When Natalie Portman walked onstage at the San Diego Comic-Con in July, fans went wild as she held Thor’s hammer aloft. If you sensed, however, that she was doing so with somewhat clenched teeth, you would be correct.
Portman was announcing to the world that she was going to be the new Thor. She was announcing that she was returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after a rather fraught tenure with them. And she was doing it in front of a notoriously picky audience. And with all that on her mind, it would have been a wonder if she wasn’t nervous.
Natalie Portman talks ‘Thor’
The actress has briefly discussed her role in Thor: Love and Thunder while promoting her new movie Lucy in the Sky. She told Jimmy Fallon that before she was briefed on the movie, she didn’t know she would be “Lady Thor,” as she’s been called.
“I did not know. I knew there was a storyline, but I did not know they were planning on doing that in the movies,” she said on The Tonight Show.
Portman must have picked up on the female Thor sometime during the making of the first two Thor movies, where she played Thor’s romantic interest: Jane Foster.
She was certainly no stranger to sci-fi franchises, having been in the Star Wars prequels as Queen Amidala. However, Portman reportedly soured on Marvel after her choice for the director of the sequel, Patty Jenkins, left the project over creative differences.
Then Portman showed up at the Avengers: Endgame premiere, even though she hadn’t shot any scenes specifically for that movie. Fans sensed something was up, but few predicted she would be the new Thor, holding his hammer aloft.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” she said of her Comic-Con presentation. “Someone is going to call me out for something.”
Don’t call Natalie Portman ‘Lady Thor’
If anyone was getting called out for anything, it was not Portman herself, but outlets who referred to her Love and Thunder character as “Lady Thor.” Taika Waititi, the director of Love and Thunder and Ragnarok, prefers that she be called “Mighty Thor,” ignoring the gender label.
In the comics, Jane Foster becomes Thor after her husband and son die in a car accident and she is stricken with breast cancer. Jane wields Thor’s hammer and gains his abilities, including superhuman strength, speed, stamina and control over lightning.
Thor, impressed with her, relinquishes his role as Thor and takes the name Odinson instead. That made it sound like this would be Portman’s movie rather than Chris Hemsworth’s. Although, Waititi later clarified — if that word can be used — that Hemsworth was still Thor and that Portman was in the movie.
That response made it sound like maybe Hemsworth would be Thor for most of the movie until Portman took the title later on. We’ll only know for sure once the movie comes out in November 2021.
Natalie Portman is practicing going to space
In the meantime, Portman’s attention is on Lucy in the Sky, where she plays an astronaut whose life spirals out of control after she returns to Earth from a long space mission and begins an affair with fellow astronaut Jon Hamm. It is loosely based on the real-life story of Lisa Nowak, an astronaut who made headlines after she was arrested for attempting to kidnap a woman who was in a relationship with the man she was having an affair with.
While the movie, directed by Noah Hawley, the creative force behind TV’s Fargo, initially sparked Oscar buzz, it has been poorly reviewed, rating only a 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus states: “Natalie Portman gives it her all, but it isn’t enough to overcome Lucy in the Sky‘s confused approach to its jumbled story.”
However Lucy in the Sky ultimately fares, all eyes will be on Portman as she follows in Brie Larson’s footsteps in bulking up. Asked by Ellen DeGeneres asked if Portman would be working out, she responded: “I’m assuming I’ll have to work out … I’ll be eating my burrito until they call me to the gym.”: