The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a fascinating place right now, as we're in the interim period between phases. Spider-Man: Far From Home ended the Infinity Saga, and fans are eager to dive back in and see what the studio has in store for Phase Four. One of the most highly anticipated movies coming down the pipeline is Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder, which will mark the first time a hero has gotten a fourth solo movie. The upcoming sequel will also bring back Natalie Portman's Jane Foster, who was last seen in The Dark World. Now the Oscar-winning actress has explained her absence in Waititi's highly acclaimed Ragnarok.
Thor: Ragnarok breathed fresh life into the franchise, with Taika Waititi putting his signature brand of humor, quirk, and heart into the threequel. But Jane Foster was noticeably missing, especially since Natalie Portmans' character was previously one of the property's biggest characters. She's since addressed her character's temporary departure from the MCU, saying:
They came to me. Obviously I wasn't written into the third Thor because of where it took place. It wasn't really on Earth and my character was on Earth. And then they came to me with the fourth idea and said, you know, 'We have this idea, that was a storyline in some of the comics, where Jane becomes Lady Thor.' And I was like, this is very exciting. And also of course with Taika, and I love Tessa [Thompson] and Chris [Hemsworth] so much. So it's exciting to get to work with them again. And yeah, I'm very excited to wield the hammer.
Honestly, that sounds about right. Thor: Ragnarok took the title character to new and exciting places. But Earth wasn't really a setting, and there wasn't a logical way to bring Jane Foster into the story. As such, she was promptly written off during the film's first act.
Natalie Portman's comments to ET make a great deal of sense, and shows just how thrilled the actress is with returning to take up the hammer as Jane-- especially with a new set of collaborators. The action of Thor: Ragnarok was split between the garbage planet Sakaar and the ill-fated Asgard. So there wasn't an obvious way to bring Jane into the action of the blockbuster, without it feeling similar to her presence in Asgard during The Dark World.
In fact, all of the human characters from the Thor franchise were absent during Ragnarok, not just Jane. Darcy and Dr. Selvig were both nowhere to be seen, with the latter previously serving a major presence in the greater MCU. It was revealed early in Ragnarok that Jane had broken up with the God of Thunder, with Chris Hemsworth's character further explaining the situation ahead of Avengers: Endgame's time heist.
Natalie Portman is eager to transform into Mighty Thor in Love and Thunder, a concept the fans are eager to see come to life as well. She'll be able to truly get into the action of the upcoming sequel, rather than standing on the sidelines as she had in her first two appearances. It's unclear if how much Taika Waititi is sticking to the comic books, including Jane's cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, we'll likely have to wait quite a while before any details are revealed.
Thor: Love and Thunder is set to arrive in theaters on November 5th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.