Chris Hemsworth is back as Thor, crashing back to Earth in Thor: Love and Thunder. However, for this installment, Hemsworth is not alone. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is making her triumphant return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but this time wielding Mjolnir as The Mighty Thor.
But wait, how is this possible? Isn’t Jane human? Wasn’t Mjolnir destroyed? Let’s get to the bottom of who Jane Foster is and how she becomes The Mighty Thor.
Who is Jane Foster?
Folks may have seen the first two MCU Thor films and thought to themselves, "we know Jane Foster." But the comic book origins of the character couldn’t be more different. For instance, did you know Jane, who first debuted in Journey into Mystery #84, was called Jane Nelson in her first two appearances? She was a nurse for Thor’s alter-ego, Dr. Donald Blake, and was reduced to the role of damsel in distress who exists solely to pine for Thor/Donald Blake not knowing the two are one in the same.
In Journey into Mystery #124, Donald Blake finally reveals to Jane that he’s Thor. He decides to bring Jane to Asgard. There she’s granted immortality and powers and put through a test of courage to see if she could live as an Asgardian, which she ends up failing. When she does, she’s returned to Earth without any memory of Asgard or Thor’s identity and falls in love with a doctor named Keith Kincade. Jane and Kincade stayed together for some time in the comics, while Thor was eventually paired off with Sif. Eventually Jane gets married to Kincade and has a kid. She does become a medical doctor in the late 90s of the Thor comics and spends much of the 00s helping treat Team Cap during Civil War and joining the Secret Avengers.
She eventually becomes The Mighty Thor, but slow your roll, we’ll get to all that in a lot more depth in a little bit.
Who is Jane Foster in the MCU?
While the storyline for the MCU’s version of Jane Foster isn’t as convoluted as her character’s history in the comics, it’s admittedly not the most compelling. Jane finds Thor using science, they fall in love and she makes him worthy again. They are separated when he goes back to Asgard and destroys the Bi-Frost. They then reunited in Thor: The Dark World. However, sometime in between Avengers: Age of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok, they have an offscreen "mutual dumping," according to Thor.
The first two Thor movies have been widely considered to be on the lower end of the MCU spectrum and neither film really knew what to do with Jane. She’s a better than average love-interest that solely exists to inspire our hero to become super again in Thor. In the second movie she is literally a prop; the walking Reality Stone. That’s a shame because the character’s theories on Einstein Rosen Bridges and wormholes have made her one of the most intelligent characters in the MCU, while her scenes with colleagues Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) are quite charming and funny.
How does Jane Foster become the Mighty Thor?
In the comics, Jason Aaron majorly retconned much of the character of Jane Foster, making her so much more compelling than she ever was. Jane's mother died of cancer and her father died of a heart attack when she was young. Eventually her marriage to Kincade dissolves and she loses custody of her son, Jimmy, but they both end up dying in a car accident.
Then sadly, while Thor Odinson is battling Gorr the God Butcher, Jane gets diagnosed with breast cancer. After Nick Fury whispers something to Thor, later revealed to be "Gorr was right" — referring to the idea that no gods are worthy — Odinson loses the ability to wield Mjolnir. An unknown woman, however, ends up lifting it and ends up taking on the mantle of Thor. While Thor doesn’t suspect Jane due to her weakened state from the cancer, he’s quickly proven wrong, when Jane reveals she’s now The Mighty Thor.
Unfortunately for Jane, while wielding Mjolnir as Thor purges the cancer from her body, it also removes the chemotherapy chemicals helping to fight the cancer. So whenever she stops wielding Mjolnir and returns to her mortal state, she gets sicker.
Thor: Love and Thunder is said to follow a lot of the cancer subplot from the Aaron run. However, there are no current reports suggesting Thor is going to become unworthy at any point during the film. Even at his lowest point during Avengers: Endgame he is comforted by the notion that he’s still worthy after having a heart-to-heart with Frigga (Rene Russo).
Will we see more of Jane Foster as The Mighty Thor?
Given the hefty anticipation in seeing Portman finally get her chance to wield the hammer, fans are eagerly awaiting to see Mighty Thor much more throughout the MCU.
When asked about potential future team ups Portman revealed in a recent interview that she’d love to participate in future team ups with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie. Fans were speculating whether this would be Hemsworth’s final outing as the Asgardian god, with Portman potentially taking over, but Hemsworth possibly shot down that himself, saying, "I’ll do it until someone says get off the stage."
So if Portman’s Mighty Thor sticks around, we may see her and Thor team up Ant-Man and the Wasp style. One can dream.
Thor: Love and Thunder premieres exclusively in movie theaters on July 8. Tickets are now on sale.
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Mike is a proud, sarcastic nerd with a penchant for comic books, comic book movies, and movies in general, and occasional delusions of grandeur. He's also a UC Berkeley graduate who decided to go into writing over pre-med because he figured he'd ultimately save more lives by not being a doctor. He's a Slytherin and a Pisces, so he's very emotionally sensitive, yet also evil, but can be defeated by exploiting his insecurities. His goal is to live one hell of a unique life, and it's been working so far! His proudest moments are being retweeted by James Gunn and Ryan Reynolds in the same week, and getting 999,999 points on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland.
You can find Mike's writing around the web at publications like The Nerds of Color, What to Watch, Spoiler Free Reviews, and That's It LA.