Natalie Portman is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to play Female Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder. One of the original cast members of the wildly successful franchise, Portman is one of the only ones who had a bit of a falling out with Marvel Studios. She played Jane Foster, the love interest to Thor, in the first two Thor movies, but the second appearance was thought to be her last after Marvel split ways with Patty Jenkins over creative differences.
Portman hasn't exactly been excited about the idea of returning to the MCU in recent years but was open to the idea, which is why many were surprised when she appeared at the Avengers: Endgame premiere. But, once people saw the movie, they realized that it was because she had a small role in the movie. While her physical appearance was by unused Thor: The Dark World footage, she did record an additional few lines for the Russo brothers.
However, she is now set to make a true return to the MCU and in her biggest capacity yet. Marvel confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con that Portman will appear in the fourth Thor movie, titled Thor: Love and Thunder, and that Jane Foster will be Female Thor in the movie. Portman will star opposite Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, who are returning as Thor and Valkyrie respectively.
The return of Portman as Jane in her Female Thor form is a huge change from where audiences last saw her in the present day. She was a successful astrophysicist after Thor: The Dark World, but her becoming Female Thor points to more difficult times for Jane if Thor: Love and Thunder follows the comics. In the source material, Jane gets cancer following the death of her family. She receives assistance from Asgard, and one day shows she is worthy to wield Mjolnir. The power of the hammer and transformation into Thor was revealed to perpetuate the cancer each time she transformed.
It is unclear how much of the comic roots Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi will pull from, but he is sure to put his own twist on Jane's story either way. The big question that Jane becoming Thor does bring is with Mjolnir itself. The magical hammer was destroyed by Hela in Thor: Ragnarok and the one Thor stole from 2013 was returned by Captain America at the end of Avengers: Endgame. So, either Mjolnir will be coming back or Jane will undergo this transformation through some other way. In any case, the MCU going this route with Jane and bringing Portman back makes the prospects of Thor: Love and Thunder all the more fascinating.