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When analyzing the Phase 4 slate — featuring a few new additions to the superhero soiree and several familiar faces — Marvel Studios’ intentions become clear. With Tony Stark and Captain America bidding fans farewell in Endgame, it’s only a matter of time until the remaining original Avengers take their final bows in the MCU. From Black Widow and Hawkeye to Thor: Love and Thunder, certain narratives seem unavoidable. 

Thor: Love and Thunder MCU Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth
President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige, Director Taika Waititi, Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson of Marvel Studios’ ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff will receive the standalone installment she has always deserved, likely before passing the baton to Yelena Belova’s Black Widow in the upcoming prequel. Clint Barton’s Hawkeye will train Kate Bishop in the upcoming Disney+ series before shooting his final arrow, and Thor will presumably hand the hammer over to Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster moving forward. 

Phase 4 will serve as a bridge between the MCU of yesteryear and the MCU of tomorrow; enough familiarity to keep fans engaged, yet enough novelty to sway in completely new directions come phase 5 — as a result of the widespread repercussions bound to ensue following Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, based on information already available concerning Thor: Love and Thunder, Natalie Portman may be in for a standalone franchise as the next heroine to follow in the God of Thunder’s footsteps. Let’s break it down.

‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ will focus on Chris Hemsworth’s character 

Following San Diego Comic-Con, Natalie Portman’s unexpected appearance, and the various rumors that began circulating the internet in tandem, fans grew concerned that the upcoming installment would dish Thor to the side — and focus on Valkyrie and Mighty Thor. However, Taika Waititi soon squelched these rumors. 

During an interview with MTV news, Taika Waititi was asked to clarify who the main star of the movie will be. Waititi responded confidently, stating: 

It’s Chris [Hemsworth]. “It’s a Thor film. He is Thor, it’s a Thor film. She’s in it.

Quoted by Showbiz Cheat Sheet / MTV News

While his answer was blunt and not very explanatory, it suffices. Yet, why does this matter? If Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor remains a supporting character — with little screen-time and merely a sufficient amount of narrative development — she will require exploration prior to the eventual A-Force (or alongside its development). 

Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor may need a Thor franchise to further cement foundation for the A-Force in the MCU 

If Natalie Portman’s character remains a supporting figure in the upcoming movie, the MCU will need to take time to visit the character as an individual, unconnected to Thor at some point before or during the A-Force’s formation.

Since Jane Foster will likely be a significant part of the A-Force (the all-female team of Avengers), which is believed to be on the horizon, she’s going to deserve standalone treatment, as the heroes who comprise a team usually receive individual narrative depth in solo movies (with some exceptions) before grand mash-ups.

If Thor: Love and Thunder remains focused on Hemsworth, the writers may use the film to catapult Foster into her own series, helping to lay the groundwork for an eventual A-Force team featuring Captain Marvel (as the leader), Jane Foster, She-Hulk, Valkyrie, Wasp, and more.