One of the biggest surprises to come out of Marvel’s panel at the San Diego Comic-Con was that Natalie Portman would be returning to the MCU as Jane Foster in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Given that there were numerous reports that she was unhappy with the way her character was treated in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, combined with the fact that she only appeared in Avengers: Endgame via unused footage, and, y’know, the small fact that she’s one of the most popular actors in the world, most assumed her stint in the MCU was over. But it looks like Taika Waititi has successfully tempted her back with a script where she becomes the Goddess of Thunder. And honestly, who could turn that down?
The news raises a lot of questions though, namely how Jane’s going to prove worthy enough for the title, what this means for regular brand Thor and whether this will be a temporary or permanent shift for the character? But however it shakes out, one thing is certain: Natalie Portman’s going to put on some serious muscle for the role.
The actress posted on Instagram the other day saying how excited she was to play the part and shared a picture of her on stage with Mjolnir. She captioned it: “Remember this as the before picture for when I get jacked.”
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While the news was met with surprise, Jane Foster becoming Thor is actually a great case of the MCU taking inspiration from the comics. In Thor 4 #1 (published in December 2014), the hero became unworthy of wielding Mjolnir, resulting in the hammer being stuck on the moon. But Mjolnir had plans, as it telepathically sought out Jane Foster, having realized over the years that she would be a fine custodian for its power. With Heimdall assisting her in getting to the moon, Foster lifted the hammer (the inscription promptly changed to “Whosoever hold this hammer, if she be worthy, shall possess the power of… Thor.”) and bam! Female Thor.
Male Thor was a little put out by this development, but eventually made his peace when he saw that Foster was indeed worthy enough for the title. He relinquished his mantle, renaming himself Odinson and went off to wander the galaxy. I’d expect Thor: Love and Thunder to broadly follow this arc, and I can’t wait to see Portman and Hemsworth bouncing off one another as their power dynamic shifts. Plus, we get more Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and who’s going to say no to that?