Does The 'Thor: Love and Thunder Post-Credits Scene Provide Hope For A Certain Character's MCU Future?
We may not have seen the last of this hero.
WARNING! SPOILERS for Thor: Love and Thunder.
After a long wait for fans, the eagerly awaited film Thor: Love and Thunder has hit theatres. While the film is performing well at the box office, with the highest grossing opening weekend of all four Thor films, Love and Thunder is receiving mixed reviews from both fans and critics, with one common viewpoint being that the film failed to balance it's humour with more serious, emotionally driven moments as well as the previous entry in the series, Thor: Ragnarok.
Fortunately, one universally praised aspect of Love and Thunder is its performances, particularly that of Natalie Portman, returning to the role of Jane Foster, now a carrier of Mjolnir, and with it, the power of Mighty Thor. Comic fans will recognise Jane Foster's portion of Love and Thunder's plot as a loose adaptation of the 2015-2018 The Mighty Thor comic run. Because Portman's performance as Jane/Mighty Thor was so well received, many were left disappointed by the character's apparent death at the end of the film.
However, some fans see the film's final post-credits scene as proof we may not have seen the last of Jane Foster in the MCU.
Welcomed to Valhalla
Late in Love and Thunder, it is revealed that Jane's use of Mjolnir weakens her, due to her battle with Stage 4 Cancer. Despite knowing that taking up Mjolnir even one more time will likely cost her her life, after sensing Thor is in trouble, she follows him into battle against Gorr the God-Butcher. Unfortunately, damage done to Mjolnir when she uses it to shatter Gorr's Necrosword further hastens the already rapid progression of Jane's illness. Soon after witnessing Gorr's wish to Eternity, Jane passes away in Thor's arms.
In the film's final post-credits scene, it is revealed that Jane's brave sacrifice granted her soul admittance to Valhalla, where she is greeted by Heimdall. Valhalla, as mentioned earlier in the film, is a heavenly realm reserved for Asgardian Gods and Warriors who die in battle. One purpose served by the scene was to show that Asgardian Gods, like Thor, were in fact different to the other Gods targeted by Gorr, as Valhalla keeps the promise of a reward after death. However, some fans believe the scene is a hint that there may be future MCU stories for Jane, based on her post Mighty Thor storylines in Marvel Comics.
Beyond The Mighty Thor
In the final volume of The Mighty Thor comic, Jane sacrifices Mjolnir, which was keeping her Cancer-ravaged body alive, so the mystical storm within it can defeat the God-killing Mangog. Jane's heart stops, and, as in Love and Thunder, her spirit arrives at the gates of Valhalla. However, she finds herself hesitating to enter, and soon after, her body is revived by Odinson (Thor), Odin, and the last of Mjolnir's storm. Vowing not to waste her second chance at life, Jane passses the mantle of Thor back to the Odinson while she focuses on her health.
Jane's Cancer enters remission just in time for her to help in the War of the Realms, taking up the Mjolnir of a fallen Thor from another universe. Though also destroyed in battle, the new Mjolnir remains bonded to Jane in the form of a gauntlet that can shapeshift into various weapons. With the entire Valkyrior, including original Valkyrie Brunhilde, killed during the War of the Realms, Jane is chosen to take up their mantle and legacy as the new Valkyrie.
The Responsibilities of a Valkyrie
In both Marvel Comics and Norse Mythology, it is the job of the Valkyrie to guide the souls of departed Asgardian heroes to Valhalla. Having become the one and only remaining Valkyrie following the deaths of the others during the War of the Realms, this responsibility now falls to Jane Foster. Shortly after becoming a Valkyrie, Jane must escort the soul of Heimdall to Valhalla when he is fatally stabbed by the villain Bullseye. However, as a final gift to her fallen friend, Jane takes Heimdall on a tour of other heavenly realms, the few places he was unable to see with his magic eyes, before finally accompanying him to Valhalla.
Notably, in Marvel comics, going to Valhalla isn't necessarily permanent. Instead, it is a realm for Asgardian heroes to rest and celebrate their lives until they are eventually reincarnated.
So, What does all this mean for Jane Foster's future in the MCU?
Considering Jane's current link to Valhalla in the comics, there are a few possibilities as to what Thor: Love and Thunder's Valhalla post-credits scene could mean for the MCU's Jane Foster. One is that she will eventually be reincarnated. The other is that Jane will become a Valkyrie, albeit one with closer ties to the mythological Valkyries than Tessa Thompson's version, possibly with the ability to travel between Earth and Valhalla.
Of the two scenarios, the second seems more likely. Jane's potential future as a Valkyrie was teased in Love and Thunder, with Tessa Thompson's King Valkyrie referring to Jane as a sister, and suggesting that their friendship reminded her of her many fallen sisters in the Valkyrior, who were all slaughtered by Hela many years prior to the events of the Thor films.
So, despite Jane's 'death', the Valhalla scene leaves her character's future open ended. At this stage, there's no word from Natalie Portman on any future MCU involvement, so we'll just have to wait and see if we get to witness Jane Foster grace the screen again.
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