Natalie Portman and Takia Waititi discuss whether or not Mighty Thor’s pivotal cancer arc will be adapted for Thor: Love and Thunder. Despite her absence from 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok and a brief cameo in Avengers: Endgame, Natalie Portman’s Dr. Jane Foster returns in Thor: Love and Thunder. Portman decided to depart the franchise after 2013’s Thor: The Dark World due to dissatisfaction with her character’s arc. It was Waititi, who has reinvigorated Marvel’s Thor series with his own style, who ultimately persuaded Portman to return by promising a more in-depth story arc for Jane.
With Hemsworth returning as Thor for his fourth solo film, the Norse god puts his superheroic days behind him in his quest for self-discovery, but is soon pulled back in by the appearance of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) who announces his intentions to eliminate all gods. Thor must recruit old allies such as Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (voiced by Waititi), and his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who now wields a reconstructed Mjolnir and has transformed into a Thor-like superhero. It’s clear that Waititi drew inspiration from Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor comic book, though it’s long been unclear whether one major part of Jane’s journey will be adapted.
According to Variety, Portman and Waititi have both expressed interest in adapting Jane Foster’s cancer storyline into Thor: Love and Thunder. To avoid giving away spoilers, Portman gave a vague non-revealing answer about the “duality” of Jane versus the Mighty Thor and how becoming a superhero “might give you a different perspective on your human life.” Waititi’s response was slightly more revealing, saying, “Part of why [Natalie] wanted to play that character is that she has a dilemma in the book” and that Jane “has big choices to make within the comic,” which he and his collaborators “were all very interested” in exploring in the film.
Jane undergoes chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in the comic. Nevertheless, her transformation into the Mighty Thor and wielding Mjolnir purges all toxins from her body, including the chemotherapy that she is receiving. Therefore, being a superhero is effectively killing Jane. Therefore, she is confronted with a difficult choice – continue using her powers and risk becoming sicker, or hang up her hammer for good. This, in all likelihood, is the “big choice” Waititi is referring to.
In the wake of Portman’s announcement at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019 that he would be returning as the Mighty Thor, Waititi has been asked about the possibility of adapting Jane’s cancer storyline for Love and Thunder. He’s successfully dodged the question just about every time, though his recent comments are about as close as he can get to confirming it while still abiding by Marvel’s strict standards for secrecy. It looks like fans will have to wait for Thor: Love and Thunder to hit theaters on July 8 to find out for sure.