Thor: The Dark World is the forgotten gem of the Thor series. It doesn’t have the basic charm of Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, nor does it have the bombastic color of Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok. But what it does have is a gripping story centered around the Reality Stone, an essential part of Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Could this movie actually have had an impact spanning further than just the Infinity Saga? This fan theory claims one particular aspect of the film is the entire origin of Thor: Love and Thunder’s emotional climax. Spoilers for Love and Thunder ahead.
A theory posted by Redditor MultiverseOfSanity claims that the Reality Stone’s radioactivity is what caused the cancer that ultimately kills Jane, despite her double life as The Mighty Thor. It may sound farfetched, as lots of people have handled the Infinity Stones. But Jane’s encounter with the Reality Stone is unlike any we’ve seen before.
We know the stones are radioactive, as Bruce Banner says they emit “mostly gamma” waves in Avengers: Endgame. Because gamma radiation is what turned him into the Hulk in the first place, he’s the only Avenger who could safely wield the Infinity Gauntlet. However, it’s Tony Stark who ultimately brings half the world’s population back, an act that kills him because of the sheer radiation involved.
Which brings us back to Jane. Those who remember Thor: The Dark World (and it’s okay if you don’t, it’s been a while) remember the Reality Stone, also known as the Aether, infests and possesses Jane. While handling an Infinity Stone may not cause any grievous harm to people, having a stone literally inside you is another story, and it could have been what caused Jane’s fatal cancer.
There’s actually some real historical precedent for this. In the early 20th century, the radioactive element radium was used for all sorts of consumer goods, including watch faces and gauge dials, as radium naturally glowed in the dark. While the amount of radium used on these products was miniscule, the women hired to paint the dials were taught to point the brush with their lips, causing them to inadvertently ingest much of the paint. Years later, these women dealt with all sorts of cancers and other health issues.
Jane had a radioactive stone inside her for days. It would be weird if she didn’t have a reaction to it. It might be shocking to learn that Jane’s fate could have been avoided, but it just adds to the thematic weight of the film: Thor’s connection with Jane is both what kills her and what makes her heroic. Jane’s sacrifice should be up there with Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff as far as efforts to save the universe go.
Thor: Love and Thunder is now playing in theaters.