“Thor: Love and Thunder”: How Jane Foster became the female Thor

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“Thor: Love and Thunder,” the newest film focusing on the Asgardian Avenger, introduces a new wrinkle to this well-trod lore: There’s a new Thor on the scene, and her name is Jane Foster. Hers is a new story to tell. With the new film, the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces a version of Jane Foster who first appeared in the comics almost 10 years ago. But how did this one-time love interest of Thor become a godlike hero herself? Before you watch Natalie Portman as a super-powered Jane Foster in “Thor: Love and Thunder,” catch up on her comic book origins. Her story may not be the same onscreen, but, as in the comics, she’ll most likely kick some villain butt.

Before Jane Foster could become a superhero, Thor had to lose his hammer.

Thor fans know that the God of Thunder uses his beloved hammer, Mjolnir, to summon the elements and defeat countless enemies. Only those deemed “worthy” — that is, of sound moral character — can hold the weapon and harness its power. (In the film “Avengers: Endgame,” Captain America was found worthy and used Mjolnir to help defeat Thanos.)But Thor hasn’t always been worthy. In the 2014 comic event “Original Sin,” an evil Nick Fury whispers three words into Thor’s ear — “Gorr was right” — that cause Thor to lose the ability to lift his hammer. Gorr the God Butcher believed gods destroyed universes and didn’t deserve their impressive power (viewers will meet Gorr in the new film, played by Christian Bale).

How’d Jane Foster get Thor’s hammer?

Since gods were no longer deemed worthy of possessing such power, it made sense that the next person to wield Mjolnir would be an über-intelligent, good-hearted human (other than Steve Rogers, that is).

In a “Thor” comic book series that also ran in 2014, Jane Foster comes across the hammer — and since “there must always be a Thor,” she’s able to pick it up and access Thor’s powers (superheroic strength and stamina, summoning of lightning and thunder, etc.). Per Marvel Entertainment, she uses it to square off against familiar foes like Odin and Loki as well as frost giants and dark elves. She even looks like the original Thor — when she brandishes Mjolnir, she suddenly sports a flowing blonde mane.

But oh, there’s a twist — in this comics run, Foster has cancer, and being Thor drains her to the point where, if she continues to fight, her superheroism will end her life.

When did Jane Foster cease being Thor?

Determined to save Asgard (Thor’s homeland) and defeat the fearsome Mangog, a living, breathing manifestation of a billion beings who had been slaughtered by Odin, Jane Foster decided to pick up Mjolnir one last time. She knew it would kill her, but she went to battle anyway — and, naturally, defeated the Mangog. “‘Twas a mortal named Jane. A woman who gave up everything in order to stop you. Remember that,” she said before her death in the 2018 issue “The Death of the Mighty Thor.”

As a reward for her bravery and sacrifice, Foster was resurrected as one of the Valkyrior, a league of women warriors who defend Asgard. And when her tenure as Thor was through, the original God of Thunder himself reclaimed his mantle.

A cloaked Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie (left) chats with Natalie Portman's Thor over a cornucopia.

What will the movie have in store for Jane Foster’s Thor?

The MCU tends to remix comic book origin stories for characters who jump from page to screen, and “Thor: Love and Thunder” may do the same for Jane Foster’s Thor. Given the current focus on the multiverse in the MCU, it’s possible that this female version of Thor is from a different universe altogether — or maybe she’s been worthy all along.

Devoted Marvel fans will have to wait and see how director Taika Waititi brings Jane Foster’s Thor to life when the film hits theaters this weekend.