Russell Crowe plays Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder, but this version is quite different from the Zeus Zack Snyder delivered in Justice League. To those unfamiliar with Marvel’s comic history, the inclusion of a character like Zeus might seem a bit weird. While Thor, Loki, Odin, Asgard, and such are rooted in Norse mythology, that’s a world away from the Greek pantheon of gods, at least traditionally. In the pages of Marvel Comics, however, such differing mythologies have crossed paths many times.
In Greek mythology, Zeus is the god of the sky and thunder, so it makes good sense for his MCU debut to occur in Thor: Love and Thunder. Thor is, after all, the god of lightning and thunder in Norse mythology, and is portrayed as such within the MCU as well. With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see how Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Russell Crowe’s Zeus get along, or perhaps don’t, due to their similarities.
With Crowe joining the MCU as Zeus, the way has also been paved for his son Hercules, a staple Marvel comics hero, to show up. However, the MCU got beaten to the punch a bit by Zeus’ recent appearance in DC’s own movie universe, via Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Here’s how the two characters will differ.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League wasn’t Zeus’ first appearance in the DCEU, although it might be his most noteworthy. In the Snyder Cut, Zeus led a coalition of races into battle against Darkseid and managed to defeat the extremely powerful villain. In Wonder Woman, though, it was revealed that Zeus had actually fathered Diana, as well as the film’s villain Ares, and had personally created humanity. Shazam! also confirmed that Zeus’ mythological half-human/half-god son Hercules exists within the DCEU.
As for how Russell Crowe’s Zeus will be portrayed in Thor: Love and Thunder, traditional Marvel lore refers to Zeus’ kind as a humanoid race called Olympians and states that they come from an alternate dimension called Olympus. Since this dimension can be reached from Earth by scaling Mount Olympus in Greece, it does appear that these Olympians are the same beings written of in Greek mythology, although it’s unclear which deity created humans in the Marvel universe, if any. Hercules also exists within Marvel lore.
On the surface, Zack Snyder’s Justice League’s Zeus and Marvel’s Zeus seem pretty similar, although one difference will be in appearance. DCEU Zeus actor Sergi Constance is a shredded 32-year-old bodybuilder, while Russell Crowe is nearing 60 and is hardly known for having a Herculean physique at this stage of his career. This suggests that Crowe’s Zeus will be an older, and also perhaps wiser version, akin to Anthony Hopkins’ aging Odin. Zeus and Odin are generally portrayed as being at about the same power level in Marvel Comics, so this move makes sense. Marvel’s Zeus also doesn’t seem to have any familial ties to any of the MCU’s current heroes.
Naturally, the question of whether DC’s or Marvel’s Zeus is more powerful is interesting to consider now that the DCEU and MCU each have their own version. Given the difference in age, life experience, and classification between the two Zeuses, however, it’s also a question without an easy answer. Thor: Love and Thunder‘s Zeus may appear older and therefore physically weaker than Justice League‘s, but this could actually mean he’s had more time to hone his power. Ultimately, the best answer to which Zeus is more powerful may be the comics, for now. There, DC’s Zeus has actually lost to Darkseid when fighting solo, while characters in the MCU’s god class (of which Zeus is a part) have taken down Thanos without backup. This could indicate that the MCU’s Zeus is more powerful than the DCEU’s. However, the comparison isn’t that reliable given the differing power tiers of the two canons, with DC placing its mythic gods at the very top, and Marvel relegating them to a position far below more powerful beings like Celestials and Galactus.
Most likely, Zeus’s role in Thor: Love and Thunder‘s story will be as a target and potential victim of Gorr the God Butcher’s wrath. As the main antagonist for Thor: Love and Thunder, Gorr needs to prove he’s a threat by killing off other gods, and Zeus could be a very likely candidate. This is especially true given that Zeus’s death would be an easy vehicle to finally introduce Hercules, a pillar of Marvel comics’ Avengers team, to the MCU. If the MCU’s Zeus does indeed meet his end in Thor: Love and Thunder, this could also help answer the Zeus power question in favor of the DCEU’s version. Either way, Russell Crowe’s take on Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder will make for a fascinating comparison to Sergi Constance’s from Justice League.