Here's When Natalie Portman Agreed To Play The Mighty Thor In THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER

We know Natalie Portman is going to suit up as the Mighty Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder, but new details have now been revealed about why and when she agreed to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

Marvel Studios made a series of casting announcements at Comic-Con on Saturday, but the highlight was undoubtedly the news that Natalie Portman is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to play Jane Foster/The Mighty Thor. This marks her first appearance as the character since 2013, and a new God of Thunder in Thor: Love and Thunder is definitely a big deal. 

Now, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Portman's deal to play the character was done in secret six months ago (which explains why she lent her voice to Avengers: Endgame). 

Director Taika Waititi reportedly decided that he wanted to bring Jane back as Thor while directing Thor: Ragnarok, and it didn't take Portman very long to come around to his way of thinking. "One of the ideas, and perhaps the biggest, was the idea of Jane," Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says. "We set Natalie and Taika up and in one meeting she agreed to do it."

It's now going to be interesting to see whether The Mighty Thor makes just the one appearance in the MCU, or if Marvel Studios has managed to convince Portman to stick around for the foreseeable future in order to board The Avengers franchise. 

What do you guys think?

Hit the "View List" button to check out a list of all
the new MCU casting additions made at Comic-Con!

THE ETERNALS

Angelina Jolie (Thena)

A


Angelina Jolie is a Hollywood great, and while she may be part of Disney's Maleficent franchise, it was still hard to ever imagine her joining a superhero franchise. The power of Marvel Studios, eh?

As for Thena, she's Thanos' cousin and one of the Eternals of Olympia. She's a powerful warrior who has your standard enhanced abilities but is also near invulnerable and immortal. She can fly and cast illusions to disguise her appearance, while she carries a bow that fires arrows made up of "cold energy" which bombards enemies either with a ring of fire or anti-gravitons.
 

Richard Madden (Ikaris)

B


Richard Madden found fame after playing Robb Stark in Game of Thrones but became a hot commodity after starring in his series The Bodyguard. He also recently appeared in Rocketman

Born over 20,000 years ago, Ikaris' powers are rooted in cosmic energy and he has psychic abilities and the ability to create illusions. He's often been portrayed as the team's leader and will probably be The Eternals' lead male character and someone key to the MCU moving forward. 
 

Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo)

C


Kumail Nanjiani is a Pakistani-American actor who is perhaps best known for his stand-up work as well as The Big Sick and Silicon Valley. He also recently starred in Stuber with Dave Bautista.

In the comics, Kingo was from a Japanese settlement of Eternals and a Samurai in 16th Century Japan. In the present day, he used his skills to become a movie star, but it's clear from Nanjiani's casting that the character is going to undergo some relatively major changes in the MCU. 
 

Salma Hayek (Ajak)

D


Salma Hayek has been acting for a long time now, but it definitely feels like The Eternals marks a comeback of sorts for the actress. In recent years, we've seen her in the likes of The Hitman's BodyguardSausage Party, and Grown Ups 2, so joining the MCU definitely feels like a smart move for Hayek.

A man in the comic books, Ajak fought in the Trojan War in the 13th Century and has many ties to Central America where he was worshipped as a God. He has a number of superpowers and is a gifted fighter, and Hayek's version of the character is actually expected to be the team's leader. 
 

Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos)

E


Brian Tyree Henry voiced Jefferson Davis in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and was recently seen in Child's Play. Atlanta and This Is Us have put him on the map and he's signed up to appear in upcoming blockbusters like Godzilla Vs. Kong, A Quiet Place 2, and even DC Comics movie Joker

Phastos is a weapon-smith and was mistaken for the Olympian god Hephaestus during the days of ancient Greece. Phastos is more reticent than the others, having a melancholy spirit and an ambivalence toward fighting, so we can probably expect him to be a character that it'll fun to spend time with.
 

Lauren Ridloff (Makkari)

F


Another character who has been gender swapped for the big screen, The Walking Dead's Lauren Ridloff will play Makkari in the movie and is now set to be the MCU's first deaf superhero. 

The Olympian hero is a member of the Eternals Technologist's Guild and skilled at dreaming up various high-speed vehicles. He boasts your standard set of superpowers but will likely be used in a tech support capacity to get this group of weird and wonderful individuals around the cosmos! 
 

Don Lee (Gilgamesh)

G


Don Lee came to many people's attention after his breakout role in Train to Busan and is actually one of the most popular actors in South Korea. This will be his biggest role to date, though. 

Also known as "The Forgotten One, " Gilgamesh became an outcast from his fellow Eternals when his meddling in the human world became too much for them.  As a result, he was banished to a sector of Olympus but later returned to their side. He's probably the most skilled hand-to-hand combatant in the entire group and uses an array of weapons, but might he be a villain in this movie? 
 

Lia McHugh (Sprite)

H


Sprite is portrayed as a young boy in the comics, but Marvel Studios clearly wanted to add some diversity to this team, hence why Lia McHugh is playing her here. The actress has a handful of acting credits to her name but might be best known for American Woman.

