The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get super rad. After an announcement at SDCC 2019 that set fandom on fire, Jane Foster is finally making her onscreen debut in Thor: Love and Thunder. At the time it was shocking news after Natalie Portman’s seeming lack of interest in the MCU movies post-Thor: The Dark World. But something lured her back into the fray. And we couldn’t be happier to have the Mighty Thor join the MCU.

If you’re not sure how Jane Foster fits into the world of Thor, here’s a rundown of the character’s association with the Thor title in the comics and what we know about her role in Love and Thunder as well as some speculation about how she could shape the MCU.

Jane Foster in the MCU, she'll return as the Mighty Thor
Who is Jane Foster In Marvel Comics?

Jane Foster made her first appearance in Journey Into Mystery #84 back in 1962. She initially had the last name “Nelson” and was created as a love interest for Dr. Donald Blake, the secret human identity of Norse god Thor. After meeting Thor in his god form, she entered into a love triangle with the men before Thor revealed they were the same person. In admitting his true form to Jane, Thor was punished by Odin. Thor later brought Jane to Asgard, where Odin briefly granted her immortality and the power of the gods. However, Jane’s godly powers were later taken back when she showed fear in the face of danger. After stripping her of her powers, Odin returned Jane to Earth with no memory of Thor or her time on Asgard.

Her comic history gets a little complicated from there on. She was exiled to a pocket dimension at one point; upon returning, she became a physician, reunited with Blake in Oklahoma, and later developed breast cancer. But there is one constant: She has always remained an important figure in Thor’s life and one of his great loves.

In the MCU, Portman’s depiction of Foster varies quite a bit from her comic version. She’s portrayed as an astrophysicist who falls for Thor when he finds himself exiled to Earth. At first merely curious of his strange properties, she eventually falls for him. They’re separated at the end of Thor, but reunited in Thor: The Dark World, after Foster is infected with the Aether, a powerful weapon unleashed by the Dark Elf Malekith. Jane travels to Asgard, Malekith is defeated, and she returns to Earth and reunites with Thor in the film’s post-credits scene. But, as we later learn, the two break up and part ways. Though we see a brief glimpse of Jane when Thor travels back in time in Endgame, she’s been largely absent from the MCU since The Dark World.

How Does Jane Foster Become Marvel Comic’s Thor?

But who is the Mighty Thor? The Mighty Thor is not a Thor variant, or a Thor from another universe. Instead, in a comic crossover storyline known as Original Sin, Thor lost the ability to wield his hammer Mjölnir after Nick Fury whispered something mysterious in his ear. His unworthiness paved the way for another to take control of the weapon: a woman who becomes the Goddess of Thunder. Though her identity stayed a mystery for some time, the new Thor was eventually revealed as Jane Foster, and her storyline was explored in writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman’s The Mighty Thor comic run.

Before he learned of her identity, Thor—who took the name Odinson in the absence of Mjölnir—had a rough go of it, feeling the vastness of his “unworthy” life. He eventually witnessed Jane’s Thor in action during a battle with Malekith and the Frost Giants, and learns that she had more than earned the title. Meanwhile, Odin and his brother Cul sent a character named the Destroyer after the new Goddess of Thunder to retrieve the hammer, but Odinson assembled an army of superheroes to protect her.

Though the new Thor, Jane held onto her own hardships. Every time she transformed into the Goddess of Thunder, she was ridding herself of the chemotherapy that was treating her breast cancer, which still infected her. At first undeterred, Jane joined the Avengers and fought many battles, but she came to realize that transforming into Thor was slowly killing her. Soon after, she died in battle while protecting Asgard, but Odin revived her. Still infected with cancer, she relinquished the Thor mantle to focus on her health, and Odinson once again took control of Mjölnir. Jane’s cancer later went into remission, and she eventually became a Valkyrie.

How Will Jane Foster’s the Mighty Thor Fit Into Thor: Love and Thunder?

At Comic-Con, Waititi revealed that Love and Thunder was inspired by The Mighty Thor. Natalie Portman’s version of Foster would take up that title. As soon as we saw the trailers for Thor: Love and Thunder and Jane Foster’s costume, it became clear how much of an influence Russell Dauterman’s iconic character design would be on the movie’s version of Jane. But we didn’t have any idea just how closely the movie would take narratively from the comics until a recent merchandise reveal.

In the description for a collectible version of the Mighty Thor’s helmet, we learned a lot more about Jane’s journey in the film.

Suffering from cancer, astrophysicist and Thor’s ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster, visited New Asgard and her life was changed forever. Mysteriously, the broken pieces of Mjolnir, the hammer of the thunder god, transformed her into the Mighty Thor and gifted her the superpowers of Thor, to battle threats internal and external. Wielding Mjolnir herself, she had become a godly protector and a new hero was born!

With the help of Thor, Valkyrie, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Mighty Thor was faced by the powerful Gorr, the God Butcher. With divine powers himself, Gorr was driven to rid the universe of gods wherever he found them. Battling cancer in her human form and Gorr in her godly form, Jane Foster was embroiled in an epic struggle with plenty of love and thunder!

This makes it clear that Thor: Love and Thunder will take very directly from the comics storyline when it comes to the Mighty Thor’s MCU journey. This will include Jane’s battle with cancer before and during her transformation into the Mighty Thor. That makes sense as it was one of the most striking and moving parts of The Mighty Thor arc. As we mentioned above, in that story Jane is putting herself in danger every time she transforms into Thor. So it’ll be interesting to see if that aspect comes into play as it adds great personal sacrifice to her heroism, and it would likely introduce a conflict between Jane and her old flame.

Speaking of which, how will that tie into Thor’s story? Well, just like in the MCU, losing Mjölnir sent Thor into a depressive state. From the trailers we know he’s on a journey of self-discovery when he crosses paths with Jane. So far what we’ve seen has hinted at a romantic reconciliation between the two, with Jane becoming “something to fight for” as Odison battles Gorr the God Butcher.

Marvel Studios
How Could Jane Foster and The Mighty Thor Play into the Future of the MCU?

This all depends on where Jane’s story goes. Jane Foster could die after becoming the Mighty Thor and then experience resurrection just like in the comics. In that case, we’d put a safe bet on seeing her become a Valkyrie, especially as our King Valkyrie is now on her own path. But there’s a different option that we think is just as likely. In the trailers and promo images, we’ve seen Jane sitting alongside Bast and Valkyrie. We wouldn’t feel surprised if we got some kind of femme deity team-up in Love and Thunder. Not to mention, we’d love to see more of Jane Foster and her Mighty Thor muscles in the MCU.

During Secret Wars in 2015, A-Force introduced an all-new female hero team. Fans have long wondered whether we’d see them debut in the MCU. With the cinematic universe finally just starting to catch up to the amount of amazing female heroes in the comics, this seems ever more likely. Without a core Avengers team, the MCU needs a solid group of heroes to keep things safe.

Even with all our sleuthing, we’re sure Waititi, Portman, and co. will have more surprises in store!

We can’t wait to see Jane Foster pick up Mjölnir and fight alongside Thor and Valkyrie when Thor: Love and Thunder arrives in theaters on July 8.

Originally published on July 23, 2019 with reporting by Lindsey Romain.

Images: Russell Dauterman/Marvel Entertainment, Disney