"For years, the truth was hidden. People from other times, other worlds, heroes. Now we know. They're among us." With those words, Marvel Television launched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and also raised a fascinating question. How would the world react to the Avengers? No hero would have been more surprising than the mighty Thor, the Asgardian prince who was the inspiration for the Norse legends of old.
Now, one eagle-eyed Redditor has spotted a wonderful Easter Egg in Spider-Man: Homecoming that suggests Thor has become something of a cultural icon — in a way that might surprise you...
Take A Close Look
It's not easy to spot, but take a look at the poster on the right hand side. The bottom words are in English, and they read:
"Korean Church of Asgard"
It may surprise you to hear that, in the real world, the Norse religion still exists. Today, it's believed there are between 500 to 1,000 people in Denmark who believe in the old Nordic religion, and worship its ancient gods. In the MCU, though, the Norse religion is apparently undergoing a popular resurgence. This makes sense, if you think about it; it's much easier to believe in a god you saw walking down the streets of New York. But what would the Church of Asgard believe in?
So far, Earth has only had major contact with two figures; Thor and his brother Loki. It's likely that Thor will be viewed as a positive force, a divine protector, while Loki will be seen as a sort of Devil. You'd really expect this modern Norse faith to be centered on these two beings.
At the same time, though, #AgentsOfSHIELD Season 1 established that there are ancient Asgardian artifacts scattered across the planet. In the episode 'The Well,' a tie-in to Thor: The Dark World, a pagan hate group obsessed with Norse mythology uncovered an Asgardian Berserker Staff, and launched riots in Norway. Now that Asgardians are known to be real, the legends will have been combed over for clues to Asgardian relics, and it's entirely possible some have actually been found by the Church of Asgard.
Black Widow may have unwittingly helped when she dumped the S.H.I.E.L.D. files online in Captain America: The Winter Soldier; no doubt the public learned of more contact with Asgardians then, and there may well have been major clues to finding more artifacts. Season 4 established that it's taking a long time for all these files to be decrypted, but frankly, that will only have given this nascent religion a boost. You never know when the next divine mystery may be solved, or when you'll get another piece in the puzzle that will take you to an artifact.
An Amusing Nod To The Comics
Not only is this an intriguing bit of world-building, it's also a rather entertaining nod to some minor arcs in the comics. Marvel's 2099 range toyed with the idea that Thor would become the subject of a Norse-based religion, with Spider-Man 2099 having to deal with cultists quite a lot. More recently, when Marvel launched the modernized Ultimate Universe in the 2000s, they had Thor become an object of worship. In this case, the Ultimate version of Thor used his celebrity to champion causes he was interested in, most notably conservationism and anticapitalism.
Spider-Man: Homecoming really is the gift that keeps on giving. The film is jam-packed with fun Easter Eggs, and fans are clearly going to be combing over the movie for months spotting everything they can. In this case, though, a small Easter Egg has just subtly altered the #MCU, adding another layer of depth to the world that #Marvel is building. It's definitely an impressive touch.