New female Thor explained by writer Jason Aaron

(CBR) Mjolnir, the mystical hammer wielded by Marvel Comics' Thunder God, Thor, bears an inscription that proclaims, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” In other words, the hammer's bevy of mystical powers aren't the exclusive province of Thor, but rather can be wielded by anyone deemed worthy. Over the years a number of characters including Beta Ray Bill and Captain America have proven the content of their character by lifting Mjolnir and found themselves in command of a wealth of mystic might.

But when Thor, son of Odin and current wielder of Mjolnir, suddenly finds himself unworthy this October, a mysterious female character picks up the hammer in his stead. As announced yesterday on “The View,” her adventure as the new Thor will be chronicled in a new volume of “Thor” written by “Thor: God of Thunder” writer Jason Aaron and drawn by “Cyclops” artist Russell Dauterman. CBR News spoke with Aaron, who described the upcoming series as the continuation of everything he set up in “God of Thunder,” about his plans, the book's enigmatic new female protagonist and what this means for the current Thor and his place in the Marvel U.

CBR News: Jason, the big news is that a new volume of “Thor” launches in October and its protagonist is female. I understand you have to be wary of spoilers here, but what can you tell us about the new title character? Has Thor been transformed? Or has another character received Thor's powers?
Jason Aaron: The latter. This is not the Thor we knew transformed into a woman. This is a new character; someone else picking up the hammer. I knew when I took over Thor that at some point I wanted to do a Beta Ray Bill-style story about somebody else wielding the hammer for awhile. It took me awhile to figure out what kind of story that should be and who the character should be.

When you look back over the history of Thor comics, a lot of different people have picked up the hammer at one point or another and hardly any of them female. The only women to wield the hammer are in brief moments here and there, or “What If?” stories, or future stories and stuff like that. So we've never seen a big story about a woman picking up the hammer and if you look at the inscription on the hammer it even says, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” I'm going to flip that on its ear and for the first time see what it's like to have a brand new version of Thor who is female; the Goddess of Thunder.

And the new volume will just be called “Thor,” correct?

Right. I like that. If it's “Thor: Something” it's a different kind of book. You pick up this book and it just says “Thor” on the cover, which features a new female version of Thor. It's pretty much telling you she's not She-Thor or Lady Thor. She's not Thorika. She is Thor. This is the new Thor. So I like that part of it.

Is this new Thor a character we've met already? Or is she a character we'll meet very soon?

When I say new character I mean a new version of Thor. Who the person is behind the mask will be a big question mark. The Thor we know will not know the answer to that question. Odin won't know the answer to that. No one will know who this new Thor is. Is the question of why Thor is no longer wielding Mjolnir something we'll see answered in books like “Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm?” Or September's “Thor: God of Thunder” #25? By the time we get to “Thor” #1 you'll have seen the answer to that. You'll see why Thor has become unworthy. We'll talk about that again in “Thor” #1. It's a very new reader-friendly issue, but it's also a continuation of everything I've been doing on “Thor: God of Thunder.”

So this is not me scrapping all the previous plans I had and starting over. This was kind of the idea from the get go. So everything was always moving towards Thor becoming unworthy and someone else having to pick up that hammer. Everything I've been setting up in “Thor: God of Thunder” with Malekith and the different dark unions of the Nine-now-Ten Realms, and the revelations of the “Tenth Realm” miniseries will continue to feed into the new book. It's a dark time for all these realms. We've got upheaval in Asgardia. At the end of “Thor: God of Thunder” #24 we see that Asgardia has to leave the Earth. So for the first time in quite awhile we won't have Asgardia hovering just above the Earth. It's out in space again. Some political turmoil has also begun in Asgardia. In the midst of all of this you tack on the fact that Thor can't pick up his hammer. It's an intense situation and clearly a situation that demands that there still be a Thor. So a new Thor has to arise out out of that.

Aaron is quick to point out that this is a new character wielding the hammer and mantle of Thor, not a derivative character, hence the book being titled “Thor”

I'm not going to reveal who's behind the mask of this new Thor, but if you look back over “Thor: God of Thunder” you'll find quite a few suspects. We've had quite a few female characters who have played quite big roles in the series so far. We also have a few more who will be playing roles in the new series. So if you're looking for suspects we have quite a few of them.

