“THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER” Bringing Back NATALIE PORTMAN…As FEMALE THOR

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Last week, just as the 2019 San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) was about to kick off over the weekend, Marvel Studios announced that Taika Waititi, the New Zealand director that made the 2017 film “Thor: Ragnarok” into a surprise blockbuster due to its different tone, would also be returning to be at the helm of “Thor 4.” Then as the SDCC went underway, during the Hall H Marvel panel, the Phase 4 film release timetable of the Marvel Cinematic Universe revealed that “Thor 4” is “Thor: Love and Thunder.” And then they revealed the movie as an adaptation for one of the “Thor” Marvel Comics’ best-known recent storylines from 2014.

According to IGN, not only did fans of the MCU franchise finally learn what movies are up for Phase 4, and not only did they finally learn the subtitle for the fourth “Thor” movie, they also learned that actress Natalie Portman, who portrayed the human scientist love interest of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, will be returning for the film after last being in 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World.” But the real kicker was the circumstances by which how Portman’s return as Jane Foster was revealed: she will become a female Thor.

During the “Thor: Love and Thunder” segment of the Marvel Hall H panel during SDCC 2019 on Saturday, July 20, director Taika Waititi along with lead stars Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson came before the crowd to say a few words about the project. Waititi’s commentary however reveals that the film’s plot is likely lifted from the circa-2014 Marvel Comic storyline of “Thor,” wherein the God of Thunder becomes unworthy to lift his warhammer Mjolnir, which is taken up by Jane to transform into a female Thor. When Waititi called Portman onstage, he even reverently handed her the Mjolnir prop hammer, which she lifted up to the cheers of the audience.

In the comics, Jane Foster would carry the mantle of Thor four years, 2014 to 2018. Her circumstances were dire, as she was also suffering from cancer. Whenever she used Mjolnir to become Thor, she transforms into an Asgardian form only to return to her cancer-ridden self when the change is undone. Worse, her chemotherapy treatments were undone every transformation, making her cancer worse to the point that she could potentially die after de-transforming as Thor one last time. She eventually returns the title of Thor to the actual character.

Taika Waititi notes that the script for “Thor: Love and Thunder” has yet to begin development, though it is indeed drawing from the plotline by Jason Aaron, who wrote the “Jane-Thor” comic story arc. Marvel Studios expects to release the film by November of 2021.

Image courtesy of National Post

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