Natalie Portman will take up the mantle of Thor in the upcoming Marvel sequel Thor: Love and Thunder, announced on Saturday.
Stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, and director Taika Waititi, will also return from 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, and Portman will reprise her character of Dr Jane Foster, who debuted in the 2011 original.
For fans confused by the character and gender shift, Waititi explained that the movie would be based on an existing 2014 comic book storyline where Thor loses his abilities and Jane Foster wields his powers and magical hammer Mjolnir.
Further details of the plot have not been released, but the New Zealand director clarified that her name would be Mighty Thor.
And at the end of Hemsworth’s most recent on-screen appearance in Avengers: Endgame, the character had left his role as ruler of Asgard to join the Guardians of the Galaxy team, and appointed Thompson’s Valkyrie character as his replacement.
Correction. She's called Mighty Thor.— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) July 21, 2019
Thor: Love and Thunder is the fourth instalment in the franchise, and Waititi’s second time directing a Marvel film.
Portman has not featured in a Thor franchise film since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, which was not well received critically. But Waititi’s Marvel debut with Ragnarok was praised for injecting a newfound sense of humour and style into the ailing franchise.
Portman posted on Instagram that she was “thrilled” to return to the series and to work with Hemsworth and Thompson.
“Remember this as the before picture for when I get jacked,” she joked.
No details have been released about whether Tom Hiddleston, who portrayed Thor’s brother Loki in the previous three films, would return. But Hiddleston was previously confirmed to feature in a new Marvel TV series, called Loki.
Also announced on Saturday were a Black Widow film starring Scarlett Johansson, a sequel to Doctor Strange, a reboot of Blade starring Mahershala Ali, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Marvel’s first Asian superhero film – starring Simu Liu and Awkwafina.