Kevin Feige explains what happened to Jane Foster in Thor: Ragnarok

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Mar 14, 2017, 7:30 PM EDT

This fall, we'll get our first Thor movie in four years in the form of the highly anticipated Ragnarok. Based on what we've seen of the film so far, it's going to be the most cosmic Thor adventure yet, featuring everyone from the Grandmaster to Hela to Loki.

What it won't feature is Jane Foster, the astrophysicist from Earth who became embroiled in Asgardian affairs and eventually became Thor's girlfriend.

Foster was never slated to return for Ragnarok, and star Natalie Portman never seemed too keen on continuing her time with the franchise, but what wasn't clear was how the film would explain where she was. After all, Pepper Potts hasn't been seen on screen since 2013 either (in Iron Man Three), and she's still around somewhere, even if she and Tony Stark are "taking a break" as of Captain America: Civil War. Foster didn't show up in either Avengers film, but each time the universe had a convenient professional reason for her absence. So, how will Marvel justify not having her around for the first time in the franchise where she originated?

Simple: A breakup.

Yes, I'm afraid Asgardian love apparently is not forever, and Jane and Thor decided somewhere between Age of Ultron and now to cut each other loose. The real-world reasons for this are pretty clear, and now Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige is shedding some light on why the film decided to drop Foster entirely and replace her with a new companion (though not necessarily a girlfriend) for the God of Thunder: Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson.

"We wanted Thor to encounter somebody that was near his equal and that his relationship with Jane may have evolved in unexpected ways in-between The Dark World and Ragnarok and we wanted to pit him against a character who was much more his equal and in many ways his superior," Feige said. "Valkyrie is trying to not embrace any sort of Asgardian heritage that she has. Thor thinks maybe that will create a bond between them and, on the contrary, she wants to forget it all entirely."

Feige's already catching a little bit of heat online for implying that Foster, a world-class physicist, was not Thor's equal, but that feels more like a semantic flub than anything else. Marvel didn't want to keep telling fish-out-of-water, Earth-set stories with Thor forever (and I doubt we would've wanted to watch those forever), and Ragnarok presents an opportunity to pair Thor with more super-powered women who dwell out in the cosmos.

That said, I'm still wondering what will happen to those little hints that Odin always wanted Thor to be with Sif. Dead branches on the story tree at this point, I suppose.

Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3. Are you sad to see Jane go?

(via EW)