What Is The Shadow Realm In Thor: Love And Thunder? A New Marvel Location Explained

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for "Thor: Love and Thunder."

Taika Waititi's "Thor: Love and Thunder" offers a compelling, terrifying villain in the form of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who emerges as a fresh threat to our heroes Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Mighty Thor (Natalie Portman), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and Korg (Waititi). Spurred by a life of hardship and immense personal loss, Gorr embarks on a path of vengeance, vowing to kill all the gods after the Necrosword chooses him.

In order to lure Thor and his friends to gain access to Eternity — the mystical wish-granting entity at the center of the universe — Gorr abducts a bunch of Asgardian children with the aid of his shadow monsters and keeps them in the Shadow Realm. However, what exactly is this dimension, and what can be gleaned about it from the Marvel comics, if at all? Here's a breakdown of how the Shadow Realm works in "Thor: Love and Thunder."

Why shadows become Gorr's ally after he wields the Necrosword

After Gorr's daughter dies due to harsh conditions and starvation, Gorr stumbles upon the paradise of Rapu, the god his people were devoted to for millennia. Instead of being rewarded for his steadfast loyalty, Gorr is demeaned by Rapu, as the god proclaims that devotees are replaceable and that their worth lies in the fact that they live and die with the idea that the gods are omnipotent. Jilted and enraged, Gorr is chosen by the Necrosword, a weapon capable of slaying the mightiest of gods, and he uses the weapon to kill Rapu, embarking on a mission to kill all gods.

It is interesting to note that "Thor: Love and Thunder" dilutes a significant chunk of comic book history surrounding the legendary weapon, as the All-Black Necrosword has a complicated history in terms of its creation and use. This missing connection could potentially explain why Gorr is able to work alongside his shadow monsters to terrorize people and gods alike, and chooses the Shadow Realm as the site for the confrontation between him and the heroes.

In the Marvel comics, the Necrosword was the manifestation of the first symbiote, springing forth from the shadow of a malevolent deity named Knull, its power gleaned from a slain Celestial. The Necrosword assumes its shape with the help of living darkness, which is essentially a sentient form of darkness with the ability to seduce and manipulate living beings as per its own will. This explains the whispers that emanate from the sword, urging Gorr to seek revenge on Rapu, and why the sword willingly chose Gorr as a weapon to carry out its wishes.

The history of the Necrosword and potential ties to the Shadow Realm

The shadow of Knull, which essentially powers the Necrosword, mimics the deity's motivations — the sword was wielded by Knull when he had been on a rampage to kill the gods and was killed in the process. After the death of its master, the Necrosword chose Gorr, granting him powers that Knull originally possessed, including immortality and the ability to manipulate shadows. As pointed out by Valkyrie, shadows are Gorr's greatest ally, as he can fashion any monstrosity out of them, making it clear as to why he would choose the Shadow Realm to lure them.

In the comics, Gorr used the Necrosword to create an entire planetoid at the edge of space, known as the Black World of Gorr. This living abyss has been refashioned into the Shadow Realm in "Love and Thunder," described as a dimension of infinite darkness, where color does not seem to exist (an illusion, of course, due to the sheer magnitude of the darkness, which seems to have a life of its own). The Shadow Realm appears to be a barren, lifeless planet, devoid of any prominent structures, except the shadows and the monsters that can assume any shape to oppose enemies.

What happens to the Shadow Realm in Love and Thunder?

Thor, Jane, and Valkyrie's journey to the Shadow Realm is in vain, as Gorr is able to get exactly what he wanted all along: Stormbreaker, Thor's weapon, which is the key to Eternity, an entity that grants a wish to the first person who reaches it. The trio is initially bound by Gorr's shadow monsters, and then they engage in a fight on the planet until Valkyrie is stabbed by Zeus' lightning bolt.

The last we see of the Shadow Realm is when Gorr uses Stormbreaker to travel to Eternity, taking the Asgardian children with him. Although the Necrosword is broken in the final confrontation between Jane, Thor, and Gorr, and the hilt of the sword is seen crumbling into dust, is that the last we see of the weapon and the shadows associated with it? While it is unclear whether Gorr created the Shadows Realm using the Necrosword or if it had simply existed and he had claimed it as his home, the dimension should technically crumble with the destruction of the Necrosword if this is indeed the case.

The comics see a return of the All-Black Necrosword even after it is subsumed by a black hole, but the MCU might be taking a completely different direction, as evidenced by the mid-credits sequence in which Zeus (Russell Crowe) talks to his son Hercules (Brett Goldstein) about enacting revenge on Thor. In this case, this indeed might be the last we see of the Shadow Realm and the Necrosword, although, anything can happen in the MCU. Who knows.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" is currently playing in theaters.