Little is known about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially now that "Phase Four" is delayed into 2021 due to the pandemic. But the future of the Avengers may have one surprising romance, as the MCU adapts a significant chunk of the recent Avengers comic books.
In a new interview with Natalie Portman, the actress reveals her Jane Foster is "going through cancer treatment" at the same time she wields the mighty hammer Mjolnir. This isn't just a huge story coming to the MCU, it's also a pretty recent and very specific time frame from the comics that fans will see played on the big screen.
What Happened? — In an interview with Fatherly to promote her new children's book, Natalie Portman's Fables, the Oscar-winner revealed her character from the Marvel franchise, scientist Jane Foster, will undergo cancer treatment in the plot of Thor: Love and Thunder.
"I'm really excited," Portman said about her role in the 2022 Marvel movie. "I'm starting to train, to get muscles." Though hesitant to discuss spoilers, she confirms a story that was, until now, pure speculation since the movie was revealed at Comic-Con in 2019. "It’s based on the graphic novel of The Mighty Thor. She’s going through cancer treatment and is a superhero on the side."
Thor: Love and Thunder, due in theaters February 11, 2022, will see Chris Hemsworth in probably his final appearance as Thor as the hammer-wielding Avenger will pass his powers onto his ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster. It's a transfer that played out in the comics; in the aftermath of the 2014 crossover Original Sin, Jane possessed Thor's powers until the 2019 story War of the Realms.
Remember: Whosoever shall wield the hammer, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.
But at the same time, Jane was a mighty superhero, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The tragedy of her becoming a superhero was that using Mjolnir to become Thor would regularly purge all toxins from her body, including the chemotherapy. Though she was indeed strong and mighty as Thor, she couldn't get better.
A kiss among heroes — Much of Jane's story as Thor played out in Jason Aaron's The Mighty Thor and Mark Waid's All-New, All-Different Avengers. In Avengers #4 from 2016, Jane shares a spur-of-the-moment smooch with Sam Wilson, who was then leading the Avengers as Captain America following a battle in Atlantic City.
Until this point, Jane Foster as Thor was a stoic muscle and not an impassioned barbarian like her predecessor Thor Odinson can be. But in this issue, Jane Foster was uncharacteristically passionate, which her Avengers colleagues took notice. Things got stranger when Jane straight up kisses Sam Wilson. "You certainly taste like I would imagine a Captain America to taste," Jane tells Sam, who replies in confusion, "You taste like a goddess."
When Sam asks her why, Jane only replies, "Because I felt like it."
At this point, readers already knew Jane Foster had cancer, but in the story, it was a secret kept from the rest of the Avengers. And by Avengers #4, the cancer was spreading and getting worse, which compelled Jane to live more in the moment, because she wasn't sure anymore how many moments she had left.
Will Sam and Jane romance in the MCU? — While there never was a full Sam/Jane romance (which Marvel readers thought would happen as the cover of Avengers #4, showing Jane and Sam kissing, seemed to imply), it's probable that Jane Foster's cancer and Thor powers in Thor: Love and Thunder could lead to a similar moment in a still-theoretical Avengers 5. And because the MCU beats to its own drum, it could be spontaneous as it was in the comic, or it could lead to a more prolific romance, like Black Widow and Hulk kind of, almost was.
The Inverse Analysis — First, it's pretty amusing how Natalie Portman casually confirmed what fans had only speculated, which is that Jane would have cancer and that the MCU would adapt Jason Aaron's tremendous Mighty Thor. But that the MCU isn't ignoring the elements that made Mighty Thor a worthwhile read is what's really fascinating. How the MCU will rearrange the pieces as it tends to do remains to be seen, but fans already have something excellent to look forward to in Phase Four, with or without a kiss between Avengers.
Thor: Love and Thunder will be released in theaters on February 11, 2022.