Thor: Love and Thunder Writer Explains the Film's Approach to Jane's Cancer

Well before Thor: Love and Thunder opened in theaters, Marvel fans suspected that the film would bring to screen an important storyline from the comics in which Jane Foster is diagnosed with cancer and ends up transformed into the Mighty Thor. Those suspicions were confirmed once the film arrived with Jane's (Natalie Portman) illness playing an important role in the film. Now, writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson explains the film's approach to that story and the responsibility of bringing the story to screen.

Speaking with Variety, Robinson said that Jane's cancer storyline was always in the film, even from the first draft of the script.

"It was always there. Obviously, it's in the comics, and it was in Taika's first draft," Robinson said. "And then it was just about, you know, what does this mean? We had a lot of conversations, especially with Natalie, about, you know, we have a responsibility here. What an amazing thing to be able to show a superhero with cancer and really not shy away from the ugliness of it and the things that are hard about it, but also really being able for this character to shine. A lot of the conversations were like, 'How do we do this justice and how do we put something on screen that's going to mean something and resonate with cancer survivors?'"

Robinson also explained that the scene in the movie that introduces Jane's cancer story was actually initially earlier in the film, though it moved as things developed.

"I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but I think it's fine: In the original draft, it was actually before the Marvel [Studios logo]. It was even earlier in Taika's original draft. That always was a moving piece — ultimately, it did become [the origins for] Gorr and I think it's awesome," she said. "But [Jane's cancer] was never going to be a gotcha moment. It was always, like, this is the story of this woman. This is her arc. And this is where it starts.

But even with Thor: Love and Thunder being a superhero movie with gods as characters, Robinson said they also tried to maintain truth in Jane's story, balancing the human with the fantastic.

"I think we just always tried to look for the truth and the emotion behind it, and really come from a human place," Robinson said. "And not a general human place — it's a Jane human place. It's thinking how would Jane handle this, how does Jane move through her diagnosis? Specificity, I think, is what makes the best story, and something feel universal. And this was specifically Jane's story. Because yeah, most cancer survivors don't have a magic hammer that they can access that's gonna make them a superhero and give them huge arms. There's definitely a lot of really fantastical things, and then you have a scene where she just tells her boyfriend she has cancer, and she's very nervous to do that. That's a very human, real scene — on a boat in space."

Thor: Love and Thunder is in theaters now.