With the list of films and television series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) continuing to grow, watching (or perhaps rewatching) relevant films ahead of a new release can seem, well, overwhelming. Terrifying even.
Given the interconnectedness of all MCU films and series, it's pretty essential to ensure you watch everything so that you can understand the film references and complex character arcs.
Luckily for fans excited for the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, directed once again by Taika Waititi, fans only have to watch seven of the 35 MCU films and series.
We all did it for Spiderman: No Way Home and we can all do it again.
However, it’s not only the solo films that require a second viewing.
Thor: Love and Thunder serves as the potential beginning to the MCU Phase 4's cosmic stories, which will go on to include Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and, therefore, the film will be important in establishing what’s to come.
However, unlike the latest MCU film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder is not heavily connected to or reliant upon previous Phase 4 events, and will instead focus on Thor’s individual character progression.
So, what are the 7 films you need to watch before the release of Thor: Love and Thunder on July 6?
Thor marks the debut of Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder, thus introducing viewers to the character and establishing his significance in the MCU.
The film also introduces viewers to important supporting characters, including fan-favourite Loki (Tom Hiddleston), his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), mother Frigga (Rene Russo), best friend Heimdall (Idris Elba), and, most importantly for Love and Thunder, his love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).
The Avengers sees Thor put aside his godly ego and work with a team for the first time; an important step in the character growth that leads to him working with the Guardians of the Galaxy in later films.
Thor: The Dark World
Although not a favourite amongst fans of the MCU, Thor: The Dark World further explores the romantic relationship between Thor and Jane Foster.
It's also the last appearance by Foster before becoming Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder, making its viewing absolutely essential.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The first Guardians of the Galaxy film marks the debut of the beloved cosmic superhero group. The film helped unveil Thanos' connection to Gamora and Nebula, and paves the way for Thanos’ epic return in Avengers: Infinity War.
Thor: Ragnarok is the first Thor film to be directed by Taika Waititi, and sees Thor’s story, and the overall tone of his standalone films, going in a different (though remarkably funnier and more engaging) direction that his previous solo films had attempted to establish.
The new comedic tone of Thor: Ragnarok is an appreciated and much needed reset for the character.
The film also introduces Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), ahead of her return in Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as characters Korg and Meik, whilst also delving somewhat into Thor and Jane’s unfortunate breakup.
Avengers: Infinity War
The seismic events in Avengers: Infinity War result in a dramatic shift in Thor’s character.
Thor’s depression, explored further in Endgame, is as a result of this film’s events.
The God of Thunder watches Thanos kill Loki, Heimdall and half of the remaining Asgardians, before failing to kill Thanos himself by deciding not to aim for his head.
However, this film also sees Thor team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time, a relationship that will continue to play out in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Following the events of Infinity War, Thor's depression sees him gain weight and doubt his worth and position as a hero.
Avengers: Endgame explored Thor’s journey of rediscovering what kind of god and king he wants to be, before ultimately handing the reign of King of Asgard to Valkyrie.
Avengers: Endgame's ending also sees Thor leave Earth to be with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Bonus film: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
For nothing else other than to better get to know this wholesome, ragtag group of space guardians (and to meet Mantis, of course).
All of these films are available to watch on Disney+ ahead of Thor: Love and Thunder’s release on July 6.
Featured Image Credit: Marvel