Jane Foster was one of the earliest characters in the MCU, appearing in the fourth film. Years later, the franchise has finally fixed a huge problem.
Warning: Contains spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder.
In Thor: Love and Thunderthe MCU managed to fix its longstanding issue with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster created in Thor: The Dark World. Jane was introduced in 2011’s Thor, the fourth movie in the now expansive MCU. However, as the franchise progressed, Jane Foster slipped away, in part because of how the character was treated in early movies.
In ThorJane Foster is introduced as an excellent scientist who is key in helping to save Thor from his exile to Earth and Loki’s plans against him. In Thor: The Dark World, Jane is given less agency and largely serves as a plot device to give Thor’s mission some agency. While Jane is shown to have continued the research around her Thor discoveries, the sequel sees her put in mortal peril from becoming a host of the Aether, later confirmed to be the Reality Stone.
After Thor: The Dark WorldJane Foster seemed to disappear from the MCU, only briefly referenced in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok before she was revealed to have been a victim of Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Endgame. The lack of Natalie Portman appearances as Jane Foster was often given brief in-universe explanations, but Natalie Portman said in an interview (via WSJ) that she was done with the MCU. Suggestions have been made her exit was related to being unhappy with the direction that Jane’s character took and a change in director for Thor: The Dark World after she had already signed on.
Why Jane Foster’s Thor: The Dark World Plot Remained A Problem
The Early Marvel Cinematic Universe was light on characters that were important and not male. Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster represented a light in that early MCU of a woman valued for her intelligence and agency other than Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow. For her to go from a strong-willed character to one whose main purpose was to drive a male hero’s plot was a disservice to the character. This caused a problem for the wider MCU, not only for the fact that they had lost a great part of the cast, but because they now had to explain why Jane was absent in future installments.
How Thor: Love And Thunder Fixes The MCU’s Jane Mistake
Thor: Love and Thunder saw Jane Foster’s triumphant return to the MCU as Natalie Portman appeared as the scientist and hero Mighty Thor. While having Jane take up Mjolnir and become superpowered as she does in the comics, Thor: Love and Thunder added a subtle nod to show just how important her knowledge of science is. Early in the movie, Jane is shown receiving cancer treatment and notices that a fellow patient is reading a book she wrote and struggling to understand the science within. Jane tears a page from the book and explains how wormholes work with the help of a pencil punched through some folded paper.
While this could have been a throwaway scene to remind audiences that Jane Foster is a scientist, Thor: Love and Thunder actually makes this one of the most important scenes in the movie. In the final confrontation with Gorr the God Butcher, Thor looks like he is set to lose but Mighty Thor arrives just in time to save the day. The movie never explicitly states how Jane arrives at the gate of Eternity so quickly, but the science scene earlier in the movie explains it when combined with a throwaway reference to Valkyrie’s horse being bale to make portals. A portal is effectively a wormhole in the way that it joins two places in space, so Jane’s earlier explanation was actually foreshadowing and explaining how she would arrive at the end of the movie. Thor: Love and Thunder made Jane’s scientific knowledge crucial to the character once more and allowed her to be the one saving Thor and escaping older tropes in doing so. While her death makes Jane’s MCU future open-endedher scene in Valhalla in the Thor: Love and Thunder post-credits scene suggests that she might become a hero that can appear entirely separate from Thor and repair damage from Thor: The Dark World.
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