The Marvel Cinematic Universe is on the edge of a precipice, as Phase Three has officially come to a close. Spider-Man: Far From Home revealed how the Earth had moved on in the wake of Infinity War and Endgame, but there are still plenty of questions floating in the air. And once Marvel Studios revealed its outline for Phase Four at San Diego Comic-Con, even more questions arose.
This is especially true for the Thor franchise, as Taika Waititi announced his return for Thor: Love and Thunder. Natalie Portman is reprising her role as Jane Foster, and will even transform into Mighty Thor in the process. And it turns out that it was Waititi himself who convinced the Oscar winner to return to the MCU. As MCU architect Kevin Feige recently revealed this when speaking about the fourth Thor movie, saying:
We love the story -- it's one of the best comic runs recently. [Director Taika Waititi] would flip through and read that run while he was doing Ragnarok. And I think when he agreed to come back and do another Thor, he was like, 'How do we--?' This is a very big movie that'll be folding in a lot of elements. That is a huge important part of it. He pitched it to us, and we were totally in. We loved it. We'd been in touch with Natalie. She's part of the MCU family and we put she and Taika together. It took one meeting and she agreed to do it.
Kevin Feige's comments to CNN will make a great deal of sense to moviegoers who have been following the Thor franchise. Chris Hemsworth's series of solo flicks haven't always been the best the MCU had to offer, and Thor: The Dark World is considered one of the weaker installments in the massive franchise. That was the last time Natalie Portman was seen as Jane Foster, with the character being written out via breakup up with Thor.
While Jane was noticeably absent in Thor: Ragnarok, the threequel breathed new life into the property. Taika Waititi leaned in on comedy, taking the God of Thunder into space and pairing him with colorful characters, including The Hulk. The change in tone and color really connected with audiences, and Ragnarok made a ton of money at the box office. The success was significant enough that Thor will be the first hero to get a fourth movie in the MCU.
Clearly big changes are coming for Jane Foster in Thor: Love and Thunder, and the plot twists were enticing enough to get Natalie Portman involved. We'll just have to wait and see what's coming in the upcoming blockbuster, which will arrive in two years and change.
Jane Foster's absence from Phase Three was noticeable, and so much has changed throughout the last slate of films. On the whole, romantic plot lines took a step back, as characters develop in other ways. But the title Thor: Love and Thunder puts matters of the heart at the forefront. In fact, Tessa Thompson recently revealed that Valkyrie will be looking for her Queen of Asgard in the upcoming sequel.
Natalie Portman's signature Marvel character is a genius and astrophysicist, who unknowingly gets involved in cosmic conflicts during the first Thor movie. She eventually hits it off with the God of Thunder during his fish out of water story, joining the ranks of love interest characters like Pepper Potts and Peggy Carter.
She and Thor reunite in Thor: The Dark World, revealing that he hadn't exactly been around previously and slapping Chris Hemsworth's behemoth hero right in his handsome face. She is infected by The Aether in the movie, with the Reality Stone flowing through her. Jane eventually saved and makes it out alive, breaking up with Thor sometime in the future.
Jane Foster wasn't present for any of the action in Phase Three, although she did get a quick cameo in Avengers: Endgame. During the epic Time Heist, Thor and Rocket are tasked with extracting The Aether from Jane in Asgard. While Thor ends up speaking with his mother Frigga moments before her death, Rocket must sneak into Jane's quarters to procure the Reality Stone. Natalie Portman didn't shoot anything new for that brief sequence, with unused footage from The Dark World utilized to briefly use Jane as a macguffin.
What Jane has been up to throughout Phase Three is largely a mystery, although she and her co-workers Darcy and Erik Selvig were revealed to have survived Thanos' snap in a novel set after Avengers: Infinity War. Fans are eager to catch up with the character, especially now that she's going to be changed so drastically in Thor: Love and Thunder.
The overall story of the fourth Thor movie is a mystery to the public, although Taika Waititi clearly has been plans for his follow up to Ragnarok. The last we saw the God of Thunder, he was onboard The Benatar with the Guardians of the Galaxy. It was unclear if he was joining the team or simply hitching a ride, although the latter seems more likely given the announcement of Love and Thunder.
At the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, Thor decided to abandon his role as the King of New Asgard. Instead, he gave Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie and left Earth to become the person he was meant to be. The narrative possibilities are wide open for Taika Waititi in Thor: Love and Thunder, especially now that Natalie Portman will get her own chance to be a superhero.
Thor: Love and Thunder will fly into theaters on November 5th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.