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It's been roughly three years now since we learned that Natalie Portman would return to the MCU, not just as Jane Foster, but as the version of Jane Foster who becomes The Mighty Thor. Next month, Thor: Love and Thunder will finally give us this much-anticipated new evolution for her character in Jane's first full MCU appearance since Thor: The Dark World, and fans are waiting eagerly to see how her presence will change the landscape.
In the three years since the Mighty Thor announcement, we've seen glimpses of Portman's transformation -- which included 10 months of training to get in Thor shape, and a raised "deck" on set to elevate her height to six feet -- but there are still a great many things about the MCU version of the character we don't know. One of the biggest mysteries: Will the central narrative problem of Jane's rise as Thor in the comics make its way to the big screen?
When they revealed that Jane Foster was the mysterious new female Thor in the pages of Marvel Comics in 2015, writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman also revealed another secret: Jane was struggling with breast cancer. In the issues that followed, Aaron outlined a major problem with Jane's continued transformation into the God of Thunder. Her time as Thor felt great, but each time she transformed the magical process pulled the chemicals from her chemotherapy out of her body, essentially resetting her cancer treatments back to zero. Over time, that meant she was a little closer to death each time she changed into Thor, no matter how often circumstances demanded she step up to save the day.
So, will Jane's illness have a role to play in Love and Thunder? Teasers for the film have given us very little in the way of explaining Jane's transformation or even showing us all that much about her life on Earth leading up to her reunion with Chris Hemsworth's Thor. Speaking to Variety for a new profile piece about her life and career, Portman herself was keen on keeping things a mystery.
“How can I answer this in a way that will be not completely skirting it, but also not being...," Portman apparently trailed off before giving a non-answer about how Jane's dual life "might give you a different perspective on your human life."
Writer/director Taika Waititi, who revealed Jane's return by presenting Portman with Mjolnir at San Diego Comic-Con, was a bit more direct, but still keen to keep certain details secret.
“Part of why [Natalie] wanted to play that character is that she has a dilemma in the book,” Waititi said. “Am I allowed to talk about this?”
Waititi didn't elaborate further, except to say the character has "big choices" to make as part of her arc in the film.
Jane's big choices, and how they factor into the larger story of Love and Thunder and any potential MCU future she may have, will likely remain a secret until the film has arrived in theaters. We don't know for sure if Jane's comic book cancer has a role to play, but we do know that it seems certain some clash between her human side and her newly minted godly side is probably on the way.
Thor: Love and Thunder is in theaters July 8.
Thor: Love and Thunder is one of many big blockbusters expected to light up the box office this summer. Jurassic World Dominion is out now, and Jordan Peele's sci-fi horror mystery Nope opens July 22 in theaters.