The third installment of Marvel's Thor movies means a welcome return for many familiar faces on the big screen since the last Marvel movie which, thankfully, wasn't too long ago. One major Thor character isn't back on screen in Thor: Ragnarok, which hits theaters Nov. 3, though, and that's Jane Foster, Thor's leading lady in the first two films. So what gives? Did Thor and Jane break up in Thor 2 and is this really the end for Natalie Portman — who played Jane in the past — in the MCU?
Sadly, it seems like it is, as the actor told the Wall Street Journal in August 2016 that she most likely is finished playing Thor's lover. "As far as I know, I'm done. I mean, I don't know if maybe one day they'll ask for an Avengers 7 but I have no idea... But it was a great thing to be a part of," Portman told WSJ editor Christopher John Farley.
Because the actor revealed her completion with the role over a year before the Ragnarok came out, fans had a long time to mentally prepare themselves for the latest film to portray a post-breakup, heartbroken Thor, but Ragnarok doesn't really dwell on the past — at least not on past loves. Instead, the third Thor installment includes a line revealing that Jane broke up with Thor, but because the new film takes place on an entirely new planet, Thor's in a complete different headspace. He doesn't seem like he's too stuck on Jane, as hard as that might be for the romantics out there to accept.
As the trailer for Ragnarok suggests, Thor's new journey starts out as a kind of lone soldier adventure as he discovers new territories, but that doesn't last long, as he's quickly joined by other Marvel heroes including a potential love-interest, Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson). To Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, Valkyrie is a better match for Thor than Jane was. “We wanted Thor to encounter somebody that was near his equal and that his relationship with Jane may have evolved in unexpected ways in between The Dark World and Ragnarok and we wanted to pit him against a character who was much more his equal and in many ways his superior,” Feige told Entertainment Weekly.
For those who don't remember, Jane Foster is an astrophysicist in the first Thor films, so that feels be a little insulting. Perhaps Jane and Thor are different in strength, but there's no question that Foster's intellect is superior to the hero's. Feige likely didn't mean to diminish Portman's character's brilliance by stating that Valkyrie was a better match for Thor, but that's exactly what that quote implies.
But Jane is out of the picture now, for better or for worse, and Valkyrie is on-board. And the fact that Thor and Jane's breakup didn't happen on screen isn't unprecedented for the Marvel Universe. The same thing happened with Tony Stark — aka Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr.) — and Pepper Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) before Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Here's hoping there's more romance in future MCU films, because while the special effects and awesome action sequences of superhero movies are usually great, the love stories are also a major reason why fans consistently flock to the theaters.
Most likely everyone who watched the first two Thor movies will agree that Portman and Chris Hemsworth were a fun (and attractive) couple to watch, but hey, maybe Thor and Valkyrie will prove just as compelling a duo.