Natalie Portman is set to play a female version of Thor in the fourth instalment of Marvel films about the god of thunder.
The announcement came as Walt Disney’s Marvel Studios revealed a slate of upcoming superhero films, including The Eternals starring Angelina Jolie, Blade featuring Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, and a solo film for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow.
Fan favourite Taika Waititi is back on board to direct Thor: Love And Thunder, which is set for release in November 2021.
Portman will be reprising her role as Jane Foster, the hero’s love interest in the first two Thor films – but will now take up the hammer as a female goddess of thunder.
Chris Hemsworth, who plays the original Thor, and Tessa Thompson, who plays fellow Asgardian Valkyrie, will also be returning.
Waititi says he was inspired by the comic source material The Mighty Thor, which introduces a female Thor.
The film is part of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began with Iron Man in 2008, and follows the release of mega-blockbuster Avengers: Endgame.
Endgame is expected to surpass Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time within a few days.
Marvel’s next phase of films is already packing some star power, with Angelina Jolie, Bodyguard star Richard Madden and Salma Hayek all on board to feature in The Eternals.
Jolie told fans at San Diego Comic-Con she is already in training and is going to work 10 times harder than she has on any action film before.
Mahershala Ali, who has won Academy Awards for his roles in Green Book and Moonlight, also appeared at the event to announce his casting as half-human, half-vampire Blade.
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow will also get her own standalone film, starring Stranger Things star David Harbour, Rachel Weisz and Florence Pugh.
Other films which have been announced include Wandavision, featuring Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness, and Shang-Chi and the Legend Of The Ten Rings.