Jane Has Become An Afterthought To the MCU
As disappointing as Jane foster's characterization has been in the MCU, the problems are compounded by Ragnarok's handling of Thor and Jane's "break-up." Although Portman signed a three-picture deal, she became frustrated with behind-the-scenes drama at Marvel during production of Thor: The Dark World. Portman was considering taking a break from acting at the time in order to focus on her newborn son.
She was tempted back into acting by the promise of Patty Jenkins directing Thor 2, who actually had a "Romeo & Juliet meets Thor" pitch that would see Portman as a co-star. Unfortunately, Marvel had other ideas, and Jenkins left after only two months on the project. There have been reports that Jenkins's departure wasn't exactly on good terms, and that Portman, who had pushed for Marvel to make Jenkins the first female director or a superhero blockbuster, was particularly displeased. Whatever the truth of those rumors, Portman did not return for The Dark World's reshoots.
Then came Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, the most successful of the Thor franchise - in part because Waititi pretty much ditched everything established in the previous films for what he considered a reboot of the Thor story. The film saw Thor's best friends the Warriors Three killed off without any response from the hero. Jaimie Alexander's Sif was unavailable for filming, which may be all that saved her from sharing a similar fate.
But the romance with Jane Foster was the most startling of all: Thor and Jane had broken up. That revelation was tossed out in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it mention, bereft of emotion, with minimal impact. The message was clear: forget about Jane, she's not a part of Thor's story. After two films centered on the character, that's a pretty remarkable move by Marvel.
Is There Any Way to Redeem Jane Foster?
Believe it or not, it isn't too late for Jane Foster. The simple truth is that Marvel Comics hasn't always had a good history when it comes to Jane Foster, either. Back in the Silver Age she was nothing more than your traditional "damsel in distress." It took time (and skilled writers) to develop Jane as a character, with Jason Aaron's modern run fairly remarkable in its treatment of Jane, exploring her history and motivations in a deeper way than any comic book arc has to date.
That's the key to redeeming Jane Foster: hire a writer who's invested in the character, and who has a vision for her. Portman is a skilled actress, but so far she hasn't been given the best material to work with. If the rumors of behind-the-scenes drama at Marvel are right, she had good reason to be frustrated. But Marvel is, in no small sense, a different company now than it was then.
When Portman worked with them Ike Perlmutter was still in charge, and directors were struggling to deal with the Marvel Creative Committee. Marvel Studios has since been separated out from the rest of Marvel Entertainment, and the Marvel Creative Committe was disbanded. Given the significant organizational changes, it's no surprise Portman is willing to return to the MCU.
Chris Hemsworth is coming to the end of his Marvel contract, potentially leaving a Thor-sized hole in the MCU. Kevin Feige has mentioned the idea of a female Thor, and the Jason Aaron run shows just how well that could be done. While Mjolnir's destruction in Ragnarok makes this more difficult, the problem isn't insurmountable. After all, Thor crafts a new weapon in Avengers: Infinity War.
The character of Jane Foster may not have been treated well by Marvel so far, but there's no reason the future can't fix mistakes of thew past.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018