2017 is the year Marvel Comics focuses on legacy, with the Marvel Legacy initiative connecting core heroes past and present in the dense, rich tapestry of Marvel lore. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is reaching a similar point of developing heroic transitions, as the ongoing narrative that began with 2008's Iron Man reaches a true turning point with 2018 and 2019's two-part Infinity War films. One of the baton (or in this case hammer) handoffs we'd be most excited about is Jane Foster taking over as the MCU's Goddess of Thunder.
Jane's role in the MCU to date has been limited at best, with Natalie Portman playing Thor's love interest in Thor and Thor 2: The Dark World. Admittedly, Portman's portrayal and the character's anemic role leaves plenty of room for argument against her as the MCU's next Thor. Likewise, a variety of Marvel heroes -- and villains -- have wielded Mjolnir over the years, meaning Marvel Studios will have several options moving forward. Fortunately, there are enough compelling reasons from both Marvel Comics and the direction of the MCU to believe Jane Foster should be the next Thor. Without further ado, here are the primary reasons we need to see Jane Foster bringing the thunder in 2020 and beyond!
15 SHE SHATTERS STEREOTYPES
Besides Black Widow, the MCU's Avengers lineup has been a pretty bro-heavy affair. Even with the addition of Scarlet Witch, Captain America: Civil War brought more Marvel heroes together on screen than we've seen before, and only two of them were women. Likewise, the MCU hasn't had a powerhouse woman on screen yet. Captain Marvel should help change that, but until that time Jane Foster as Thor is the best option Marvel Studios has.
Part of the appeal of this change stems from Jane's Thor proving assumptions wrong about her stature, as she did with the snide comments from the Frost Giants. This will become increasingly important as the DCEU expands the eagerly beloved role of Wonder Woman in Justice League, and Marvel has no counter. Historically the answer to "Who is Marvel's Wonder Woman?" has been confused shrugging or wild debate. Jane Foster as Thor gives Marvel their answer.
14 KNOWS BOTH WORLDS
Despite his good intentions, Thor's affinity for the people of Midgard is always second hand. As he's made abundantly clear, the Asgardian prince is a very literal god, perpetually above mere old humans. It's nice that Thor takes on the responsibility of Avenging, but Midgard will always be more like pets or a cultural fascination. The MCU's Thor has no ties to Earth beyond altruism and romance.
Jane Foster, on the other hand, has one foot in Midgard and one in Asgard at all times. She has natural love for her homeworld, only augmented by her exposure to other realms. Likewise, Jane has a deeper understanding of Asgard and Asgardian culture even before she wields the mighty Mjolnir. Whereas the current Thor's Avenger duty on Earth is a generous charitable act, Jane's time with the Avengers on Earth is a part of her DNA.
13 INSPIRATIONAL STRUGGLE
One of the more intentionally intelligent plot wrinkles from Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman's Thor and Mighty Thor comes from dealing with the ramifications of Jane Foster's cancer. The seeds of Jane's illness are planted back in Marvel NOW!'s Thor: God of Thunder, with Thor, the Odinson, desperate to use his power to save Jane. The weight of the terrible disease creates a dichotomy between Jane's mortal form and her transforming into the Mighty Thor, made more powerful by the fact that changing into Thor halts the progress of Jane's chemotherapy.
Now, there's nothing to date in the MCU that actually suggests Jane has developed cancer, but this adds a layer of fighting spirit to Jane that creates empathy. Additionally, humanizing Thor with the threat of cancer adds a layer to the conversation about changing Thor's gender, with a deeply personal illness most of us can connect with.
12 THE UNWORTHY THOR
Just because we think the MCU is approaching time for Jane Foster to take on the role of Thor, doesn't mean we can't have our Chris and eat it too. In Marvel Comics, the transition to Jane Foster as the Goddess of Thunder has meant Thor, the Odinson, has become quite literally unworthy of the role. While this is clearly a blow to the character, it's also a fascinating and well-executed story arc, with roots all the way back to Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic's all-time great opening arc on Thor: God of Thunder.
An unworthy Odinson leads to questions of faith, the role of gods, and who it is heroes become when their weapons fail them (or in this case, they fail their weapons). Plus, we're reasonably sure Odinson hasn't worn a shirt since 2015, which would likely please a lot of Chris Hemsworth fans.
