After an extended hiatus from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Natalie Portman is back and more powerful than ever in the first teaser for Thor: Love and Thunder.
The fourth film in the Thor series is directed by Taika Waititi, who helmed the well-received Thor: Ragnarok. The movie follows on the heels of Avengers: Endgame, which ended with Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth), adrift after the fall of his kingdom Asgard, leaving Earth with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The teaser begins with him as a member of the group, with Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan and Vin Diesel set to reprise their roles. Previous MCU actors Tessa Thompson, Jaimie Alexander, Sean Gunn, Jeff Goldblum and Waititi himself -– as the rock gladiator Korg – will also return for the film, but the biggest moment of the teaser comes in the final seconds, when Portman's Jane Foster is revealed as the new Thor.
Set to Guns 'N Roses' Sweet Child 'O Mine, the trailer begins with Thor on a quest of self-discovery. "These hands were once used for battle, now they're but humble tools for peace," he says as he puts aside his new hammer Stormbreaker and watches an intergalactic sunset. "Now I need to figure out exactly who I am."
After a weight-loss training montage and a new outfit, Thor leaves the Guardians of the Galaxy behind to find his own path. He claims his superhero days are over and sets off with Korg across the galaxy.
The story of Love and Thunder is based on Jason Aaron's critically-acclaimed run on the comic book The Mighty Thor, which saw Jane Foster (played by Portman in the films), the love interest of Thor Odinson, take up the mantle of Thor after the sacred hammer Mjolnir deemed the Odinson unworthy and stripped him of his powers. In the comics, however, Foster's newfound power-up comes at a heavy cost: Every time she uses the hammer, her breast cancer becomes worse and worse.
Portman reprises the role of Jane after last appearing in an MCU film in 2013's Thor: the Dark World. She reportedly left the series due to being unhappy with the film, and particularly the replacement of the original director Patty Jenkins with Alan Taylor. However, Waititi reportedly directly convinced Portman to return to the MCU for the project.
In addition to old faces, Love and Thunder will also introduce new cast members to the franchise. Christian Bale portrays the main villain Gorr the God Butcher, a more recent addition to the Marvel canon, having been created by Aaron and Esad Ribic in 2013. Russell Crowe will also appear in the film, and Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone are also expected to make cameo appearances. Jenny Morris and Simon Russell Beale have also been cast in undisclosed roles for the film.
Waititi wrote the script for the film with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. The film is produced by Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum. Marvel Studios produces. The movie filmed in Sydney, Australia last year, after being delayed repeatedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thor: Love and Thunder premieres in theater July 8. – Reuters