It was a big weekend for women in the superhero realm! During San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, Thor director Taika Waititi announced that Natalie Portman will play a female Thor in a new movie — Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth film in the franchise about the god (and, soon, goddess) of thunder. Portman herself appeared onstage to confirm the exciting casting news, admitting, “I’ve always had hammer envy.”
The film will mark Portman’s return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as she played astrophysicist Jane Foster in the first two installments (in 2011 and 2013) but did not appear in the most recent take, Thor: Ragnarok. Fans suspected she may be coming back in some capacity when footage of her from the second installment, Thor: The Dark World, surfaced in this year’s superhero-ensemble-mega-hit, Avengers: Endgame. And while the comic books outline Foster being deemed worthy to wield Thor’s hammer and becoming the Goddess of Thunder, Portman’s lady-Thor role still feels like a welcome surprise.
In fact, Waititi referenced the comic books in making the major announcement, saying he read from Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor comic series while shooting Thor: Ragnarok — and the depiction of Jane as female Thor inspired him. “So, there’s only one person who can do that,” he said as Portman, in an unexpected appearance, took the stage to accept Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer). Her take? “This feels pretty good. I’ve always had a little hammer in me.”
We won’t spoil too much of the new movie’s potential storyline, but we can tell you that stars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth will reprise their roles as Valkyrie and Thor, respectively. Another detail of importance to note is that Waititi revealed the release date for the film: November 5, 2021. So, expect more casting details to emerge over the next year.
In other news pertaining to women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, three more Hollywood heavy-hitters made announcements of their own.
Angelina Jolie confirmed she’ll be starring alongside Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani and Brian Tyree Henry in The Eternals. Elizabeth Olsen (aka Scarlet Witch) told the hyped-up crowd that not only will she be joining Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but there is also an upcoming TV series for Disney Plus based on Scarlet Witch and Vision. And, finally, Scarlet Johansson confirmed her Marvel character, Black Widow, will be leading a standalone movie to hit theaters on May 1, 2020.