It looks like Marvel believes that the best defence is a great offence. Just hours ago, Thor series writer Jason Aaron was given the go ahead to divulge to Vulture what we’ve been clamouring to know – who is wielding Mjolnir? The best part is? The latest issue, Thor #8 comes out today in comic book stores, and finally promises to reveal the secret identity of the all-new Thor. Marvel has basically scooped itself in order to prevent anyone else from taking credit from spoilers.
As for the identity of the new Thor? The truth is, it’s not really a surprise. In fact, it makes an incredible amount of sense when you think about it. After all, as Jason Aaron put it, she was “the only character that was discussed”. We won’t reveal it to you so soon, of course, but check under the cut for why it makes sense, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for her to wield Mjolnir. Needless to say, if you don’t want to be spoiled for the big reveal of Thor #8, read no further.
Firstly, the Marvel Cinematic Universe definitely intends to last forever. With movie plans already made till 2019, it’s fair to say that it’ll take a LOT to slow down this blockbuster factory. Despite most critics thinking Avengers: Age of Ultron just wasn’t as good as the first Avengers movie, there’s no doubt that it’s already a box office darling. As of this writing, it’s already made over US$875 million worldwide, more than twice its budget.
Yet, despite the profit-making machine, there’s one thing that will definitely get in the way of making more movies – the actors’ contracts. Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter is notorious for being a scrooge when it comes to paying actors, so most of the characters will probably be written off as contracts run out. Chris Evans, who plays Steve Rogers aka Captain America, has hinted that he is going to go into directing after his time with Marvel ends with the two-part Avengers: Infinity War. Presumably, Robert Downey, Jr. is not planning to hang around after that either, with no new Iron Man movies planned.
This means that Marvel will need to build up new characters for their movies. Already, we’ve seen some of them make their debut in Age of Ultron. At the risk of divulging movie spoilers, it’s almost certain to me that these new recruits will become the New Avengers post-Infinity War.
The mantle of Captain America, once Chris Evans leaves the role, can be taken up by Bucky aka Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan) or Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie), both of whom have wielded the shield in the comics. The role of Iron Man is easily handed on to James Rhodes aka War Machine (played by Don Cheadle) who spent time as the Armoured Avenger in the comics.
But what does that mean for the likes of the current Avengers, such as Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth? So far there has been no tangible replacement for Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is why the big reveal of Thor #8 is so important.
The new Thor is none other than Jane Foster. The former Thor, now going by the name Odinson, had originally written off the possibility in #6, when it was revealed that the chemotherapy treatments of her breast cancer were weakening her. This was nothing more than a ruse by writer Jason Aaron, who dragged out the mystery for another two issues, at one point almost convincing me that he might go with the potentially unpopular route of revealing Thor’s identity as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Roz Solomon, a character he created slightly over a year ago.
With Thor revealed as Jane Foster, this not only means that fans both new and old have a Thor they recognise, but more importantly, allows for the new Thor to take her place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s right, Natalie Portman, who’s played Jane Foster since the first Thor movie, could very well become the newest Thor after Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War. However, will she turn out to be too expensive for Marvel, considering her A-list status?
Interestingly, the fact that the new Thor is clearly physically different from Jane Foster means that Marvel will have the opportunity to cast another actress as Thor, while Portman continues to play Jane Foster in her human form. Should Portman’s contract negotiations become too difficult, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to subsequently write human Jane Foster out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and just keep Thor around.
For more of Jane Foster as Thor, check out Thor #8 this week, followed by new series Thors #1 in June.