What Happens to Jane Foster After Thor: Love and Thunder?

Spoilers: Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor Odinson thought his old hammer Mjölnir had been lost forever. In Thor: Ragnarok, the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) fought his evil sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) and lost—at least initially, anyway. In a devastating blow, Hela cracked Thor’s mighty hammer into tiny bits.

However, the film’s new version features: Thor: Love and Thunder, Mjölnir is back, and, like a fickle pet has chosen a different owner: Thor’s ex-girlfriend, scientist Jane Foster. Jane Portman, a nurse undergoing Stage 4 chemotherapy, receives the call of the hammer. The hammer, which can be picked up by those it deems “worthy,” helps her transform into Thor and gives her health and strength—at least for a time.

After reuniting, Jane and Thor discover that Thor is actually sucking her life force. Thor pleads with Jane to stop using the hammer, so they can spend more time together. Jane, who is Thor, transforms into the evil Gorr The God Butcher (Christian Bale) to save her love. The decision eventually kills Jane, though we see in a end-credits scene that she does get a hero’s afterlife in Valhalla.

Thor is shocked by Jane’s transformation. The death of Jane may surprise movie-goers. Marvel comics lovers were not surprised by this plot twist. It closely mirrors an older story in which Jane Foster fights cancer and takes on the mantle Thor. What happens next in the comics may offer us a hint about Jane’s fate in Valhalla.

What is Jane Foster’s history in the Marvel comics?

One October, for the first ever time, a woman will be allowed to wield Mjolnir the hammer and have the abilities of Thor.

Marvel Comics

Jane Foster has been a fixture in the Thor comics for a while. A creation of Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby, she debuted in 1962’s Journey Into Mystery #84. Lee and Lieber initially wrote her for a job as a nurse. But she became a doctor.

She first wielded Thor’s hammer in 1978 in a But what if? comic. Those comic books—now the basis for a Disney+ animated series—apply the titular question to the Marvel canon: What if Peggy Carter had taken the supersoldier serum instead of Steve Rogers? Was it possible that the Avengers would become zombies due to a virus? But it wasn’t until 2014 that Jane-as-Thor on the big screen became not just a possibility, but a reality.

Jane Foster became Thor.

In comics at one time, Thor Odinson, the original Thor and the son of Odin, was no longer worthy to carry the hammer. Frost Giants invade Earth later and an unknown Thor is created to protect it. The identities of the seven issue writers were kept secret for seven issues. Thor Odinson tries to reclaim his title and tries to figure out new Thor’s true identity. After seeing new Thor perform, Odinson realizes she is worthy of the title.

Thor Odinson suspects Jane to be his new hero. He then eliminates Jane from his suspect list because she is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. This, he claims, will make her weaker to fight. Of course, he’s wrong. Her power is being given by the hammer. Thor Odinson eventually begs new Thor to reveal her identity, and—surprise!—it’s his former lover.

We learn that becoming the Goddess of Thunder is actually hastening Jane’s demise. The transformation cleanses “toxins” from her body—including, unfortunately, chemotherapy—each time she picks up the hammer. Jane refuses the hammer, and she becomes an Avenger. Jane’s illness becomes so severe that Doctor Strange advises her to stop using the hammer. She does so anyway to defend Earth and sacrifices both her life and Mjölnir in the fight.

What’s next for Jane Foster in the MCU?

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth star in Thor: Love and Thunder


Comic books are not known for making death permanent. Thor is able to revive Jane using the power of a storm (don’t ask). She vows to focus on her health and not fight bad guys when she comes back to Earth. Eventually, her cancer is gone.

The comics storyline no doubt laid groundwork for the events of the film, so we may yet see Portman’s Jane alive and well in the MCU. After all, why include an end-credits scene in which Jane enters Valhalla if we won’t be visiting that realm again, perhaps to see Thor visit and retrieve Jane from the afterlife.

What were the reactions of fans to Jane-as Thor comics?

When Marvel announced a woman would be carrying Thor’s hammer in 2014, fans were mostly excited by the prospect.

Naturally, some sexist online fans criticized the decision. This is not new. Every attempt to support any queer or female BIPOC hero in comics has been met with a lot of criticism by angry trolls. I had spoken to Thor writer Jason Aaron, who pointed out that many comic book characters had picked up Thor’s hammer over the decades. “I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while, which surprisingly we’ve never really seen before,” he told TIME.

Continue reading: Marvel Comics Writers Explain Why They’re Making Thor a Woman

By the time the MCU announced that Natalie Portman’s Jane would wield Thor’s hammer at Comic-Con in 2019, fans were excited not only for Portman’s return to the MCU—she had exited after Thor: The Dark World—but a shakeup in the Thor storyline. Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi presented Portman with Mjölnir onstage at the convention, and fans gasped and cheered.

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