Natalie Portman appeared in two Thor installments as Jane Foster before disappearing from the MCU without a trace. Thor: The Dark World was a bit of a behind-the-scenes debacle; Portman supported female director Patty Jenkins, and when Jenkins was dismissed from the project due to creative differences, Portman wasn’t thrilled.
Marvel hired Alan Taylor to replace Jenkins, and Portman’s performance was subsequently deemed lackluster by fans and critics alike. Not to mention, her character grew to lack the complexities and relevance Foster retains in the comics.
Natalie Portman also seems to excel when working on independent films, and those less reliant on green-screen magic and CGI to sculpt the narrative. Portman’s performances in the Star Wars franchise and the MCU do not make up her most significant endeavors. Rather, her work in Black Swan, Jackie, and Closer are often highlighted as representing the actress at the top of her game.
Given Portmans’ reception when it comes to superhero spectacles and the odd turn of events surrounding Thor: The Dark World, you may be led to believe that convincing her to return to the MCU proved difficult. Was It?
Director Taika Waititi on convincing Portman to return to the MCU
Though Natalie Portman had reasons to hesitate before agreeing to star in Thor: Love and Thunder, director Taika Waititi explained that getting her to sign the dotted line didn’t take much convincing. Waititi stated:
I mean, I didn’t have to do much. And, I think for her it was about making the character interesting. And I think especially when you’re playing ‘an Earthling who’s just into science’ in one of these big movies, it kind of gets a bit sort of, you know… After doing that for two movies, you want to do something different. I think for her, the thing that might’ve been attractive about this is being able to step it up and be a superhero. And I’d rather her do that than play a scientist. And it’s also from the comics as well. So, it’s not something we made up.We Got This Covered
As the director explains, the upcoming Phase 4 installment will give Jane Foster the narrative arc she deserves. Jane Foster’s transformation into Mighty Thor will likely serve as the film’s climax or constitute one of the film’s most pivotal moments. Thus, her character won’t cease to serve a purpose to the greater unfolding saga, as she did previously.
Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster has a bright future ahead in the MCU
Playing the smart scientist — the intelligent girlfriend to an intergalactic savior — is a bit tired, don’t you think? Jane Foster deserved a story Portman could relate to and, with this upcoming arc, Portman will likely give the performance fans were hoping for in The Dark World.
While Portman may have seemed to “phone it in” during her last MCU appearance, you can only do so much when the script is subpar. And, Love and Thunder should be anything but a lackluster turn for Portman’s Jane Foster, as she will likely take over the mantle from Hemsworth moving forward. Rumor has it, the MCU may do a trilogy around her character!