While most actors who've signed on to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe seem to be enjoying the ride, one actress who's long been rumored to want out is Natalie Portman. Prior to the release of Thor: The Dark World in 2013, reports suggested that Portman was upset with Marvel Studios for firing original Dark World director Patty Jenkins and wanted to leave the film, but had to return as Jane Foster due to her previously-signed contract with the studio. Naturally, one would assume that someone who didn't want to come back for Thor 2 also wouldn't exactly be keen on participating in upcoming threequel, Thor: Ragnarok.
Sure enough, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has now confirmed that Portman won't be appearing in the third Thor film. This news doesn't exactly come as a shock, as it was previously reported when Creed actress Tessa Thompson was cast in a role that has yet to be revealed in Thor: Ragnarok, opposite Chris Hemsworth as the titular Asgardian warrior. At that point, the writing seemed on the wall for Portman's Jane Foster character, although it remains to be seen just how her absence will be addressed on-screen, if at all.
Whether one was a fan of Jane or not, her not being a part of Ragnarok should give rise to a somewhat different narrative feel, as Thor and Jane's relationship served as so much of the plot foundation in the first two Thor films. When asked for the reasoning behind Portman's departure on the Empire Film Podcast, Feige offered the following explanation
"Many reasons. Many of which are in the film so you will see that. There are only a couple of scenes on Earth in this movie. 80 to 90 percent takes place in the cosmos.”
While that does make a fair bit of sense, The Dark World proved that a story set off-Earth doesn't necessarily have to exclude Jane, as she spent quite a bit of time in Asgard during the film. On the other hand, it's unlikely that Thor would feel comfortable taking Jane into the midst of a cosmic battle, and would probably insist that she remain on Earth for her own safety. It'll be interesting to see if Thor goes through emotional turmoil over his breakup (?) with Jane before moving on to a potential relationship with someone else - though he may be too busy saving the universe with Bruce Banner/Hulk's (Mark Ruffalo) help in Ragnarok to throw himself back into the swinging single life.
Of course, a good-sized contingent of Marvel fans are likely to be left annoyed either way, as they continue to wonder why Thor doesn't just hook-up with Lady Sif, his seemingly logical female counterpart. Alas, it appears that she and the god of thunder are destined to remain platonic, at least for the time being.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.