Triton! It’s not our theory, but we do think it makes perfect sense and has a lot of evidence, so maybe we’ll cover the theory someday if you really want to know about it. But for now, just be satisfied to know that Thor could be a distant relation of Ariel! Marvel mythology presents such an interconnected family tree that it makes our heads spin to think about it! Who knows; maybe Disney Animation and Marvel might be connected by more ways than just business/ownership. What do you think Disney should do about this?
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