Unable to age, Sprite is considered a trickster and uses his illusions to fool both his fellow Eternals and humans. In fact, he used his abilities to prank people for centuries and his actions actually ended up inspiring Shakespeare's character of the same name. 
 

SHANG-CHI

Simu Liu (Shang-Chi)

I


Way back in 2014, Simi Liu called out Marvel Studios for its lack of Asian representation it movies. Last December, he campaigned for the role of Shang-Chi, and this past Tuesday he was cast as the character just days before Comic-Con. He's mostly a TV actor and has appeared in the likes of Blood and WaterHeroes Reborn, and Fresh off the Boat. This will be by far his biggest role to date, though.

For those of you unfamiliar with Shang-Chi, he's one of the Marvel Universe's most skilled fighters and a master martial artist. Rumour has it that we'll learn that The Mandarin is his father. 
 

Tony Leung (The Mandarin)

J


Talking of The Mandarin, the real version of the character is finally coming to the MCU and based on that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings title, it sounds like we're finally going to learn about the villainous organisation that took Iron Man hostage in 2008.

As for Tony Leung, he's a huge deal in Hong Kong and has a long list of acting credits to his name. However, this movie will mark his Hollywood debut and it will be very interesting to see how Marvel Studios avoids some of the cliched trappings with The Mandarin.
 

Awkwafina (Unknown)

K


An American actress and rapper, Awkwafina made her film breakthrough last year with her roles in the films Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. Her role is being kept under wraps for some reason, so she could be playing a reimagined established character from the source material or someone brand new.
 

WHAT IF?

Jeffrey Wright (The Watcher)

L


What If? is an animated series coming to Disney+ and just like the comics, it's going to take us to a number of alternate timelines and universes as we see how differently things could have played out for certain characters in the MCU. Jeffrey Wright has been chosen to play Uatu, The Watcher, and fans are already anxious to see the Westworld and Casino Royale star in a live-action setting.
 

BLACK WIDOW 

David Harbour (Red Guardian) 

M


Stranger Things star David Harbour didn't find a lot of success with Hellboy, but things are looking up for him now that he's joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Red Guardian, someone who sounds like the Russian version of Captain America. Harbour has confirmed that he's a "super-soldier," and during the height of the Cold War, his comic book counterpart often battled The Avengers.
 

Rachel Weisz (Melina)

N


Rachel Weisz is another amazing grab for the MCU, but she's no stranger to big budget filmmaking after starring in the likes of The Bourne LegacyOz the Great and Powerful, and The Mummy.

Melina is another mysterious character, but we know that she's been through the Red Room a fair few times and is clearly tied to Natasha somehow. There's a very good chance Weisz is playing a new version of Melina Vostokoff/Iron Maiden, a rival of Black Widow's who was constantly overshadowed by her. She later became an assassin and actually attempted to assassinate her!
 

Florence Pugh (Yelena)

O


Yelena Belova is a villain in the comics who was named the new Black Widow after Natasha defected, and they've clashed a number of times in the years that have followed. In this movie, she's described as a sister-like figure to the hero, but it remains to be seen how long that will last. It would certainly be interesting if Yelena were to become a new, heroic Black Widow in her friend's place.

As for Florence Pugh, her star has been on the rise for a while as she recently starred in Fighting for My Family alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and received praise for Midsommer
 

O.T. Fagbenle (Mason)

P


O.T. Fagbenle is best known for The Handmaid's Tale and Black Widow marks his biggest role to date. 

As for who Mason is, we're not entirely sure. The actor has said that he's an old flame of Natasha's who may serve as an ally for her while wrestling with his feelings. Personally, my prediction is that this so-called ally ends up being revealed as Taskmaster, but time will tell on that front. 
 

BLADE

Mahershala Ali (Blade)

Q


Mahershala Ali won an Oscar for Moonlight and called Marvel Studios shortly after to ask if he could take on the role of Blade. Well, that's now happening, and it's impossible not to be excited about this - especially after the actor's amazing performances in the likes of True Detective and Luke Cage

Blade has appeared on the big screen three times in the past, and, in case you're not familiar with him, he is a human/vampire hybrid with all the strengths but none of the weaknesses of a traditional bloodsucker who has devoted his life to bringing down the vampires and anyone who protects them. 
 

HAWKEYE

Unknown (Kate Bishop)

R


As expected, a Hawkeye TV series is coming to Disney+ and it will revolve around Clint Barton dealing with both the aftermath of his time as Ronin and training a replacement in the form of Kate Bishop. 

We don't know who will play Kate yet, but comic book fans are bound to be excited to see her on screen. 
 

WANDAVISION

Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau)

S


We were introduced to Monica Rambeau in Captain Marvel, but the future Spectrum was just a child and a long way off from becoming a superhero. Well, we're going to be reunited with her in WandaVision on Disney+ and there are a lot of very intriguing possibilities for what that might mean.

Teyonah Parris found fame in Mad Men before landing her breakthrough role in 2014 Indie drama Dear White People. Since then, she's appeared in Empire and Spike Lee's Chi-Raq.
 
How do you guys feel about these new additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Which of these characters do you think will make the biggest impact moving forward? Sound off below. 
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