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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is filled with many bittersweet romances, from Tony Stark and Pepper Potts to Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter. With Thor: Ragnarok due out in November, fans have been left wondering as to the fate of the high-profile love affair between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) — until now!
What’s Going On With Thor and Jane Foster in 'Thor: Ragnarok'?
Back in the Asgardian hero’s first solo movie, Thor and Foster became close during his exile on Earth. Their courtship carried on over through the rest of Thor’s MCU appearances, and became a large part of his character arc.
Sure, Portman and Hemsworth may not have had the same sort of chemistry as Robert Downey Jnr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, but hey, they certainly made a very visually pleasing couple! Plus, they performed fairly admirably in the often-ridiculed #MCU entry The Dark World. Although Thor and Foster's relationship didn't set the screen on fire, many fans were invested in Foster as a character, and hope to one day see Jane Foster wield Mjolnir, as she has in the comics.
Thus, fans were confused when the news broke that Portman wouldn’t be returning for the upcoming Ragnarok. It wasn't surprising, per se; Portman’s reluctance to return to the series is well-documented.
But, we #Marvel fans are sticklers for continuity, and eagerly awaited an explanation to Jane Foster's sudden disappearance. Would her absence be explained by a throwaway comment as it was in The Avengers, or would Loki’s "concerns" in The Dark World have come true?
Entertainment Weekly spoke with many of the minds behind the newest Thor movie, and they succinctly summed up the current state Thor/Foster fling:
“Simple: Thor and Jane broke up.”
Oh dear. It seems that tragedy has struck another Marvel couple, what with Tony and Pepper on a break and the future of Cap and Sharon Carter still up in the air following the events of Civil War. Clearly, being a hero takes its toll on our heroes' love lives, especially when they're gallivanting around the galaxy, trying to find out about Thanos and the Infinity Stones.
It’s a shame, because #Thor seemed so proud of Jane back in Age of Ultron — though in hindsight, her absence was probably foreshadowing Portman's departure even then. But according to Chris Hemsworth, Thor won’t be too cut up about the breakup in Ragnarok — he has more pressing matters on his mind:
"[H]e’s certainly enjoying being a drifter, being a solo cowboy…exploring the universe…trying to police it and control the mayhem…”
Thor might be enjoying the single lifestyle, yet the fast-approaching destruction of Asgard is sure to take precedence over his bachelor ways. However, in Ragnarok there is another female character on the scene, who is sure to turn the Thunder God’s head — and no, it’s not #CateBlanchett’s smoking hot Hela…
There's A New Lady On The Scene In Thor: Ragnarok
Thor: Ragnarok sees the introduction of #Westworld’s Tessa Thompson as the formidable Valkyrie, who promises to be a tough and tenacious lady, the likes of which Thor has not yet encountered. Though fans are excited to see Valkyrie on-screen, it seems that her arrival comes directly at the expense of poor Jane Foster:
“We wanted Thor to encounter somebody that was near his equal...we wanted to pit him against a character who was much more his equal and in many ways his superior...”
Whoa, wait, is Feige saying that Foster wasn't Thor's equal? Just because the MCU Foster wasn't super-powered and couldn't punch as hard as Thor, doesn't mean she should be considered inferior. She's a respected and famous astrophysicist, after all! It also seems apt to mention that Jane Foster in currently Thor in the comics, as Thor himself lost the ability to wield Mjolnir, and Foster was deemed more worthy.
We're sure (or at least hopeful) that Feige misspoke. That being said, Marvel have a history of dropping the ball with many of their female characters, and it seems Foster is the latest in a long line of female supporting players to get dropped by the wayside.
Our only hope is that Ragnarok puts an end to this trend by making Valkyrie the kind of compelling, three-dimensional female character that fans yearn for. Certainly, in the comics Valkyrie was an important part of the Thor mythos, and was leader of the Valkyrior, a crack team of Asgardian goddesses who rode winged horses, righted wrongs and were generally awesome. Since those early days, she’s featured as a mystical defender of Earth in many of Marvel’s huge crossover events, in which she’s proven herself as a capable and committed combatant. And that's not all! In some cases, such as the Ultimate Universe, she and Thor have shared a passionate relationship.
But whether or not this will translate to the big screen is another matter entirely. Kevin Feige is keeping mum on that particular front, and when pressed to divulge even the slightest of details about Thor and Valkyrie, he does hint that things won’t be easy between them, initially at least:
“Valkyrie is trying to not embrace any sort of Asgardian heritage that she has. Thor thinks maybe that will create a bond between them … [but] she wants to forget it all entirely.”
Now that is interesting. What could have caused Valkyrie to turn away from Asgard? And why is she set to meet up with Thor on Sakaar — the gladiatorial realm of the Grandmaster — of all places? It must be said that it’s great to see Valkyrie finally debut onscreen with such a worthy talent portraying her, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how Thor and Valkyrie resolve their issues in the face of the oncoming threat- especially when you throw the rivalry of Loki and Doctor Strange into the mix!
But with Thor thundering off into adventures new, does that mean that Natalie Portman’s time in the MCU is truly over?
Could Jane Foster Ever Return?
Jane and Thor enjoy a moment in Asgard [Credit: Marvel Studios]
As we mentioned earlier, Natalie Portman never seemed too cheery about her commitment to the MCU; however, her attitude seems to have changed more recently. Indeed, when she sat down on the promotional tour for Jackie, Portman seemed far more enthusiastic about reentering the cinematic saga of Thor, if her commitments to other projects allowed it:
"Yeah, hopefully one day I [will be able to] figure it out."
Marvel may have won over audiences, but it has also left a trail of talented people in its wake, who were clearly irked by the treatment they received and were very vocal about it. Unsurprisingly, none of them have returned to our screens in a Marvel movie again, but with both Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman changing their tune, there may yet be a reconciliation between these actors and the studio. Could we see Jane Foster return to rekindle her romance with Thor, and potentially birth an awkward love triangle between her, Thor and Valkyrie? It certainly seems possible.
Then again, a lot of attention has been given to the more recent comics, in which an ailing Jane Foster assumes the role of Thor when the god himself becomes unworthy to hold the title.
Could Natalie Portman wield Mjolnir in a future Marvel movie? It may seem unlikely now with Chris Hemsworth’s popularity at an all-time high, but you never know; many people didn’t think that Spider-Man would ever feature in the MCU, but here we are!
All of this proves just how many possible avenues there are for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to explore…and that’s just with the God of Thunder alone. But we’ll have to see if he survives the Ragnarok first!