Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige kept his word Saturday night at San Diego Comic-Con and unveiled plans for the MCU’s Phase Four. The information rollout was massive and included not only confirmation of The Eternals cast but a Blade reboot, starring Mahershala Ali as Marvel’s vampire hunter, and a few major chunks of news about the recently greenlit title previously known as Thor 4. First up, Kevin Feige confirmed that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie will officially be the MCU’s first LGBTQ superhero. He said this after Thompson teased how, as the new ruler of New Asgard, Valkyrie’s “first order of business” will be that “[a]s new king [of Asgard], she needs to find her queen.”
The Valkyrie news might be what the Russo Brothers were referring to when they said that a current Marvel character was secretly gay. Plenty of hints have been dropped about Valkyrie already, and yes, it’s a huge development but not necessarily a surprise (a deleted scene revealed her bisexuality). What was quite shocking about the new Thor movie, though, is that Natalie Portman will not only return as Jane Foster for what’s officially titled Thor: Love And Thunder, but she’ll be the female Thor. We’ll hash out why this is confusing for a few reasons (and what it might mean) in a moment, but according to Vulture, Hall H attendees were at least a little perplexed:
But on Saturday, not a trace of antipathy was on display. Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi explained the upcoming film will borrow a plot line from the Thor graphic novel written by Jason Aaron that features a female God of Thunder. “For us, there’s only one person who could play that role and she’s here,” Waititi said.
As Portman strode across the stage, there was both glee and confusion from the 7,000 or so panel attendees in Hall H. Hemsworth handed her his signature Mjolinir. “I always had hammer envy,” Portman said with a mischievous smile.
Notably, Chris Hemsworth will also star in Thor: Love And Thunder, so he’s still Thor (?), but Portman’s Foster will be The Mighty Thor. Well, in addition to this development providing fodder for so many fan theories to come over the next two years (this movie is currently scheduled for November 5, 2021) there’s the matters of confusion to address: (1) Portman’s height is 5’3″ according to Google, so the idea of her as Mighty Thor is, well, something that folks will have to digest; (2) Portman was, according to Hollywood Reporter, reportedly dissatisfied while working on Thor: The Dark World (in part due to Patty Jenkins’ departure) and told Vanity Fair in 2016 that she was done with the MCU.
Also, it’s worth remembering that people were surprised to recently see Portman on the Avengers: Endgame red carpet, but Portman didn’t shoot any new scenes for the time-traveling epic (it was all unused footage from The Dark World with a voiceover). So yes, the return of Portman, especially in such a monumental Jane Foster capacity, was unforseen, but everyone on stage seemed excited for the new chapter, and Portman must hold confidence in Taika Waititi. For sure, if there’s anyone to trust with big shifts like these, it’s definitely Waititi, who resurrected the Thor standalone movies with Ragnarok and who will be directing and writing the fourth movie. And we know without a doubt that Thor-related character development will continue to be a priority. Oh, it looks like Jane Foster’s worthy of wielding Mjölnir in the MCU. Huh.