You Can Thank Natalie Portman's Kids For Her Return In Thor: Love And Thunder

Wooing Natalie Portman back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe years after her seeming departure wasn't so hard. All they had to do was give her character, Jane Foster, a little more to do — while appealing to Portman's real-life kids in the process.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" sees both Jane and her role in the MCU beefed up as she makes her muscular reentrance as the Mighty Thor. It's been eight years and eight months to the day since we last saw new footage of her in "Thor: The Dark World," which originally hit theaters on November 8, 2013. For Thor, in-universe, it's been almost the same amount of time — "eight years, seven months, and six days," to be exact.

After so long, "Love and Thunder" director Taika Waititi wasn't keen on having Portman reprise her role just to play Thor's love interest again. Speaking to Variety, he said:

"I've seen her play the scientist character in 'Thor' 1 and 2, and it just seemed pointless to do it again. That character feels like just a love interest. It's an Earthwoman who runs around being mortal and not really consequential throughout."

Letting Jane wield Thor's hammer this time around ensured that she would be more than just a damsel in distress. It also helps that the two kids Portman has raised in her absence from the MCU were excited by the Marvel production. She explained:

"I feel like it's the phase of my career where I'm really trying to just impress my kids. My 5-year-old and my 10-year-old were so enthralled by this process, getting to visit the set and see me dressed up in a cape. It made it really cool. You know, it's very rare that my kids are like, 'Please go to work!' Usually, it's quite the opposite."

Christian Bale's kids also made him make time for Gorr

Portman's husband is Benjamin Millepied, who served as the ballet choreographer on "Black Swan," the movie that won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. She previously said that "Thor: Love and Thunder" gave her "renewed respect for what Chris [Hemsworth] has been doing for over a decade" in terms of all the training and choreography that goes into his role as Thor. "Fight choreography is actually quite similar to dance," she observed.

"Love and Thunder" also marks the MCU debut and superhero genre return of Christian Bale, who has gone from playing Batman in "The Dark Knight" trilogy to playing Gorr the God Butcher opposite Portman and Hemsworth. As it turns out, Bale's kids were also responsible for convincing him to take the part of Gorr. In an interview with ScreenRant (via IndieWire), he revealed that he and his family loved "Thor: Ragnarok" and Waititi's Oscar-winning "Jojo Rabbit," but that it seemed like a scheduling conflict might get in the way of him accepting the Gorr role. As he put it:

"I said to my family, 'I don't think it's going to work out,' and they went, 'No, you make it work out. You're doing this, Dad.' They gave me my marching orders, and I dutifully obeyed."

Note to Marvel Studios: If a superstar's on the fence about appearing in a future MCU film, just have your people call their people kids, and it should all work out in the end.

"Thor: Love and Thunder" is in theaters now.