Just weeks after the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, the final film in Phase Three of its rollout, the people behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe is already laying out extensive and exciting plans for its future. This past weekend at Comic Con International in San Diego, the MCU made major announcements about the next round of superhero stories that would play out in Phase Four.
Some of the big developments include the final lineup for the ensemble film The Eternals (starring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, and Game of Thrones' Robb Stark himself, Richard Madden), the casting of Kim's Convenience star Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, and a long-awaited Blade film starring Mahershala Ali, a.k.a. "The Actor of All Actors."
The MCU also dropped some jaw-dropping details about the future of everyone's favorite Norse god, announcing that Natalie Portman would return to the franchise to take up Thor's mantle, his hammer, and his powers in the next film. Slated for a November 2021 release, Thor: Love and Thunder will follow Jane Foster (Portman) and her journey to becoming the goddess of thunder. We first met Jane in Thor, where she happened across the Norse god when he traveled to Earth to retrieve his hammer, Mjolnir; the two developed a romantic relationship that spanned across the events of Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnorak, and Portman made a brief appearance in Avengers: Endgame.
You might be wondering how it's possible for there to be both a male and female god of thunder within the same universe, and rightfully so—Thor is still very much alive, and Jane is just a mere mortal. But this storyline isn't exactly coming out of thin air. In writer Jason Aaron's 2014 comic book iteration of the Thor storyline, the Avenger loses his claim to Mjolnir after becoming unworthy of its powers, so he starts calling himself Odinson and rides around on a giant goat in search of himself (weird, I know). At the same time, his ex-girlfriend Jane is battling cancer but somehow finds herself stronger than ever when she comes in possession of the magic hammer and all of the godly abilities that come along with it.
Directed by Ragnorak's Taika Waititi, Thor: Love and Thunder will once again reunite Jane and Thor under the same sky, and fans speculate that the presence of Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie might complicate things between the exes. Back in April, Thompson confirmed that Valkyrie is indeed bisexual (it's canon, folks), making her the first openly LGBTQ superhero in the MCU. In Ragnorak, there might have been a little ~vibe~ going on between Thor and Vakyrie—knowing that, is it possible that the Norse warrior and current king of Asgard will also catch Jane's eye? Maybe. "As new king, she needs to find her queen,” Thompson hinted during the SDCC panel “That will be her first order of business. She has some ideas.” Do we smell a love triangle?
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