With that in mind, it sounds like this new “Thor” volume will have all of the action fans of your run love, but it will also feature a mystery and quite a bit of political intrigue. Is that accurate?

Absolutely, yes. There's certainly a lot of intrigue and dark maneuvering between all of these different realms that is very clearly building towards some kind of massive conflict. We're starting to see different realms align. We saw Malekith, the king of the Dark Elves, broker a deal with the Frost Giants, and we'll start to see the fruits of that collaboration. We'll start to see some other characters join that cabal as well; characters both new and old. ?So in the coming months we'll see the return of some familiar villains from Thor's past. That means this new Thor will certainly have her hands full and will have no shortage of people lining up to take her on including at some point, as you might expect, the previous version of Thor. I imagine he's not going to be too happy about someone else running about with his hammer, especially when he doesn't even know who it is.

Does that mean the old Thor isn't going anywhere? Will he still very much be a part of this new book?

Yes, Thor Odinson, the Prince of Asgard, will still be around. He's still Thor. That's his birth name. He's unworthy of Mjolnir, but he'll still have a role to play. If you've seen the cover of one of Jonathan Hickman's upcoming “Avengers” issues where it flashes forward into the future you see what appears to be Thor holding his axe, Jarnbjorn. So that's kind of a glimpse into our book's future as well. That's kind of where we've been heading.

Again it all goes back to what I've set up in “God of Thunder” where we had these three different versions of Thor — the young rambunctious Thor who wasn't yet worthy of picking up his hammer, present day Thor the Avenger, and then grumpy old King Thor. We'll continue to see those other versions, but we'll also start to see present day Thor becoming more of an amalgam of those other two versions.

Let's talk about the person bringing the different Thors appearing in this book to life, artist Russell Dauterman. His work over on “Cylops” has some sci-fi fantasy elements to it that seem like they would be a great fit for this new “Thor” series.

Yeah, I think so. His stuff looks awesome. Certainly Esad Ribic is a tough act to follow on Thor. I think he really defined the look and tone of the series. Then you also throw in people like Ron Garney, Das Pastoras, and Nic Klein. I had a ton of great artists working with me on “Thor: God of Thunder,” and I think everybody knew we needed to shift gears a little bit. There's no Esad Ribic, Jr. out there who can do the exact same sort of style as Esad.

So we wanted somebody different. I like the fact that Russell's work feels a little more sci-fi and maybe a little more Kirby. I think this is a brighter, poppier, more Kirby book, which makes sense in that it's a brand new version of Thor; a Thor who has just kind of come into this world and is seeing it through different eyes. I really like that part of it. I'm excited to see what Russell does on it.

The door is opened for a new Thor when the current Thor is deemed “unworthy” of wielding Mjolnir

Finally, it seems like you and “Loki: Agent of Asgard” writer Al Ewing are enjoying the chance to collaborate and cross pollinate ideas across your two books. Can we expect more of that when this new “Thor” series begins?

Yes, and you can expect that once there's a female version of Thor running around with Mjolnir that Loki is going to be very interested in that and will want to know what's going on. I did 25 issues of “Thor: God of Thunder” without ever showing Loki once. He never popped up, which was intentional. I never wanted Loki to show up until I had a good Loki story to tell. I wanted it to be pretty big. So we'll see Loki in this series for the first time in my “Thor” run. I'm as excited about about this “Thor” #1 as I was back in the Marvel NOW! days where we first launched “Thor: God of Thunder.” I'm still committed to seeing my story through; the story that began with “Thor: God of Thunder” #1. It's all one big story. I've turned down other jobs that have come up because I knew they would mean that I would have to give up Thor.

So I'm really happy with the stuff I'm working on at Marvel, and in particular “Thor.” I want to stick around until I get a big stack of issues under my belt. I want a couple of big Thor omnibuses by the time I'm done with this. The first issue of “Thor” kicks off with Frost Giants invading the Earth. Right out of the gate there's a big challenge that Thor Odinson, the unworthy Thor, doesn't seem to be quite up to. That sets the stage for somebody else to pick up that hammer.

A new Thor picks up the hammer this October in “Thor” #1 by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman.