Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con presentation contained several intriguing revelations, and one of the bigger ones was the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in the MCU. Not only that, but Foster will pick up the hammer as a female Thor in Thor: Love And Thunder. Director and visionary Taika Waititi has since corrected us all with an instruction to refer to her only as “Mighty Thor,” and he’s the one in charge of this train, so his declaration shall be duly noted. Official labels aside, it’s still surprising to see Portman return to Marvel Studios, given that she wasn’t thrilled to appear in Thor: The Dark World for multiple reported reasons. So how did Marvel Studios and Disney engineer her return?
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige spoke with CNN about Phase Four and beyond, and one of his standout tidbits filled in some Foster/Portman blanks. Unsurprisingly, Waititi was the key to convincing Portman, yet as it turns out, Foster’s return have been part of the Ragnarok director’s plan all along? Given that Waititi was already enthralled with a plot line from Jason Aaron’s graphic novel, that’s what it sounds like:
“We love the story — it’s one of the best comic runs recently. [Director Taika Waitit] 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.”
Feige also elaborated more on the MCU’s overall Phase Four plan, which he promises has been a long game to craft unexpected twists and turns from characters who audience already know, like Black Widow. He promises that her standalone film will turn out “in a way that you don’t expect” because he’s pushing for fresh approaches to all of these beloved character’s stories. And of course, the MCU is also adding Shang-Chi and Eternals movies to the mix, along with Black Panther and Doctor Strange sequels to boot. Feige seemed completely confident in Marvel Studios’ overall plan while speaking with CNN, and he even suggested that planning for Phase Five was heavily in process.
Thor: Love And Thunder will arrive on November 5, 2021.