By Tom Chapman for ScreenRant
Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is (seemingly) hinting at the return of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film.
Portman played the role of Foster in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, but only appeared via a picture in The Avengers and was thereafter mentioned in passing only during Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Last year, the Oscar-winner Portman said “As far as I know, I’m done” with the MCU, indicating that Ragnarok would leave moviegoers to assume that Jane is alive and no longer a couple with Chris Hemsworth’s eponymous, hammer-swinging god. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie is set to take over from Portman as the de facto female lead in the third Thor movie, but Waititi’s latest Twitter post suggest Jane could (at least) make a cameo in the superhero tentpole.
The image posted by Waititi to Twitter (see below) shows Portman aged 13 in Léon: The Professional and 19 in Where The Heart Is, along with the caption “Heed the signs,” and “#Ragnarok.” It could just be Waititi’s nod to the absence of Foster, but it could also confirm her involvement in the film. Given that Jane Foster is so important to the backstory of Thor and even takes on the Thor mantle in the Marvel Comics, it would be a shame for her role in the larger narrative of the MCU to already be over.
Interestingly, both pictures show Portman holding a house plant, leading to wild speculation on what Waititi means. Theorists have guessed that the image of the plant could also reveal the involvement of the Guardians of the Galaxy, in particular, the inclusion of Vin Diesel’s Groot. The newly-released Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does shout-out to Ragnarok at a few points during its runtime (including, its five post-credits scenes), so maybe the God of Thunder will return the favor in his own new movie?
The biggest cross against the news is Portman’s sketchy history with the studio. She was reportedly upset about Patty Jenkins’ departure as director from The Dark World and apparently only appeared in that film because she was contracted to. Despite this, Portman said as recently as December of 2016 that she’s open to a return to the MCU, down the line.
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige previously confirmed that Ragnarok focuses on Thor and Valkyrie’s relationship, indicating that Jane wouldn’t appear in the film in any capacity. Hence, if Jane does come back, it would likely be towards the end of the film so as not to detract from Valkyrie. Ragnarok‘s all-star cast (which includes Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, and Cate Blanchett) is stacked as is, so a last-minute appearance from Portman would be the icing on the cake.