With Avengers: Infinity War approaching, much geeky speculation has centered around who will survive. Practically, we know contracts are expiring. Narratively, we know for Thanos to be the monstrous villain he’s been presented as, not everyone can make it out alive. If this line of logic isn’t enough to assure us some of our beloved Avengers won’t make it, Kevin Feige literally told Joblo’s Eric Walkuski that Avengers: Infinity War will mark the end for some characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that in mind, here’s my AMAZING DREAM (and, if I’m being honest, kick ass perfect idea) that I’ve no reason to believe will come to pass – I would love to see Natalie Portman pick up Mjölnir and have Jane Foster become Thor in the MCU!
Why talk about this today? Well as we get closer to Thor: Ragnarök I’ve decided to do a little series saluting my love of Thor. Thursday seems like an appropriate day of the week for this because Thursday is literally Thor’s Day. That’s what the name means. All of our days of the week have their roots in pagan worship. In brief, Sunday is obviously for sun worship. Monday goes to the moon. Tuesday is Týr’s Day, the Norse god of war. Wednesday is Woden’s (or Odin’s) Day. Thursday is for our guy Thor. Friday is for Frigg, the Queen of the Norse gods. And Saturday revolves around Saturn, the Roman name for the King of the Titans. (How a Roman titan got mixed in with all these Norse deities is something I’d have to research more to figure out…which clearly I haven’t done (at least not yet (but you’re on the internet so if it’s really bothering you, you can Google it (let me know if you figure out anything exciting okay?))).) But why am I talking about Natalie Portman becoming Thor in the MCU?
Well, it’s on my mind so I figured why not? Also, I’m sure Kevin Feige is trying to figure out what to do when Chris Hemsworth eventually decides he wants to hang up his hammer and, since I’m pretty sure Kevin Feige reads my blog on the regular (just like the people at Sony Pictures), I figured I’d help him out. I’m nice like that.
Here’s the thing. I love Chris Hemsworth as Thor. You love Chris Hemsworth as Thor. I’m pretty sure we all love Chris Hemsworth as Thor. The man’s amazing! He brought what could have been a terribly awkward and implausible character to life on the big screen in a way that made him real and endearing while also maintaining the sense of raw power and gravitas that Thor should carry. It will be a sad, sad day when he decides he’s done with the role. However, as sad as the thought makes me, I think he’s a logical choice to be one of the heroes we lose in Avengers: Infinity War. I don’t want that to be the case! But I think it may play out that way.
Practically speaking, the man’s been with the MCU since 2011 and has played Thor in what will be six films by next spring: Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015), Thor: Ragnarök (2017), and then Avengers: Infinity War (2018). That’s seven years of the crazy workout and diet required to keep him in “Thor shape.” Sooner or later he has to get tired of it. I think either Infinity War or whatever Avengers film follows could be a logical exit point (I expect/dread Chris Evans may want to hang up his shield as Captain America for similar reasons). Also, his current Marvel movie contract expires after the yet-to-be-titled Avengers 4. Whether we lose him there or in Infinity War and then have some sort of flashback or whatever in the fourth Avengers film is anyone’s guess.
On the narrative side, the new Thor film is titled Thor: Ragnarök. The implications are pretty clear. Ragnarök is the Norse myth for the end of the world, the “twilight of the gods.” Granted Marvel (both in the comics and in the films) plays pretty fast and loose with Norse mythology but it seems like we’ve a few major warning signs Thor could be in danger. In the myths, none of the gods survive Ragnarök. We have a film with that name followed by a film where the Avengers battle a being literally in love with death, wielding the transcendental power of God…a film where we know everyone won’t survive AND his contract’s up. I’m just sayin’…I’m pretty worried.
I hope I’m wrong. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Chris Hemsworth as Thor yet!!! But, if we’re all lucky and I am wrong, there will still come the day when Chris Hemsworth will want to walk away from this role. On that day the powers-that-be need to immediately sign Natalie Portman up to reprise her role as Dr. Jane Foster and become Thor herself!
Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have already given us the precedent in their The Mighty Thor comics. Back in the Fall of 2014, in the wake of Marvel’s “Original Sin” event, the Odinson found himself unworthy to lift Mjölnir. However, the universe needs a Thor so the hammer called out to someone who was worthy. Readers ultimately learned this mystery woman wielding Mjölnir was none other than Jane Foster! Adding a heavy emotional core to the story, we learn Jane is battling cancer. It began in her breast, spread to her lymph nodes, and has continued to ravage her body. Each time she used Mjölnir to transform the hammer “heals” her…which means it purges her body of the poison that is her chemo. Being Thor is literally killing her. Yet Jane continues to answer Mjölnir’s call because it’s the right thing to do. Through the course of her three years as Thor, Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have consistently given me the best Thor comics I’ve ever read in my life and woven a thought-provoking narrative about what it truly means to be a just and worthy god. All of this can add incredible depth to the MCU while continuing to allow Mjölnir to strike for justice alongside the Avengers. Obviously, this needs to happen.
