The start of Hollywood productions shooting in Australia or New Zealand is often marked by performances from indigenous dancers. And people all over the world have taken notice. The Maori Haka dance has gained particular fame, especially in its spreading through New Zealand sports. But few Hollywood stars use their platform to go deeper into the history of First Nations people.
With the start of production on the upcoming Marvel sequel Thor: Love and Thunder, star Chris Hemsworth did precisely that, paying tribute to the indigenous Australians who greeted them as they started their shoot.
Thor: Love and Thunder began shooting in Australia today, and Hemsworth marked the occasion with an Instagram post highlighting the “Welcome to Country” ceremony performed by Gamay dancers of the Gadigal and Bidiagal Nation, and Maori dancers from Te Aranganui. Hemsworth wrote in his post:
“Indigenous Australians may be just as proud of this country, but many see January 26th as a date signifying the beginning of dispossession, disease epidemics, frontier violence, destruction of culture, exploitation, abuse, separation of families and subjection to policies of extreme social control. Let’s begin the healing and stand together in unity and support with our First Nations people with solidarity and compassion. Let’s find a date where all Australians can celebrate this beautiful country together.”
It’s pretty significant that Hemsworth will use his platform to call attention to this date and to the history of indigenous Australians. But it feels fitting that of all the Marvel heroes, the star of the Thor series would do so, especially since the previous film Thor: Ragnarok carried anti-colonialism themes, and director Taika Waititi, who returns to direct Love and Thunder, is partly of Maori descent.
Waititi co-wrote the script for Thor: Love and Thunder with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Someone Great),, which will follow his hit 2017 sequel Thor: Ragnarok. Natalie Portman is set to return to the franchise as Jane, this time wielding Mjolnir as the female Thor, in a storyline based on Jason Aaron’s run on “The Mighty Thor.” Tessa Thompson is set to reprise her role as Valkyrie, while Christian Bale (The Dark Knight trilogy) joins the franchise as Gorr the God Butcher, the main antagonist in the film.
Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 6, 2022.
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