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The Truth About Thor's Jane Foster

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00:00   |   Jul 25, 2019

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The Truth About Thor's Jane Foster
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  • From seeming so unimportant that she was written out of the comics to proving herself worthy
  • to carry the title of the Mighty Thor - and plenty of comics-worthy twists and turns over
  • the decades in between - here's the truth behind Jane Foster.
  • Jane Foster was introduced in Journey Into Mystery #84, only a month after Thor himself
  • made his first appearance in Marvel Comics.
  • While issue #83 had been devoted to introducing the world to Dr. Donald Blake and his thundering
  • alter ego, the following issue took a little time to fill out Thor's supporting cast, and
  • it's not tough to figure out where creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby drew their inspiration.
  • If Thor was Marvel's take on Superman, then Jane Foster was Lee and Kirby's riff on Lois
  • Lane.
  • Like her DC counterpart, she was the coworker that the hero was pining for, who was far
  • more interested in the superhero than the secret identity.
  • The only big difference was that Jane was a nurse working with Blake rather than a reporter,
  • and at least in her first few appearances, Jane was a redhead rather than a brunette.
  • But over the next few years, Jane would distinguish herself from Lois by learning Thor's secret
  • identity and being brought into the mythologically inspired world of Asgard.
  • For a while, at least.
  • "You're…"
  • "I'm Loki.
  • You may have…"
  • "That was for New York."
  • "I like her!"
  • Thor and Jane hoped to marry, but if you've read enough comics from the era, you know
  • something had to get in the way.
  • The major obstacle for this set of lovebirds came in the form of Thor's father, Odin, who
  • forbade the marriage on the grounds that Thor was an immortal Asgardian thunder god, and
  • Jane was human.
  • There's a pretty simple solution that problem, though: make Jane a goddess.
  • That's what happens in 1967's Thor #136, where Thor takes Jane home to Asgard to meet the
  • family.
  • Odin, in a seemingly benevolent move, makes Jane a goddess, granting her an Asgardian
  • costume and the power of flight.
  • Unfortunately for Jane, this gift comes with a few strings attached.
  • She has to prove she has "the courage of an immortal" to stay in Asgard, and Odin decides
  • that the best way to test Jane's bravery is to lock her in a dark room with the Unknown,
  • a Lovecraftian horror that can only be summoned by a gigantic magic tuning fork.
  • Jane freaks out upon being confronted with the Unknown, and declares her desire to get
  • the heck out of there.
  • With that, Odin declares her unfit, strips her of her powers, and boots her back to Earth
  • without any of her memories of Thor.
  • She's given a job with hunky doctor Keith Kincaid, with whom she immediately falls in
  • love.
  • Jane made an unexpected return to the pages of Thor in issue #231 from 1975.
  • Jane, mortal as ever, is on her quite literal deathbed, and can only be saved by divine
  • intervention.
  • In this case, the role of the divine is played by Sif, the goddess who had been romantically
  • linked to Thor since somewhere around the 11th century, and returned to Thor's life
  • while Jane was off romancing Dr. Kincaid.
  • Sif discovers that Thor still has feelings for Jane, and when she learns about Jane's
  • ailment, she pulls off some eldritch magic in issue #236, merging her own godly essence
  • with Jane's mortal form, seemingly sacrificing herself in the process.
  • Jane, now recovered and with a taste for adventure that Thor attributed to Sif's spirit inhabiting
  • her body, goes back to hanging out with the God of Thunder on Asgard, and even gains the
  • ability to transform into Sif, just as Don Blake transformed into Thor.
  • None of these changes lasted all that long, though.
  • Eventually, Dr. Kincaid started wondering where his fiancee had gone, and Sif returned
  • to the book as her usual godly self.
  • Marvel's Thor wasn't some modern hero inspired by the legendary Thunder God.
  • This was literally the Norse god Thor, who lived in Asgard, had been worshipped by the
  • Vikings, fought Frost Giants, commanded lightning, and had a shape-shifting, troublemaking half-brother
  • named Loki.
  • "There's Alfheim.
  • Vanaheim.
  • Jotunheim.
  • And Asgard.
  • And that's where I come from."
  • He just happened to be bound to the very human Don Blake, who had more earthly concerns and
  • taught Thor some lessons about being mortal.
  • As time went on, the stories gravitated to more epic, fantastical adventures in the realm
  • of gods and giants.
  • Unlike, say, Peter Parker, whose real-life concerns balanced out the superheroism of
  • Spider-Man, Don Blake felt more and more like an unnecessary element of Thor comics.
  • Blake was not, in fact, a real person, but an identity that Odin created to teach his
  • son humility, so when Walt Simonson arrived to write and draw a five-year run that would
  • become the definitive take on Thor in 1983, one of the first things he did was ditch Blake
  • entirely, reasoning that he'd outlived his purpose.
  • The stories refocused on those fantastical, mythological elements, and Thor even got a
  • new "secret" identity in the form of Sigurd Jarlson, a construction worker who was literally
  • just Thor wearing glasses.
  • Don't worry about Blake's friends at his medical practice, though: in Thor #354, Fandral the
  • Dashing dropped by to give his nurses and staff a bag of Asgardian gold as their severance
  • pay.
  • With that, Thor's romantic life was recentered around Sif.
  • While Jane did appear late in the Simonson run, it was only briefly, and revealed that
  • she and Keith Kincaid were happily married and expecting a child.
  • After a year-long trip to an alternate universe and back, Marvel's Fantastic Four and Avengers
  • books took a "back-to-basics" approach to their characters in the late 1990s, and the
  • relaunched Thor was no exception, bringing back the idea of giving the God of Thunder
  • a mortal civilian identity.
  • In this case, Thor took over the body of paramedic Jake Olson, who just happened to wind up working
  • in the same hospital as Dr. Jane Foster.
  • Thor was initially reluctant to reveal his true identity to Jane, given her life with
  • Keith Kincaid and their son Jimmy, but she eventually figured it out herself when "Jake"
  • slipped into the faux-Shakespearean dialect that Marvel's Asgardians tend to use.
