The Thor Plotline That Might Have Compelled Natalie Portman To Return As Jane Foster

Everything's considered a state secret over at Marvel these days. Cameos, plot twists, and even the main villain (and overall story!) in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" were all kept under tight wraps, with the studio resorting to intentionally misleading marketing to keep fans off the scent until the last possible moment. And as long as the rather spoiler-prone Mark Ruffalo or Tom Holland aren't close by, those mysteries stand a very good chance of remaining so.

But when it comes to "Thor: Love and Thunder," pone of the bigger comic book plot points that fans want to see faithfully translated into live-action has less to do with the MCU's usual brand of fan-service and surprises. Potential spoilers for a development that may or may not be featured in the next "Thor" movie will follow from here on out, so fair warning.

Comic readers have an intimate knowledge of the character of Jane Foster and her transformation into the Mighty Thor. The appeal of Natalie Portman making her rather unexpected return to the superhero universe has been plastered front-and-center throughout the marketing for "Love and Thunder" — and rightfully so! But her backstory in the source material also deals with much weightier matters, as well. Jane develops breast cancer in the comics, which is further complicated by the effect that wielding Mjolnir has on her ongoing treatment. In short, being a superhero might have incredibly wide-reaching consequences on her body.

Fans everywhere have wanted to know whether this storyline will be adapted in "Thor: Love and Thunder" but, to nobody's surprise, director Taika Waititi and Portman herself are remaining coy about it.

'Am I allowed to talk about this?'

Is Marvel about to use one of its funniest and most lighthearted directors to tackle one of the comics' heaviest and most sobering storylines? That's the question at the forefront of many a fan's mind these days, but nobody involved with "Thor: Love and Thunder" is quite ready to go on record about it just yet. To be fair, we've received some pretty substantial clues through unofficial channels in the past indicating that the upcoming sequel will, in fact, include Jane's cancer as a major facet of her backstory in the film. But don't tell Taika Waititi or Natalie Portman that, because they're not talking.

In a lengthy profile with Variety, Portman does her level best to talk around the potentially spoiler-ridden subject matter, starting off by musing, "How can I answer this in a way that will be not completely skirting it, but also not being...?" The article amusingly paraphrases the wordy non-answer that follows, with vague hints about her "duality" as a human and a superhero. Luckily, Waititi is at least somewhat more forthcoming.

"Part of why [Natalie] wanted to play that character is that she has a dilemma in the book. [Pause] Am I allowed to talk about this?"

After pausing (presumably to duck any of Marvel's snipers), the director acknowledges that Jane "has big choices to make within the comic" and that they're "very interested" in addressing those in the movie. Can we treat these responses as outright confirmation? Not quite, but fans shouldn't have much difficulty reading between the lines. We'll find out for sure once "Thor: Love and Thunder" flies into theaters on July 8, 2022.