Thor: Love and Thunder Director Explains How He Persuaded Natalie Portman Back to the MCU

Natalie Portman has been mostly absent from the MCU for almost a decade since her appearance in Thor: The Dark World. Portman’s character of Jane Foster did make an unexpected appearance in Avengers: Endgame, but other than providing a small amount of voiceover work, the actress didn’t actually shoot anything new for the movie. After being unhappy with the depiction of her character in her first two appearances, along with the firing of Patty Jenkins from Thor: The Dark World, Portman seemed to be done with the MCU in the main. However, Taika Watiti has explained how he was able to persuade the award-winning actress back into the Marvel fold for Thor: Love and Thunder. He told Fandango:

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“I went to her house and she gave me a glass of water… I think that what we did with Ragnarok was, it made these movies appealing to other actors as well, like Christian [Bale] really he saw that and he was like, “I want to do something fun,” and came here, wanted to be part of this thing. And Natalie too and… I think that she was just wanting to make sure that… I don’t even know how to say this, but… her character in those first few films, it’s probably not the most exciting version of the female character that we want from these films… I had to just talk to her about the fact that I wanted to change that character, just like we’d changed Thor’s character for Ragnarok and to give her a bit more license to be adventurous and fun because Natalie’s a really funny person. And sometimes… those sorts of things cannot… I don’t know, they’re not the main focus when they come up with characters and you know in films.”

Thor: Love And Thunder Will Continue Ragnarok’s Style

Marvel Studios

There is a distinct difference between the original Thor, Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok. The latter arrived as one of the first double-hander movies of the MCU, with Thor being accompanied on his adventure by Bruce Banner/Hulk. The result was a bright, energetic feature that delivered as much loud action as an Avengers movie while continuing the story of Thor and Loki from the previous movies. In addition to this, it also introduced Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, who has now become a fully-fledged member of the Marvel family.

Taika Watiti has explained that Thor: Love and Thunder is one of “the most bonkers things” he has ever done, and that seems to work for Thor. As we have seen from the trailers, there is certainly a lot going on in the movie’s reportedly short (in MCU terms) runtime, and that is likely going to lead to a frantic and fast-paced film that is not going to give audiences time to catch their breath.

After Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ so-so performance with the critics, it will be interesting to see how Thor: Love and Thunder fares considering the almost universal praise for Thor: Ragnarok, which currently has a 93% approval rate on Rotten Tomatoes.