  • With that, she re-entered Thor's life and his stories, and floated around the Marvel
  • Universe for the next few years, working briefly for Tony Stark as his personal doctor and
  • showing up in the aftermath of Civil War as the resident physician for the underground
  • Avengers.
  • Things weren't exactly great, though.
  • Jane would lose her husband and son to a car accident, which happened off-panel, and she
  • was herself diagnosed with cancer.
  • The good news is that all of this would pave the way for her greatest role in the Marvel
  • Universe yet.
  • While they would eventually draw inspiration from more contemporary comics such as Planet
  • Hulk and Civil War, the earliest entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe drew pretty
  • heavily from the first few years of Marvel Comics.
  • Iron Man, for instance, brought in Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan, who hadn't really been
  • featured in the comics for some time, and Avengers brought the team together to face
  • down a threat from Loki, just like the originals did in 1963.
  • 2011's Thor was no exception in that regard, and in addition to the fantastic realms of
  • Asgard and Jotunheim, land of the Frost Giants, it included Jane Foster as Thor's human love
  • interest.
  • Jane was played by Natalie Portman, and instead of having a medical job, she was an astrophysicist
  • studying cosmic phenomena.
  • You know, like rainbow bridges and stuff.
  • Science.
  • "Your ancestors called it magic, and you call it science.
  • But I come from a place where they are one in the same thing."
  • Portman's version of Jane is a key element in blending the fantastical and sci-fi elements
  • that made Thor such a distinct character in the Marvel Universe.
  • In the following film, The Dark World, she took a trip to Asgard herself.
  • Sadly, by the time we caught up with Thor again in Ragnarok, she had dumped him, probably
  • due to Thor's insistence on spending two years flying around in space and decapitating fire
  • giants instead of spending any time on their relationship.
  • "Sorry to hear that Jane dumped you."
  • "She didn't dump me, you know.
  • I dumped her.
  • It was a mutual dumping."
  • After the 2014 Marvel event Original Sin, the Son of Odin believing he was unworthy,
  • and therefore unable to wield Mjolnir, the Marvel Universe was Thorless, but only for
  • a bit.
  • The Odinson himself was, of course, still a god, and continued to fight against evil
  • wielding a magic axe named Jarnbjorn, but without his hammer, he wasn't great at it.
  • His first outing ended with him getting his arm cut off with his own axe.
  • Fortunately, someone else was around to lift Mjolnir and become the all-new, all-different
  • Thor.
  • And since the new Thor also happened to be a woman, it was actually pretty easy to tell
  • them apart.
  • Initially, the new Thor's identity was kept secret from both the readers and the Odinson.
  • His first theory was that it was his mother Frigga, but that turned out to be wrong.
  • Eventually, he discovered that this new Thor was Jane Foster, who had lifted the hammer
  • with the motivation that there should always be a Thor around to protect people.
  • Her transformation also kept her alive while her mortal form was, by all appearances, dying
  • from cancer.
  • Jane served admirably in the role of Thor, but eventually she ran into a pretty big problem:
  • Mangog, an unstoppable, monstrous creature formed from the quote, "collected rage, the
  • unbridled hatred" of a race of billions slaughtered by Odin in ages past.
  • With no other way to defeat him, Jane chained Mangog to Mjolnir and threw it into the heart
  • of the sun, destroying both Mangog and the hammer itself, robbing her of her ability
  • to transform.
  • With that, her mortal body died, but she was soon revived by Odin and his son, now Thor
  • once again, who channeled the god-storm that had powered Mjolnir to resurrect her.
  • She then focused on her treatment, and her cancer went into remission.
  • Jane recently appeared in War of the Realms, a massive Marvel crossover in which all of
  • Asgard's enemies united under the direction of the dark elf Malekith the lay siege to
  • Earth, dividing it up among themselves.
  • At the end, she briefly returned to the role of Thor, wielding a Mjolnir from another dimension
  • and fighting alongside three other versions of Thor from different times.
  • It ended with Jane's hammer shattering, and revealing itself to be Undrjarn the All-Weapon,
  • a mystical metal capable of shaping itself into whatever weapon she needed.
  • Another major consequence of War of the Realms was the death of the Valkyries, including
  • Brunhilde, who has been known as superhero Valkyrie since she debuted in 1973, inspiring
  • the MCU character of the same name.
  • When Jane visited Brunhilde in the morgue to pay her final respects, Brunhilde's spirit
  • charged Jane with taking up the mantle of her responsibility.
  • Jane agreed and took on her latest identity as Valkyrie and continued her ascendance as
  • one of Marvel's most prominent heroines.
  • In July 2019, Marvel Studios laid out its plans for Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic
  • Universe at San Diego Comic-Con 2019.
  • There were plenty of welcome announcements in there, from a Black Widow solo film to
  • the arrival of a Multiverse of Madness in the sequel to Doctor Strange, but one of the
  • most interesting announcements came when the next Thor movie was discussed.
  • Thor: Love and Thunder was announced for release in November 2021, with Taika Waititi returning
  • to direct after the success of Thor: Ragnarok.
  • Chris Hemsworth will be back as Thor, and Tessa Thompson will return as Valkyrie, but
  • there's going to be another, more surprising return.
  • After being absent for Ragnarok and seen only in recycled footage from The Dark World when
  • she appeared briefly in Avengers: Endgame, Natalie Portman is returning to the MCU as
  • Jane Foster, and that's not the only news.
  • "It introduces, for the first time, female Thor."
  • Jane will be hefting Mjolnir herself and presumably fighting alongside the Odinson and his new
  • axe, Stormbreaker.
  • That will make Jane only the fourth person in the MCU to lift the hammer, and considering
  • that the other three are Thor, Odin, and Captain America, that's very good company to be in.
  • Check out one of our newest videos right here!
  • Plus, even more Looper videos about the Marvel Comics are coming soon.
  • Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don't miss a single one.

