‘Love and Thunder’: Marvel Gave Natalie Portman a Very Important Homework Assignment

Any MCU fan knows the dichotomy between the world of the comic books and the movies is more than a little wide. The big-screen stories have expanded exponentially, even though it’s obvious the comic book editions have already hit peak modes of creativity decades ago. Nevertheless, there’s enough similarities where it hasn’t alarmed Marvel purists.

To gain full embodiment of a Marvel character, being handed a comic book for research is now as common as reading the feature script. Based on recent evidence from social media, Natalie Portman is turning to comic books rather than massive reference books to research her role as Lady Thor (Jane Foster) in Love and Thunder.

What’s the fan reaction to this, and can she really assimilate the essence of the character through a comic book rather than instinct?

The first piece of evidence Portman is deep in Lady Thor study

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Noted Marvel comic book writer Jason Aaron recently posted a pic on Twitter of Portman’s supposed homework assignment. It showed several comic books of The Mighty Thor to help her gain deeper insight into Jane Foster.

Apparently this was assigned to her only because she hasn’t played the role for a while. After all, it has been over six years since we last saw her in a Thor movie, i.e. Thor: The Dark World.

After that film released, we all know Portman went on a long streak of acting in important dramas and indie productions, including competing for an Oscar again. Her leaving Marvel in 2013 was rumored to be because Portman was upset about Patty Jenkins being dropped as director for The Dark World. Portman reportedly only made the movie due to contractual obligations.

Lady Thor wouldn’t have been substantial enough anyway in the later films. Now that she’ll be a major part of upcoming Love and Thunder, it seems she’s trying to reinvent Jane Foster from how she envisioned her the last time.

What will Portman ultimately do with the character?

One interesting thing about Portman is she once used a different approach to researching Jane Foster/Lady Thor when first taking the role. Originally, she agreed to do the part without a script merely because Kenneth Branagh was directing Thor.

The only research Portman used was reading biographies of famous women scientists. A biography of Rosalind Franklin (who discovered the DNA double helix without credit) was one of the subjects she studied.

Portman informing herself through these tomes might have been a better approach to fill in on her own, which is her strongest suit as an actress. Now with her reliance on the comic book version of Lady Thor, we might see all-new layers.

Let’s all remember there’s the Jane Foster astrophysicist side and then the Thor side. Since Foster steps in for an ailing Thor in the comic books to do much of the same things he does, it’s going to be a different universe to reside in.

We still want Portman to bring some of her own invention to the role.

Portman always brings out internal feelings in her performances

There might be some concern by fans of Portman whether she can create an Oscar-worthy performance playing Lady Thor. Her greatest performances in recent years have been characters with extremely complex psychological problems she extracted with her usual aplomb. Jackie Kennedy in Jackie is just one example, not including her Oscar-winning role of Nina Sayers in Black Swan.

Lady Thor may have some similar characteristics, especially when expected to take on the actions of a male superhero. Dealing with the inevitable sexism and other roadblocks could be an interesting characterization while maybe becoming the first Oscar-nominated Marvel performance. Unless Robert Downey, Jr. wins first for his Tony Stark finale.