Over the years, Marvel Comics have made some stunning changes to their marquee characters at different points. Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor all had other people in the driver’s seat for various stretches of time and the results have lead to a mix of interest and debate among readers.
More recently, Marvel Studios has embraced a fair amount of those changes in an effort to expand their ever-growing cinematic universe. As Avengers: Endgame viewers will remember, Steve Rogers passed the Captain America shield on to Falcon and there’s an Iron Man-shaped hole left in the world. Meanwhile at San Diego Comic-Con, we learned that the movies will follow the comics in another way by having Jane Foster become the new God of Thunder in Thor: Love And Thunder.
Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi will return as writer and director for the project which will also bring back Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) and Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie). The new film is currently scheduled to debut on November 5, 2021.
But how in the world could Jane Foster become the Mighty Thor? Let’s take a look back at the source material…
Dropping The Hammer
Jane Foster debuted way back in 1963’s Journey Into Mystery #84, originally working as a nurse with Dr. Donald Blake, who was Thor’s alter ego at that time. She loved the Asgardian, but was not interested in her boss. Thor and Jane had a relationship for a time, but it got complicated and the two split. She eventually became a doctor and came back into Thor’s life years later, revealing that she’d been diagnosed with cancer.
However, that did not stop her from becoming Midgard’s representative on the newly formed Congress of Worlds. Even with access to the healing mysticism of Asgard and beyond, Jane refused anything other than Earth-bound cancer treatment.
Around that same time, someone killed the cosmic observer known as the Watcher in a series written by Thor scribe Jason Aaron called Original Sin. During the investigation, a group of heroes attacked Nick Fury, who had been manipulating them. To take Thor off the table, the former head of S.H.I.E.L.D. merely whispered something in his ear that caused the Asgardian to become unworthy of Mjolnir’s vast powers.
The Maiden Of Might
With the launch of the new Thor series in 2014 — by Aaron and Russell Dauterman — everyone was stunned to discover that an unknown woman had proved herself worthy and hefted Mjolnir on the moon. She used this newfound power to battle the likes of Malekith the Dark Elf, Darrio Agger (a.k.a. The Minotaur), Absorbing Man, Frost Giants, the Destroyer and beyond. She even had a very Avengers: Endgame-like moment when an army of female characters — including the Queen of Asgard and Thor’s mother Freyja — appeared to help her.
Though initially furious at someone else wielding his favorite weapon, the original Thor — then going by Odinson — did his best to play detective and figure out who this new Goddess of Thunder really was. He interviewed the likes of Jane Foster and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Roz Solomon, but came up empty. However, readers learned that Foster was truly under the helmet just as the Marvel Universe got rearranged during Secret Wars.
An Impressive Run
In the aftermath of Secret Wars, a new Aaron/Dauterman series launched called The Mighty Thor. In the first issue of that book, Foster explained that the chemotherapy treatments she underwent weren’t as effective as they should have been because, when she transformed into Thor, the process ejected the chemicals from her physical form. But, since the cancer was a part of her physical being, it remained. So, every time she changed, she actually set the whole process back.
Without anyone knowing it, she continued to serve on the Congress of Worlds while also trying to stave off Malekith’s early moves that would eventually lead into the War of the Realms mega event that just ended. All of this also happened to take place during a great era of strife and turmoil for the Asgardians new home of Asgardia — Asgard itself had fallen, much like it has in the films — that lead to a full-on revolt. The series continued to revolve around Malekith’s desire to conquer all of the realms with help from Roxxon’s Dario Agger and a variety of other classic Thor villains like Enchantress and the always-scheming Loki.
Foster’s Thor would not see the war in full swing as she sacrificed herself to stop Mangog from destroying Asgard. However, Jane ultimately survived because Odin and Odinson found her worthy and figured out a way to return her to her human state. Afterwards, she encouraged Odinson to reclaim the name Thor, even though Mjolnir had been destroyed in her battle with Mangog. Since then, Foster finished up her chemo treatments and took on a new super heroic identity as the latest Valkyrie.
Big Screen Potential
As most fans know, though, the worlds of the comics and films can be vastly different in terms of statuses and relationships. First and foremost, Mjolnir was shattered by Thor’s sister Hela upon their first meeting in Thor: Ragnarok. Since then he’s been using his new weapon Stormbringinger — and, temporarily, a version of Mjolnir borrowed from the past — but the classic uru weapon remains destroyed, so it’s unknown how Jane will exactly prove herself to be worthy.
Exactly how much of Jason Aaron’s Thor will make it to the big screen remains to be seen, but there is so much material here that would be incredible to see, and it’s worth noting that Taika Waititi specifically stated how much he loved that run.
S.H.I.E.L.D.’s current status remains murky in the MCU, but we’d love to see Roz Solomon get in on the silver screen action. The corrupt corporation Roxxon has been used in a variety of Marvel movies and shows already, but it’s CEO Dario Agger — who can literally turn into a minotaur — would be a delightfully evil addition that would make Iron Man 2’s Justin Hammer look like a cuddly kitten. And then you have all of the mega-storylines that could make for wild rides ranging from the spacy Asgard/Shi’Ar War to War of the Realms which could be turned into films all their own.
Giving Portman’s Foster the spotlight will also pave the way to bring back one of the most delightful character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Darcy! Surely, Jane will need her sarcastic intern played by Kat Dennings. We haven’t seen her since Thor: The Dark World and would totally be in for more. Her mentor Erik Selvig could also re-enter the picture, though he’s been seen a bit more regularly outside of the first two Thor films with appearances in the first two Avengers films. This trio has incredible chemistry and plays well on screen, so we’d love to see more of them.
Plus, one of the benefits of following this general story structure is that we not only get Natalie Portman as Thor, but we can also keep Chris Hemsworth in the picture. So, in theory, we could have her flying solo in her own movie going forward, while he continues to pal around with the Guardians of the Galaxy, as hinted at in Endgame. Push it one step further and it’s not hard to picture Jane Foster’s Thor serving alongside the Avengers as she did in the comics while her counterpart continues his extraterrestrial adventures. That’s a thunderous double dip of Love and Thunder we can get behind!