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Description

From seeming so unimportant that she was written out of the comics to proving herself worthy to carry the title of the Mighty Thor - and plenty of comics-worthy twists and turns over the decades in between - here's the truth behind Jane Foster.

Jane Foster was introduced in Journey Into Mystery #84, only a month after Thor himself made his first appearance in Marvel Comics. While issue #83 had been devoted to introducing the world to Dr. Donald Blake and his thundering alter ego, the following issue took a little time to fill out Thor's supporting cast, and it's not tough to figure out where creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby drew their inspiration.

If Thor was Marvel's take on Superman, then Jane Foster was Lee and Kirby's riff on Lois Lane. Like her DC counterpart, she was the coworker that the hero was pining for, who was far more interested in the superhero than the secret identity. The only big difference was that Jane was a nurse working with Blake rather than a reporter, and at least in her first few appearances, Jane was a redhead rather than a brunette.

But over the next few years, Jane would distinguish herself from Lois by learning Thor's secret identity and being brought into the mythologically inspired world of Asgard. For a while, at least.

Thor and Jane hoped to marry, but if you've read enough comics from the era, you know something had to get in the way. The major obstacle for this set of lovebirds came in the form of Thor's father, Odin, who forbade the marriage on the grounds that Thor was an immortal Asgardian thunder god, and Jane was human. There's a pretty simple solution that problem, though: make Jane a goddess.

That's what happens in 1967's Thor #136, where Thor takes Jane home to Asgard to meet the family. Odin, in a seemingly benevolent move, makes Jane a goddess, granting her an Asgardian costume and the power of flight. Unfortunately for Jane, this gift comes with a few strings attached. She has to prove she has "the courage of an immortal" to stay in Asgard, and Odin decides that the best way to test Jane's bravery is to lock her in a dark room with the Unknown, a Lovecraftian horror that can only be summoned by a gigantic magic tuning fork.

Jane freaks out upon being confronted with the Unknown, and declares her desire to get the heck out of there. With that, Odin declares her unfit, strips her of her powers, and boots her back to Earth without any of her memories of Thor. She's given a job with hunky doctor Keith Kincaid, with whom she immediately falls in love.

Jane made an unexpected return to the pages of Thor in issue #231 from 1975. Jane, mortal as ever, is on her quite literal deathbed, and can only be saved by divine intervention.

In this case, the role of the divine is played by Sif, the goddess who had been romantically linked to Thor since somewhere around the 11th century, and returned to Thor's life while Jane was off romancing Dr. Kincaid. Sif discovers that Thor still has feelings for Jane, and when she learns about Jane's ailment, she pulls off some eldritch magic in issue #236, merging her own godly essence with Jane's mortal form, seemingly sacrificing herself in the process. Jane, now recovered and with a taste for adventure that Thor attributed to Sif's spirit inhabiting her body, goes back to hanging out with the God of Thunder on Asgard, and even gains the ability to transform into Sif, just as Don Blake transformed into Thor. Keep watching the video to learn the truth about Thor's Jane Foster!

Another Lois Lane? | #
Into the Unknown | #
What Sif…? | #
The doctor is out | #
Jane, Jake, and Jimmy | #
See Jane act | #
The Mighty Thor | #
A new Valkyrie? | #
Love and Thunder | #