Who is Balder the Brave? Everyone who’s ever watched an MCU movie knows Thor’s only got one brother, the mischievous Loki, but that’s not strictly true in Marvel comics.
In the books that inspired the MCU, Thor has another brother, Balder the Brave, and he’s just made his first appearance in the newest Marvel series, Loki, as a statue. Never heard of him? Don’t worry, Loki claims no one ever remembers him, so we’ve done our best to break down everything you need to know about this Thor character the MCU forgot (until now).
Who is Balder the Brave?
Balder the Brave is Thor’s half-brother and the Asgardian God of Light who first appeared in Journey Into Mystery #85, the same issue that introduced several key Thor concepts like Asgard, Odin, Heimdall, and the Bifrost Bridge.
While Balder’s never been seen in the MCU, he plays a major role in the comics, where he regularly battles alongside the Warriors Three, and he’s even become the King of Asgard on at least one occasion.
A lot of Balder’s story in the comics is pulled from Norse mythology, where it is believed that his death would trigger Ragnarok. In the comics, Odin commanded that Balder’s mother, Frigga (Thor’s mother isn’t Frigga in the comics), use her magic to make him invulnerable to harm, so Ragnarok would never begin, but Loki learned that there was an exception to the rule: mistletoe.
Using an arrow made of mistletoe wood, the God of Mischief managed to slay Balder, but Odin used his magic to bring his son back. Unfortunately, his brief trip to Hel (Asgardian Hell) traumatized him, and he gave up on a warrior’s life. Through the help of his friend Volstagg and his on-and-off lover Karnilla, Balder eventually decides to take up his sword once again — just in time to die, triggering Ragnarok.
Luckily, in the Marvel Comics Universe, Ragnarok’s less of a final end and more of an ongoing cycle, so Balder and his Asgardian friends were all eventually reborn with a bit of help from Thor. Unfortunately, with Asgard destroyed, the Asgardians had nowhere to call home, so Thor built them a new Asgard in Broxton, Oklahoma.
Around this time, Loki decided to be a dick, and he got Thor kicked off the throne for killing his grandfather Bor, leaving Balder in charge of Asgard. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. Doctor Doom quickly managed to trick Balder into moving the Asgardians to Latveria, where they were imprisoned, and soon after, Norman Osborn (Yes, the Green Goblin) invaded Asgard.
Feeling like a failure, Balder fell into another depression and eventually sacrificed himself while saving Asgard from the threat of the world eaters who were destroying the Nine Realms.
If you think this was the end of Balder, though, you’ve clearly not been reading comics for as long as we have. Balder’s spirit was sent to Hel again, where he spent the next few years, eventually becoming the King of Hel and nearly marrying Hela, of all people.
Thankfully, before he could marry the infamous Marvel villain, he was restored to life by his old flame, Karnilla. Following this, Balder fought in Malekith’s War of the Realms, where he helped Thor and the Avengers defeat the Dark Elf.
What are Balder’s powers and weaknesses?
As the Asgardian God of Light, Balder is capable of moving at superhuman speeds beyond an average Asgardian, and he can produce powerful beams of light that are hot enough to melt a Frost Giant. He also possesses some knowledge of magic, but not to the same extent as someone like Loki.
Balder’s most notable ability, though, is his invulnerability. Even for an Asgardian, Balder is incredibly resistant to damage, and as long as he’s in the Asgard dimension, he’s almost completely immune to any attack. Balder’s invulnerability is unique to him and is a result of his mother Frigga’s enchantments.
In addition to his abilities as the God of Light, Balder has all the abilities natural to an Asgardian, including superhuman strength, stamina, and speed. He also ages slower than the mortals of Midgar and is a master swordsman.
Despite being an incredibly powerful Asgardian, Balder does have some weaknesses, and they’re only slightly ridiculous. His biggest weakness is weapons made of mistletoe (a weakness he shares with the real-life god who inspired Balder), which can hurt him despite his mother’s spells. Similarly, when he leaves Asgard, the enchantment that makes him invulnerable lifts, and he’s vulnerable again, or at least as vulnerable as an Asgardian can be.
Will we ever see Balder in the MCU?
To be honest, while we’d love to see Balder the Brave in the MCU one day, we don’t think it’s too likely he’ll appear in any upcoming Marvel movies. Instead, his statue was likely a playful reference for fans of the comics who’ve been wondering about Balder’s absence for years now.
There were actually rumors at one point that Daniel Craig would play Balder in the Thor 4, but they obviously turned out to be false. We can’t see Thor 5 being announced anytime soon, so Balder fans will have to wait for another day.
If you need a refresh on your Marvel history, we recommend checking out our guide explaining how to watch all the Marvel movies in order. Or if you need a break from all the cape and cowl stuff, check out our list of the best TV series of all time.