Natalie Portman confirmed as Mighty Thor in Marvel sequel

Actor will reprise Dr Jane Foster character who takes on Thor’s powers in Thor: Love and Thunder

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World. Portman will star as the female (Mighty) Thor in the fourth instalment of the Marvel franchise, Thor: Love and Thunder.
 Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World. Portman will star as the female (Mighty) Thor in the fourth instalment of the Marvel franchise, Thor: Love and Thunder. Photograph: Alamy

Natalie Portman will take up the mantle of Thor in the upcoming Marvel sequel Thor: Love and Thunder, announced on Saturday.

Stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, and director Taika Waititi, will also return from 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, and Portman will reprise her character of Dr Jane Foster, who debuted in the 2011 original.

For fans confused by the character and gender shift, Waititi explained that the movie would be based on an existing 2014 comic book storyline where Thor loses his abilities and Jane Foster wields his powers and magical hammer Mjolnir.

Further details of the plot have not been released, but the New Zealand director clarified that her name would be Mighty Thor.

And at the end of Hemsworth’s most recent on-screen appearance in Avengers: Endgame, the character had left his role as ruler of Asgard to join the Guardians of the Galaxy team, and appointed Thompson’s Valkyrie character as his replacement.

Thor: Love and Thunder is the fourth instalment in the franchise, and Waititi’s second time directing a Marvel film.

Portman has not featured in a Thor franchise film since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, which was not well-received critically. But Waititi’s Marvel debut with Ragnarok was praised for injecting a newfound sense of humour and style into the ailing franchise.

Portman posted on Instagram that she was “thrilled” to return to the series and to work with Hemsworth and Thompson.

“Remember this as the before picture for when I get jacked,” she joked.

No details have been released about whether Tom Hiddleston, who portrayed Thor’s brother Loki in the previous three films, would return. But Hiddleston was previously confirmed to feature in a new Marvel TV series, called Loki.

Tessa Thompson made her own big announcement among the many at Marvel’s Comic-Con panel. When asked on stage what her character Valkyrie’s first decision would be as King of New Asgard, Thompson answered, “First of all, as New King, she needs to find her Queen. That would be her first order of business. She has some ideas.”Tessa Thompson had already confirmed that Valkyrie, like in the comics, is bisexual.

A scene filmed for Thor: Ragnarok showed a woman walking out of Valkyrie’s bedroom, but it was cut “because it distracted from the scene’s vital exposition,” Thompson told Collider in 2017.

After the Comic-Con panel, Kevin Feige confirmed to io9, “The answer is yes,” when asked if Valkyrie would have an LGBTQ storyline. “How that impacts the story remains to be seen with that level of representation you’ll see across our films, not in just Thor 4.”

Also announced on Saturday was a Black Widow film starring Scarlett Johansson, a sequel to Doctor Strange, a reboot of Blade starring Mahershala Ali, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Marvel’s first Asian superhero film – starring Simu Liu and Awkwafina.

Last week the James Bond franchise announced that female actor Lashanna Lynch would take over the mantle of agent 007 in the next film, with Daniel Craig also set to return as a retired James Bond.

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