In July of last year, it was confirmed that Marvel Comics was moving forward with a new version of Thor - this one being a woman. At the time, we speculated how this news would potentially change the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that was even before we found out who it was underneath the mask. Now that that very interesting information has been revealed, the prospects of the female Thor on the big screen have become a bit more interesting.
SPOILER WARNING: If you've been reading the most recent run of Thor comics, the following article will spoil a big reveal coming in the next issue.
Preempting the superhero reveal that will be featured in Thor #8 - set to hit shelves tomorrow, May 13th - the New York Times has spilled the beans in regards to the true identity of the female God of Thunder, and have revealed that she is in fact Dr. Jane Foster, a former girlfriend of Thor's in the comics and perhaps best known in the larger pop culture sphere for being played by Natalie Portman in both Kenneth Branagh's Thor and Alan Taylor's Thor: The Dark World.
So let's start by discussing the obvious, shall we? For the time being, it doesn't look like Marvel Studios is super keen on ditching Chris Hemsworth and going in a totally different direction with the Thor character, and the fact that he will be front and center in Thor: Ragnarok and back for more action in The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and 2 is proof positive of that. But what about beyond that? Marvel will need options when they are unable to extend an actor's contract any further, and the comics just opened up a very interesting window.
If all this sounds familiar, it's because there has been similar speculation floated in the past surrounding other characters. Specifically, you may remember the big announcement from last summer that Sam Wilson - better known as Falcon - was going to become the new Captain America, replacing the super soldier serum-less Steve Rogers. At that time we wondered if the Marvel movies could ever see Anthony Mackie strap on a patriotic-colored Vibranium shield, and also noted that Sebastian Stan (the man with a nine-picture deal) is another alternative to become Cap. Now Natalie Portman's Jane Foster simply sits in a similar position on the Thor side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe narrative.
SPOILER WARNING #2: The following paragraph will contain spoilers for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Read on at your own risk!
It's also worth mentioning that Marvel Studios has already started seeding the idea of other characters picking up Thor's mighty hammer. It's a notable moment in The Avengers: Age of Ultron when Paul Bettany's Vision shows that he can lift Mjolnir with ease - an act that ultimately earns him the trust of the titular team. It's true that the red android didn't exactly turn into the God of Thunder, but it did narratively set up the idea of other characters being worthy. Of course, it's equally possible to look at the situation as a potential setup for Beta Ray Bill, but the fun of speculation is examining all of the options.
It may not happen for many, many more years, but could you see Natalie Portman taking hold of Mjolnir in future movies and transforming into the MCU's new version of Thor? Hit the comments below with your thoughts!