Even the most fervent fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would probably admit, under only the lightest of interrogation, that Natalie Portman didn’t get the superhero treatment with her early appearances in the franchise. Both Thor and Thor: The Dark World, Portman’s two major MCU movies, came before Marvel really figured out what to do with Chris Hemsworth’s God Of Thunder, a process that kicked off in earnest with the Avengers movies, before solidifying with Taika Waititi’s goofball conception of the character in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Among other things, that film fully grasped that Hemsworth’s energies were better spent on buddy-com than rom-com vibes, relegating Portman’s love interest Jane Foster to such a minor role that she didn’t even get to dump the big lug on-screen.
Now, though, Portman is set to return, and on somewhat more even terms, in Waititi’s Thor: Love And Thunder. The teaser trailer for the movie—due out July 8—already revealed a quick shot of Portman’s Foster wielding Mjolnir for herself, in a clear homage to Jason Aaron’s The Mighty Thor from a few years back. Today, though, Empire released a new photo from the set, giving a full look at Portman in Goddess Of Thunder mode, including a more subdued (but still very shiny) version of the Thor armor.
Meanwhile, Waititi also gave Empire a few indications about what Thor and Foster’s relationship might be like in the new film—albeit, without giving any big plot spoilers away. “It’s been about eight years,” Waititi noted. “She’s had a whole other life, and then the love of your life comes back on the scene, and is now dressed like you. It’s a real mindfuck for Thor.” Waititi also nailed a big reason why the Foster character never entirely fit into a film series about a man fighting trolls and evil elves with his big magical hammer:
You don’t want Natalie coming back and playing that same character who’s walking around with science equipment. You know, while Thor’s flying around, she’s left on Earth, tapping her foot going, ‘When’s he going to be back?’ That’s boring. You want her to be part of the adventure.