Taika Waititi Explains Why Natalie Portman Returns for Thor: Love and Thunder

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will finally begin exploring many of the legacy heroes that fans have been enjoying for years in the comic books, and we can look forward to another character wielding the hammer Mjolnir and becoming the God of Thunder when Thor: Love and Thunder premieres in 2021. That film will also mark the return of Natalie Portman to the franchise as Jane Foster, AKA the Mighty Thor.

Writer and director Taika Waititi spoke about his latest Marvel Studios movie, revealing how he convinced Portman to return to the franchise with one simple question.

"I just said to her, 'Are you interested in coming back to this thing, but doing something really different?'" Waititi revealed in an interview with Variety. "Because another thing, no one wants to keep repeating themselves and no one wants to play the same characters all the time. And I think for her, just coming back reprising that character but in this whole fresh new way, is really what I think would interest anyone. Especially, in most of these films, if you're not a superhero... do you really want to keep doing that? I mean, I wouldn't. I would want to come back and change things up."

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige previously spoke with CNN at San Diego Comic-Con about Thor: Love and Thunder, praising Portman as well as the story that will finally allow Jane Foster to become the God of Thunder.

"We love the story -- it's one of the best comic runs recently," Feige said. "[Director Taika Waitit] would flip through and read that run while he was doing Ragnarok. And I think when he agreed to come back and do another Thor, he was like, 'How do we--?' This is a very big movie that'll be folding in a lot of elements. That is a huge important part of it. He pitched it to us, and we were totally in. We loved it. We'd been in touch with Natalie. She's part of the MCU family and we put she and Taika together. It took one meeting and she agreed to do it."

With many characters moving on and the legacies being passed to new heroes, it seems like the next generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is leading toward a major shift. And Feige said that they're setting up something huge with this first wave of Phase 4 projects, leading into Phase 5.

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"There always is [a bigger vision], and it sort of only comes into view for others as it all solidifies," Feige said when asked about Phase 5.. "So ask me again at the end of 2021. But I will say, post Endgame, we were always about the new. We were always about doing what we always tried to do in Phase One, Two and Three, which is do a film of character you already know, [like] Black Widow, in a way that you don't expect."

Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled to premiere on November 5, 2021.