First, the Marvel Cinematic Universe needs a Thor. Thor is our natural bridge between the Earth and the cosmic side of the MCU. If we lose Thor we lose that bridge to the cosmos and we also lose Asgard and all it brings to the table. No other narrative or character in the MCU so naturally weaves together outer space, aliens, and medieval weaponry! Also, with Jane Foster as Thor we have great comedic potential too. Part of Thor‘s incredible charm was the fish-out-of-water humor that filled the whole film. However, once Thor hung around on Earth for a little bit he naturally acclimatized himself. But with Jane as Thor she’d have all the Nine Realms and the entire cosmos to traverse, leading to lots of awkward and hilarious moments. Best of all, Jane doesn’t have to travel by herself! How great would it be to have Kat Dennings along for the ride?! Then we’d have Jane and Darcy exploring what it means to be a god while battling the forces of evil on Earth and in space. Darcy would be a great way to keep Jane grounded as well as give her someone to bounce off of, when she’s otherwise surrounded by gods and monsters. The banter potential alone between these two actresses makes this a golden idea.
Second, can you think of a better actor to anchor a Marvel franchise than Natalie Portman? She grew up in the world of Star Wars, playing Padmé Amidala in The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clone, and Revenge Of The Sith so she knows how to do sci-fi/fantasy green screen stuff. (And, before you even go there, yes…I love the Prequels. I think they’re brilliant. If you’d like to read more about that, you can click here.) More than just being able to act in front of a green screen, she’s easily one of the most talented actresses of her generation. Hell, I think she’s one of the most talented actresses of all time. I’m still upset with the Academy Awards for not giving Natalie Portman the Oscar for her brilliant performance in Closer in 2004. She rightly won in 2011 for her mind-blowing performance in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. Her great emotional depth is evident in everything from Leon: The Professional (1994) to Brothers (2009) to Where The Heart Is (2000). She’s more than proven she doesn’t take herself too seriously with awkward comedies like No Strings Attached (2011) and Your Highness (2011…it was so bad it was good). And she showed us she can bring the magical levity a great children’s movie requires with Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007) too. She can do it all. And she’s great at everything too! If all of that doesn’t sell you I’ve three more words that’ll do it – V for Vendetta (2005). That’s one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. I never tire of it. It was a brilliant comic adaptation too! Do you still need convincing? Garden State (2004). BOOM. Done. If you don’t get it now, you’re lost. I can’t help you.
Natalie Portman is beyond brilliant. She can bring heart, real emotional depth, humor, levity and a sense of joy to the series – all things a good comic book movie needs. Third, we all KNOW Marvel wants a taste of that Wonder Woman success. So with Jane Foster becoming Thor, the MCU will have its own warrior goddess woman fighting the forces of evil. Too derivative? Perhaps. But I doubt they’re above it. DC and Warner Bros. finally knocked one out of the park. They brought the first female-led superhero film to the big screen and they put Marvel (rightly) to shame in that department. Now it’s Marvel’s turn to play catch-up a little bit. Jane becoming Thor is a good way to do that.
And fourth, Marvel needs to begin building a more gender-balanced MCU. For too long we’ve had movies with one or two female superheroes in them and, as I’ve written before, this is inexcusable. Captain America: Civil War had Black Widow and Scarlet Witch as far as female superheroes goes. How many men suited up in that film? Well we had Captain America, Iron Man, Falcon, War Machine, Bucky, Vision, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Ant Man, and Spider-Man. Let’s not forget the two Avengers we were missing, Thor and Hulk…two more men. So the Avengers’ roster currently features two women to twelve men. To be frank, that’s bullshit. We deserve a new version of the Avengers post-Infinity War that features more diversity. Having Black Widow, Captain Marvel, the Scarlet Witch, the Wasp, and Thor on board at least begins to balance the scales. Granted, more work is needed. But it would be a strong start!
For a while it seemed like Natalie Portman was done with the MCU. Back in August of 2016, she told The Wall Street Journal, “As far as I know, I’m done. I mean, I don’t know if maybe one day they’ll ask for an Avengers 7 or whatever, I have no idea. But as far as I know, I’m done. It was a great thing to be a part of.” However, come December of 2016 she seemed enthusiastic about the idea of returning to Marvel at some point in time! Speaking of the Thor films and Star Wars she told Deadline‘s Pete Hammond, “It is really an incredible thing to get to be part of. As an actor it is like a completely different scale. Because when you are making those movies you are working with so much blue screen and so much fantasy, your imagination has to be so much larger. It is really challenging for me that and I don’t feel like I have gotten it yet. I don’t feel like I have understood it yet. It is something that I’m fascinated by, because I’m really challenged by it more than anything almost. Because when you are in a room that looks like a room and has all the things a room has in it, you can interact with all that stuff, and all that stuff does what it does in life. You don’t have to imagine anything. You are just in the emotional state of your character. When you are doing those blue screen movies, you have to imagine everything outside and within. You have to create the whole world. It is like being a kid again.” When asked specifically if she’d like to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point she said, “Yeah well hopefully one day I figure it out! [laughs].” She’s even mentioned before how nice it would be to have superpowers herself in a future film!
So Natalie Portman’s up for returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Eventually Chris Hemsworth will want to hang up his hammer. And Marvel desperately needs to add some gender diversity to their films. The choice is clear. Let Jane Foster return one day to lift Mjölnir and become Thor herself. Everyone wins! Best of all, while the idea of seeing Chris Hemsworth eventually retire is difficult to imagine, we can take great solace in knowing we’ll find a more than worthy Thor in Natalie Portman!