11 MORE MJOLNIR
In her time as Thor, Jane has found all-new all-different ways to utilize Mjolnir in battle. Not that the original Odinson had a distant relationship with the realm's greatest hammer, but Jane has shown a particular connection to the hammer, beyond simple worthiness. In Mighty Thor, we've seen Jane hurl her hammer in zigzagging attack patterns, as well as float solitary in the center of a room expunging lightning bolts at all would-be foes.
Some of these changes are merely director's decisions in the MCU, but we haven't seen Thor do much more with Mjolnir besides fling it in a straight line and fly. A deeper, almost spiritual connection to Mjolnir is one of the many ways Jane Foster separates herself from the Thor we all know, and offers a plethora of visual distinction that would look great on the big screen.
10 SPEAKS FOR EARTH
As the tangential realms near Asgard expand, and we learn more about the vast cosmos of the Marvel Universe, there are more and more opportunities to tie these civilizations to Earth. In her Marvel Comics role as Thor, Jane Foster bridges these gaps as a senate representative for Earth, communicating with the likes of Dark and Light Elves, and Asgardians. The many arguing races don't realize Jane is also the one and only Thor, adding some secret identity mystique to both Jane's time on Earth and on Asgard.
There are definitely characters in the grand MCU vision who can speak for Earth's views in the greater shared galaxy -- see also: Quill, Peter -- but Jane adds this element successfully to the Avengers. Plus, if there's one thing we learned from the Star Wars prequels, it's that Natalie Portman makes one heck of a Senator (wait, where are you going?!).
9 PAIRS BETTER WITH HERCULES
Hercules is one of the longtime Avengers we're most excited to see introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Avengers: Infinity War. So long as Chris Hemsworth's hulking powerhouse Thor is on the Avengers roster, Marvel's Hercules (not to be confused with Disney's other Hercules) simply feels duplicative. How many demigod brawlers does one Avengers squad really need anyway? When Jane Foster occupies the role of Thor, she brings some diversity to the team and allows Hercules to occupy the battle-hungry actor-named-Chris role.
Additionally, while Jane would begin developing the notion of a Thor that lives among us on Earth, Hercules would eagerly fill the pure godmode role of the current Thor. The Lion of Olympus is almost always only an Avenger when the Avengers don't have a Thor, but with Jane Foster in the role, the duo begin to fit better.
8 CONTINUES THE LEGACY OF THOR
The MCU is approaching an unprecedented tipping point, when Marvel Studios has to begin reconciling actor's ages and contracts with their attempts to tell an ongoing, endless narrative. There's a possibility that Chris Hemsworth could play Thor for decades -- does he age? -- we just can't know for sure. Even so, there's a reliance in that assumption that the Thor and Avengers movies are best served by the same individual in the role year after year.
So, in an effort to avoid the dreaded reboot, and simply recast Thor with a suddenly bulky Dustin from Stranger Things it only makes sense to build a legacy of Thors. Not only does this sustain the presence of a Thor in the incredible ongoing cycle of MCU films, but it sets the precedent for a new individual in the Thor friend circle to take on the role once Jane Foster moves on.
7 FALCTHOR ROMANCE
If you've been looking for romance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we're sorry for your loss. With the exception of Cap and Peggy Carter (R.I.P.), there's an absolute dearth of affecting love stories in Marvel movies. The general irrelevance of Thor and Jane Foster is certainly a part of this problem, but ironically, it's one that Jane as Thor can also fix.
In Mark Waid and Adam Kubert's All-New Avengers, Sam Wilson -- the MCU Falcon, and Marvel Comics Captain America -- develops a surprise romantic connection with Jane Foster's Thor. As Thor, Jane sees what she wants and knows how to get it. This addition could create an actual sustained Avengers relationship, an in-team dynamic that has been explored -- Vision and Wanda, Black Widow and... well everyone -- but never developed.
6 SETS UP THE LEAGUE OF REALMS
From the most recent Thor: Ragnarok trailer, it would seem the Marvel Cinematic Universe is setting up Thor to tag-team-up with the Hulk's Warbound from "Planet Hulk" and World War Hulk. While not a certainty, this implies Thor won't actually be spending much time with the League of Realms, established by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic in Thor: God of Thunder.
