One of the biggest surprises in Marvel's Phase 4 announcement was that Natalie Portman would return as Jane Foster for Thor: Love and Thunder. This time however, Jane will come back as Mighty Thor. Director Taika Waititi confirmed his next film would take inspiration from Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman's The Mighty Thor series, which saw Jane pick up Mjolnir to become the new God of Thunder after Thor became unworthy of his hammer.
The announcement was even made with a ceremonial passing of Mjolnir during the Marvel Studios panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, with Waititi presenting Natalie Portman with a replica of Mjolnir. Therefore, by all accounts, it sure looks like Jane Foster will in fact wield Mjolnir in the film. But how can that be, given that the hammer was destroyed by Hela in Thor: Ragnarok?
Well, our theory is that the mighty hammer's return will be heavily inspired by the recently concluded War of the Realms comic book event series.
A Broken Hammer
Currently, there are many theories floating about regarding how, exactly, Jane will become the Mighty Thor. After elements of time travel were introduced in Avengers: Endgame, some believe that Mjolnir will return thanks to some more time hijinks. But given that Endgame already used the plot device to bring the hammer back for Steve Rogers to wield, it seems unlikely Marvel will repeat that choice for Love and Thunder. Then, there are others who believe another Mjolnir could also be introduced thanks to the Multiverse, while another theory claims Jane could simply come to wield another magical hammer from Asgard -- a weapon similar to Stormbreaker.
However, what if the answer is much more simple than that? In Thor: Ragnarok, Hela crushed Mjolnir to bits while fighting both Thor and Loki on a cliff in Norway. The broken pieces of Uru, the Asgardian metal the hammer is made from, fell to the ground. What happened to those pieces? The thing is, while the hammer may be broken, the enchantment is still on all of its pieces: they can't be moved or lifted -- not by anyone who isn't worthy, that is. Therefore, even though more than five years have passed in the MCU after the time-jump in Endgame, it's likely that the pieces of Mjolnir are still there, on that Norwegian cliff.
Someone worthy could still be able to pick them up. And this is what brings us to Jane Foster, and War of the Realms.
There Must Always Be a Thor
When Jane Foster first picked up Mjolnir in the comics, it had been left on the Moon, where Thor had dropped it when he became unworthy. Jane eventually got to the hammer, whispered, "There must always be a Thor," picked it up and became the new God of Thunder. Now, things could play out similarly in Love and Thunder. While Thor has moved past Mjolnir now that he has Stormbreaker, the pieces of Mjolnir are still left abandoned in Norway. What's more, Endgame ended with Thor leaving alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy to travel through the cosmos -- meaning that, as far as the Earth is concerned, Thor simply isn't around anymore. Therefore, much like in the comics, Jane could easily realize that there must always be a Thor to protect the Earth.
If Jane manages to locate Mjolnir in Norway, then she will find the broken pieces of Uru, and the hammer's handle still on the ground. The big question however, is how could she fix the hammer? Well, the answer could be found in War of the Realms #5.
In the issue, Jane Foster finds herself standing over the shards of the War Thor hammer. The hammer had been previously wielded by Volstagg, but it was destroyed by the Mangog, an ancient monstrous creature from Asgardian lore. Shattered, the pieces of the War Thor hammer fell to the ground, and remained there for months. Then, heeding the call to participate in the War of the Realms, Jane's strength and worth allowed her to lift the War Thor hammer handle. Then, lightning began to cackle and the pieces of the hammer reattached themselves. Thanks to Asgardian magic, the hammer was remade. Later on, we would learn that this happened because the War Thor hammer was actually called Undrjarn the All-Weapon, able to take on the shape of any weapon.
While we doubt that Love and Thunder will retcon Mjolnir into Undrajrn, we could still see a similar scene play out in the film. Perhaps Jane is so worthy that her power will be enough to pull the pieces of Mjolnir together again, and held in place by lightning. Perhaps it's even that imperfection that will cause her to grow weaker the longer she uses the hammer.
As mentioned before, Waititi did say Thor: Love and Thunder would take inspiration from Aaron and Dauterman's The Mighty Thor series. And as comic fans know, War of the Realms is, in many ways, the conclusion of the writer's years-spanning Thor opus. Therefore, it's certainly possible the Marvel event could also serve as inspiration for the upcoming film, the script for which was only recently finished
Whatever the case may be, the pieces of Mjolnir are still out there in the MCU. And if there's one thing we've learned throughout 11 years and 23 films, it's that nothing in the MCU is lost or forgotten. Not for long, anyway.
Directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Love and Thunder starring Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth arrives in theaters November 5, 2021. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira and Bradley Cooper, with Josh Brolin as Thanos. The film is now available on Digital HD and arrives Aug. 13 on Blu-ray and 4K UHD.