Thor Wore a Beard Because of Hela’s Curse

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has defined how the Avengers look to a generation of fans who may have never read a comic book. For most of the characters in the original cinematic incarnation of the team, this isn’t a massive departure from their traditional comic book looks. However, one character has looked decidedly different on the big screen, namely Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder, the Mighty Thor.


The MCU version of Thor eschews many of the signature elements of the God of Thunder’s traditional look, from rarely wearing a helmet to his costume taking more cues from Bryan Hitch’s work on The Ultimates than Jack Kirby’s vision of the character. This includes the beard Hemsworth has worn throughout his tenure. While the mainstream Marvel Universe’s Thor is usually clean-shaven, he has occasionally had facial hair, specifically during one of the character’s most iconic runs.

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Walt Simonson Gave Thor His First Beard

Thor Wore a Beard Because of Hela’s Curse

Walt Simonson’s Thor run remains definitive, even 40 years later. Simonson’s take on the Asgardian Avenger became legendary partially because he wasn’t afraid to alter the hero’s status quo. This included doing away with the Thunder God’s secret identity, introducing rival-turned-oath brother Beta Ray Bill, and even briefly transforming Thor into a frog. In addition to the excellent craftsmanship of Simonson and his collaborators, like artist Sal Buscema, letterer John Workman and colorist Max Scheele, the run remains memorable because it took Thor in bold, new directions.

However, Simonson managed to save one of his best ideas for the final stretch of his run. In Thor #374, the God of Thunder was suffering from an uncharacteristic injury, a broken arm suffered during a fight with the Marauder Blockbuster. After gathering the victims of the Marauder’s Mutant Massacre in the Morlock Tunnels for a Viking Funeral, Thor was confronted by the death goddess Hela, who took great pleasure in letting him know why he was suddenly vulnerable.

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How the MCU’s Hela Cursed Thor

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As revenge for Thor’s part in rescuing mortal souls sent to Hel by one of Malekith’s schemes, Hela cursed him in two cruel ways. First, she made his bones so brittle that they wouldn’t heal once broken. She then cursed him with a twisted form of immortality, denying him the ability to die and thereby forcing him to live with the agony of his injuries.

Thor sought aid from Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), who created a golden arm for his fellow Avenger. This allowed the Thunder God to continue using his hammer without the risk of injury. While Stark’s arm was a good temporary fix for Thor’s problem, he eventually needed a full set of armor to remain active.

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Thor’s Iconic Suit of Armor

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Tony Stark’s golden arm helped Thor use his hammer, but it was only a temporary solution. Thanks to his brother Loki’s manipulation, the Mighty Avenger was baited into a disastrous fight with the Absorbing Man under false pretenses. Thor didn’t realize who he was fighting until he’d suffered a number of severe injuries, including a pair of cracked ribs.

Instead of turning to Stark again, Thor rented a steel mill in Pittsburgh and created his own set of armor that allowed him to reinforce and protect his entire body. The armor allowed the Thunder God to defeat a group of Frost Giants, but it didn’t stand up very well against the Midgard Serpent, who was masquerading as the classic Marvel monster Fin Fang Foom.

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Thor Ended His Curse With Another Classic Marvel Armor

Thor-in-destroyer armor

When Loki later unleashed the Destroyer armor against his brother and the Frost Giants, Thor was able to take mental control of the armor. He used his power to invade Hel, and the combination of Thor’s power and the Destroyer proved to be a credible threat to Hela. Facing defeat, she lifted her curse on the God of Thunder and swore to stop trying to steal the souls of mortals to which she had no claim.

The resolution of Thor’s feud with Hela marked the end of Simonson’s run on the title. The creative team that followed him, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, kept the new armor for a handful of issues before reverting to the classic Kirby design. They also eliminated the beard, reasoning that Thor no longer needed it to hide his battle scars after Hela lifted her curse. Simonson’s armor didn’t last long, but it remains one of Thor’s most well-remembered costumes, still appearing in video games and variant comic book covers. It retains a lasting legacy both because of the quality of the story in which it was introduced and because of how awesome it makes Thor look, beard and all.

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