This leaves the League of Realms to be safely introduced with an all-new Jane Foster Thor, and frankly this would be a win for everyone. The League of Realms lineup has shifted slightly over the years, but essentially you get representatives across the Realms, including Light Elves, dwarves, trolls, and giants. Sure, it's very Lord of the Rings, but any time we can see Thor fight alongside Screwbeard, son of Headwound, that's something we want to see.
5 REFUTES THOR #136
Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's Thor #136 is a critical moment in early '60s Thor comics, with Thor bringing Jane Foster to Asgard for the first time. This comes several issues into a budding romance between the duo, with only the approval of All-Father Odin blocking their path. In a story titled "To Become An Immortal," Jane is made into a Goddess by Odin, and then forced to face a test to determine her worthiness in marrying Thor.
Despite the sudden power of flight, saying Jane is depicted as the epitome of weak-willed woman folk is an understatement. Jane is hopelessly fearful and entirely dependent upon "her man" throughout the entire experience, even agreeing with Odin that she is unworthy of godhood! Kirby and Lee were creators of their time, but this pitiful display from Jane deserves endless recompense.
4 STANDS UP TO ODIN
To date, the MCU's Thor holds Odin in the highest regard. His all-father and king dictates how Thor lives his life, and although Thor will certainly defy Odin from time to time, at the end of the day he often can't see past the fact that Odin is his father. In many ways, this acquiescence extends to all of Asgard. Odin has been their king for so long that questioning his rule is nearly unthinkable.
Jane on the other hand has been forever met with Odin's disapproval, with old one-eye preventing Jane and Thor's love from really ever blossoming, especially in the earliest Thor comics. Jane has no fear of Odin as a result, and while she isn't looking to instantly spark Asgardian Civil War, she will throw down with Odin should he cross a line. There's a lot of pent-up anger when it comes to Odin and Jane, and this leads to some much needed -and some violent - debate between the two.
3 RETURNS THOR'S SECRET IDENTITY
The MCU has taken a completely Donald Blake-free approach to Thor. Honestly this was for everyone's benefit, and offered a nice shortcut to fit Thor into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Avengers. Although Jack Kirby and Stan Lee gave Thor a classic hero's introduction in Journey Into Mystery #83, with Donald Blake finding the wooden staff that would transform him into the mighty Thor, the MCU made the wise choice to simply deliver Thor, pure and uncut.
Now that the Universe is more developed, and movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming are bringing back classic elements of secret identities, it's time to restore this wrinkle to Thor. Jane Foster is a more complex and compelling character when she is attempting to a balance a human life of cancer recovery, a role as Earth's senator to the cosmos, and time as Thor, the Goddess of Thunder.
2 CAN'T BE FOOLED (AGAIN) BY LOKI
For all his many strengths, the Thor of the MCU (much like the comics) is immensely susceptible to Loki's manipulations. Although he recognizes that Loki is a villain and always true to his scheming nature, Thor's vision is clouded by their shared brotherhood and his hope for Loki's redemption. It's a part of his heroism that we love, but when Loki says "Help me, brother," Thor will always extend a hand, even if it means that hand's about to get chopped off by a secret dagger.
Jane Foster has no such hang ups. In Mighty Thor, Jane recounts how the first time she met Loki he tried to kill her simply to get to Thor. Jane can't and won't forget Loki's true nature because she's seen too much to ever believe otherwise. Mighty Thor #3 excellently presents this dynamic, when Loki attempts to spin a web of lies to Thor and she responds by simply hammering his head clean off his shoulders. We're thinking maybe she didn't buy the pitch, god of lies.
1 RAGNAROK IS BETTER WITH REBIRTH
It's always a flawed premise to base an assessment of a movie off the trailers, but nonetheless, the trailers for Thor: Ragnarok look absolutely amazing. If this is to truly be a Ragnarok, it must mean an end of Asgard at the hands of Hela and Fenrir. With the impending Avengers: Infinity War on the horizon in 2018, the death of Thor would be entirely surprising, but the seeds for change could begin now.
Following 2004's "Ragnarok" in Marvel Comics, Thor and the gods actually disappear from the Marvel continuity for nearly three years, before returning to Broxton, Oklahoma in J. Michael Straczynksi and Olivier Coipel's Thor. Upon their return, the gods are very much changed, inhabiting human personas for a time, and with Loki even reappearing as a woman. This seems like an entirely reasonable path to keep Asgard interesting and to reinvent Thor as Jane Foster.
Do you agree that Jane Foster should take over as Thor in the MCU? Let us know in the comments section!