Russell Crowe's Goofy Zeus May Not Be Far from His Greek Mythology Inspiration

Russell Crowe is bringing Zeus into the MCU in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder.’ But how does Marvel’s Zeus compare to the original Greek mythology god?

Jamie Lerner - Author

May 25 2022, Published 3:50 p.m. ET

Russell Crowe as Zeus in 'Thor: Love and Thunder'
Source: Marvel Studios

Many of Marvel’s characters come from different inspirations — from mythology to real-life historical figures. And the MCU draws from the comics, bringing those characters to life. In Thor: Love and Thunder, Marvel will finally introduce us to its version of Zeus, the very famous god from Greek mythology.

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While many of us are already familiar with Thor, Loki, and Odin, and now even Egyptian gods like Khonshu and Ammit, we haven’t delved quite as deep into gods like Zeus. He may not be as much of a hero as Thor in the comic books, but the fact that he’s portrayed by Russell Crowe in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder means that he must definitely be one to watch.

Russell Crowe as Zeus in 'Thor: Love and Thunder'
Source: Marvel Studios
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Marvel’s Zeus isn’t too different from the Zeus we know from Greek mythology.

Some of us may be familiar with Zeus because of his part in Disney’s Hercules, but now Disney is adding another Zeus to their IP. In the Marvel comics, Zeus is the leader of the Olympian gods. This actually connects him most directly to the Eternals, whom we met in Eternals. Zeus’s main part to play in Marvel comes when he strikes a deal with the Eternals that they will be the Olympian gods' representatives on Earth.

However, when humans begin worshipping the Eternals as actual Olympian gods, Zeus resents them and begins a war. He was also at the forefront of the war between the Olympians and the Asgardians, but in the comics, Zeus and Odin secretly meet to end the war and even align to defend the Earth from the Celestials.

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While Zeus is mostly “good” in the comic books, he also fights against Thor and the Avengers from time to time, but always ultimately acts in favor of the greater good. In Greek mythology, he’s actually not so different. Both versions are a God of the heavens, sky, and weather, whereas the Greek god Zeus is also technically a “god of thunder.” However, that could get confusing to Marvel fans because Thor is the God of Thunder.

Europa on Zeus as a bull
Source: Getty Images
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In both the comics and Greek mythology, Zeus’s most famous wife is Hera, who also happens to be his older sister. Yes, there is a lot of incest in Greek mythology … maybe that’s why Marvel spends more time with the Norse gods. And it just so happens that in all his iterations (except maybe the one in Hercules), Zeus is quite the philanderer. In Greek mythology, he even shape-shifts into different creatures to woo different women into bed.

Russell Crowe’s Zeus in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ is a bit goofy.

Perhaps this is just Taika Waititi’s take on the Greek god, or maybe Russell Crowe has decided to bring the humor to his version of Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder, but Zeus seems to be a bit of a buffoon. On the other hand, Zeus is notoriously a ladies’ man, and even by the end of his life in the Marvel comics, he shows up drunk and overweight. What is it about Marvel gods becoming lazy alcoholics?

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While Thor is able to break out of his sloth-y habits, Zeus might embrace them. Like Odin, Zeus is called an “allfather,” but he rules an entirely different race of gods. While Russell’s Zeus seems like a hilarious character we’d love to see more of, it’s likely that he dies early on in Thor: Love and Thunder.

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As we know from Greek mythology and his Marvel rendering, Zeus’s most common weapon is a thunderbolt fashioned into a tangible object by Hephaestus. And in one clip in the newest Thor trailer, we can see the Valkyrie fighting with what appears to be a thunderbolt.

How else would she have gotten his weapon? It’s very likely that Zeus will be the first major god to die by the hands of the villainous Gorr the God Butcher.

Thor: Love and Thunder is set to release in theaters on July 8.

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