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What Jane Foster's comic book adventures can tell us about her potential MCU future after 'Love and Thunder'
There's more to Jane Foster than what the MCU has shown us so far. A lot more.
Jane Foster's transformation into the Mighty Thor is finally complete. After spending years on the sidelines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Natalie Portman's intrepid scientist returned in Thor: Love and Thunder with a repaired Mjolnir in tow, fighting side-by-side with Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) and fulfilling in live-action what the character achieved in the comic book world years ago.
But now that Jane's made it to Thunder Goddess status, where could she go from there? It's always possible that Portman will once again depart the MCU, happy with where she's left things this time around, but what if Jane's adventures carry on? It turns out that even after she became Thor, there's more to Jane Foster in the comics. Much more.
**Major spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder ahead!**
By now, most people probably know the basic setup of Jane's transformation into a new Thor. In the film version of things, Mjolnir calls to her during a time of great difficulty, and manages to reforge itself to help her out. On the comics side, she picked up the hammer after Odinson lost his worthiness to wield it, becoming the reigning Thor in Marvel Comics for quite some time while original recipe Thor went out to find himself again. In both versions, Jane's time as Thor was defined by a couple of things: Her seemingly natural knack for the role, and an illness that plagued her life back in the human world.
Like the MCU version, comic book Jane picked up Mjolnir after she was diagnosed with cancer, and found that every time she turned back into her normal, human self, her cancer was getting worse. That meant making a choice between continuing to fight as Thor and continuing to fight her cancer, and in both cases Jane chose to pick up the hammer again, helping others instead of helping herself. This also meant that, in both cases, she died and went to Valhalla as an Asgardian hero.
So, here's where things may or may not diverge a little bit. The last time we saw Jane in Thor: Love and Thunder, she'd just arrived in Valhalla, where she was greeted happily by none other than Heimdall (Idris Elba), who's been living in paradise since his death in Avengers: Infinity War. Jane seems pretty OK with the idea that she made it to Viking heaven, but that doesn't mean her story is at an end. In the comics, Jane hesitates at the gates of Valhalla, not wanting her life to be over yet, until Thor and Odin combine forces to revive her. With a second chance at life, Jane makes her cancer treatments a priority, and goes back and heals up while Odinson takes up Mjolnir and becomes Thor again.
Then came War of the Realms. During that epic 2019 crossover event, Jane joined the fight alongside Earth's other heroes when Malekith the Accursed launched an invasion, briefly became Asgard's All-Mother when Frigga was feared lost, and even became Thor again by picking up the version of Mjolnir from the Ultimate Universe (long story). In the midst of the final battle, Jane shattered that version of Mjolnir, but it somehow magically reformed into a golden vambrace on her arm. Here's where things get really interesting, particularly where the MCU is concerned.
By the end of War of the Realms, all of Asgard's Valkyries were dead on the battlefield, which meant none of Asgard's heroes could ever be escorted to Valhalla again. Through the magical vambrace on Jane's arm — eventually dubbed the shapeshifting Undrjarn, the All-Weapon — the Valkyrie known as Brunnhilde reached out through her spirit and asked Jane if she would take up the duties of the Valkyries. She agreed, and became the main Marvel Universe incarnation of Valkyrie, launching a whole new string of adventures and battles along the way.
Now, it's worth noting that the Valkyries of Marvel Comics and the Valkyries of the MCU are a little different. It's also worth noting that the MCU's current lone Valkyrie is still alive as of Love and Thunder's conclusion, so there's not necessarily a vacuum there to be filled by a new character. That said, one of Jane's tasks as the new Valkyrie turned out to be recruiting other Valkyries to reform the group, and given the sisterhood, Jane and Valkyrie shared in Love and Thunder, it's not hard to imagine the two of them working to get that particular band back together.
Of course, all that depends on if Marvel — and especially Portman — are actually interested in continuing Jane's story. It's quite possible that the post-credits scene in Love and Thunder is meant to put a period on Jane Foster's MCU sentence, and nothing more. She fought, she died, she helped people, and now she gets paradise. That's a perfectly acceptable way to end her story. But if there is interest in carrying Jane's story as a warrior forward into more adventures, there's plenty of comic book precedent for it, and watching her take flight as a Valkyrie on the big screen could be thrilling.
Thor: Love and Thunder is now in theaters.
For a very different take on Valhalla, check out the Viking epic The Northman, now streaming on Peacock.