While Iron Man was a hit right out of the gate and Captain America got his moment of acclaim in The Winter Soldier, the Thor franchise has never been high on anyone's MCU list. The first film had a certain charm to it and introduced the wonderful Loki, but The Dark World was something of a chore to get through for many fans and most critics. As such, anticipation has been high for the third film in the trilogy thanks to Taika Waititi helming the project and promising to reinvent the world from the ground up. And ever since EW gave us our first look at the characters of Thor: Ragnarok last week, the news has been flowing in regarding the film.
We learned about how Hulk will fit into the story, and found out a bit about Sakaar and how Hela will help to get Thor to the gladiator planet. We also learned that the new villain can create weapons from thin air, something that's sure to be a pain for our heroes. Meanwhile, we got our first look at Jeff Goldblum's eccentric Grandmaster and his colorful lair. Waititi also shared that the tone of the film was heavily influenced by Big Trouble in Little China. We've known the new movie would inject a lot more comedy into the world of Asgard, but all signs are pointing towards Marvel's most bold film yet.
One big remaining question, however, has been whether Natalie Portman would be returning as Jane Foster, Thor's love interest. Last we heard, in Age of Ultron, they were still together. Unfortunately, it looks like Thor has ghosted her according to what star Chris Hemsworth told EW.
“He’s off exploring the universe, still trying to police it and control the mayhem. But he’s certainly enjoying being a drifter, being a solo cowboy out there.”
Last summer, Portman said she was done with the franchise as far as she knew, but this looks to be our first confirmation that Thor will be single in the MCU moving forward. Of course, movies rarely let characters exist without a love interest, so now Thor's attention will turn to a fellow warrior. Unfortunately for Sif fans, that won't be Jamie Alexander, but rather new character Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige discussed why Valkyrie is such a match for Thor.
“We wanted Thor to encounter somebody that was near his equal and that his relationship with Jane may have evolved in unexpected ways in between The Dark World and Ragnarok and we wanted to pit him against a character who was much more his equal and in many ways his superior. Valkyrie is trying to not embrace any sort of Asgardian heritage that she has. Thor thinks maybe that will create a bond between them and, on the contrary, she wants to forget it all entirely.”
Valkyrie certainly looks to be an impressive character. We've heard from Thompson that the character has been reinvented for the movie. That should come as no surprise, given Marvel generally reimagines their characters when they adapt them to film. Meanwhile, we've got a feeling Valkyrie may just become an Avenger, mirroring her status in the comics as a Secret Avenger under Steve Rogers. Either way, she looks to be a sterling fighter, so here's hoping she and Gamora get to share a battle scene together in Infinity War.
As for Jane, her absence sets up a couple of issues. The first being how odd it will be if the last we heard of her was when Thor was bragging about her in Ultron. Hopefully, the movie will provide some explanation as to why they're apart, rather than leaving us to assume Thor just ditched her without a word. The second problem arises when we consider the future of Thor.
While Hemsworth can certainly stick around for awhile, many fans were hoping to see Jane Foster become the Goddess of Thunder like she has in the comics. With Portman out, either that plot is nixed or they'll have to recast at some point in the future. Given that the Jane of the comics is battling cancer and then literally transforms into a buff, blonde woman upon grabbing Mjolnir, it certainly wouldn't be hard to replace Portman without the change being obvious. Hopefully we'll have some more answers once Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters later this year.
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