Art by Marko Djurdjevic
|First appearance||As Jane Foster:|
Journey into Mystery #84 (September 1962)
What If #10 (October 1978)
Thor #1 (October 2014)
War of the Realms Omega #1 (July 2019)
|Created by||Stan Lee|
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Team affiliations||Secret Avengers (Civil War)|
|Notable aliases||Thor, Valkyrie|
Jane Foster is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, most commonly depicted as a supporting character of the superhero Thor Odinson. Created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber, and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #84 (Sept. 1962). For many years, Foster was a nurse, employed by Dr. Donald Blake, Thor's first mortal host, before becoming a doctor herself. In a 1978 and 2014 storyline, Foster is revealed to be deemed worthy to wield Thor's hammer Mjolnir when the former is no longer able. During this period, she adopts the name Thor, the Goddess of Thunder, and joins the Avengers. This storyline ends with the character sacrificing her life to defeat a dangerous adversary, and the reverting of the mantle Thor to its original bearer. After Brunnhilde and the rest of the Valkyrior are killed in The War of the Realms, during which Foster briefly acts as another Thor, Jane Foster takes up the mantle of Valkyrie.
Jane Foster has also appeared in various media adaptations of Thor. Natalie Portman portrays the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Thor (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013), and Avengers: Endgame (2019) and will continue in the upcoming film Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), in which she will become Thor.
Jane Foster first appeared in Journey into Mystery #84 (Sept. 1962), and was created by plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber and penciler Jack Kirby. Named "Jane Nelson" in her first two appearances, she went on to appear as the love interest of Dr. Donald Blake, the secret identity of the Norse god superhero Thor, in nearly every issue through #136 (Jan. 1967) of the title, by then renamed Thor.
In October 2014, the fourth volume of Thor, writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman in the first issue debuted featured a female character in the role of Thor after the classic hero is no longer able to wield Mjolnir. Aaron stated, "This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is Thor. This is the Thor of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before." In 2015, this Thor joined the Avengers in All-New All-Different Avengers FCBD (May 2015), which takes place in the aftermath of the "Secret Wars" storyline. In Thor vol. 4, #8 (May 2015), the identity of the female was revealed to be Jane Foster. Aaron said, "It grew out of the idea of the previous Thor becoming unworthy, which was something I was always building toward. I liked the idea of dealing with his worthiness and the idea of what it means for a god to be worthy in the Marvel universe. You know, the god of thunder waking up every morning and looking at the hammer and not knowing if he’s gonna be worthy to lift it. Then, of course, one day he should wake up and not be able to lift it. That opened the door for someone else to pick up the hammer and carry it around in his place. Really, the only character that was discussed was Jane." A second volume of The Mighty Thor by Aaron and Dauterman and again starring Jane Foster as Thor debuted as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel initiative after the conclusion of "Secret Wars". The concept of Jane Foster gaining the powers of Thor had previously been explored in What If #10 (August 1978). Foster appeared in the 2015 original graphic novel Avengers: Rage of Ultron as a member of the Avengers.
Fictional character history
Jane Nelson, known by her more common name of Jane Foster, was a nurse for Dr. Donald Blake, eventually developing feelings for him and Thor, not knowing that they were one and the same. The love triangle went on for a while until Thor revealed his secret identity to Foster, which caused Odin to punish him though he was forgiven after saving Asgard, and in return Thor even took her to Asgard with him. There, Foster was briefly granted immortality and the power of gods, until she failed to pass the tests of courage set forth by Odin when she showed fear battling the monstrous Unknown. Odin then strips Foster of her new powers and returns her to Earth, with no memory of Thor or her time in Asgard, where she meets her new love Dr. Keith Kincaid, who resembles Blake. Meanwhile, in Asgard Odin reunites Thor with his childhood love, Sif.
Foster and Thor remain separated for some time until Thor learns Foster had been manipulated into attempting suicide by an entity known as Fear and rushes to her hospital bedside. Sif, seeing Thor still has feelings for Foster, saves Foster's life by merging their life-forces. They soon are separated and Foster is exiled to a pocket dimension. Thor and Sif eventually rescue Foster and return her to Earth, where she marries Dr. Keith Kincaid.
Foster appears again in the second Thor volume; now a doctor herself, she is in a position of authority over several New York paramedics, including Jake Olsen. Unbeknownst to her, Jake and Thor have become merged, which creates many conflicts. In one instance, Olsen ignores medical orders and utilizes Thor's (Blake's) knowledge to perform a complicated procedure on a critically ill man.
Later, Foster becomes involved in a police case against Olsen, who is accused of stealing drugs. She also examines Jack Monroe, who stated that he sought her out due to her familiarity with superhuman patients. She later informed Monroe that he was dying due to the effects of the Super-Soldier Serum he had ingested as a youth.
During the 2006 "Civil War" storyline Foster takes Captain America's side against the registration act and joins his resistance group, the Secret Avengers. She operates from SHIELD safe-house number 23. She is also seen in issue 4, helping to assist a beaten Spider-Man.
Shortly after divorcing her husband and subsequently losing custody of her child, Jimmy Kincaid, Foster hears rumors of the return of Dr. Donald Blake and Thor. Blake soon visits Foster at her work in a New York City hospital in search of Sif, whose spirit Blake mistakenly thought had been reborn in Foster since their spirits had been merged once before. Foster and Blake go on a date after an initially turbulent reunion. Foster discovers that Sif's spirit had actually been reborn in the body of a dying elderly cancer patient that was under her care. She alerts Blake and Thor manages to restore Sif just before the patient dies. Foster then travels to Broxton, Oklahoma, the site of the resurrected Asgard, and opens a medical practice with Donald Blake;.
Cancer and becoming Thor
Following the deaths of her husband and son in a car accident, Foster is diagnosed with breast cancer, and accepts an invitation from Thor to represent Midgard in the Congress of the Worlds on Asgard. She undergoes therapy but refuses all magical treatments.
During the 2014 "Original Sin" storyline, Nick Fury whispers an unrevealed secret to Thor that causes him to lose the ability to wield Mjolnir. Soon afterwards, an unidentified woman picks up the hammer, taking possession of Thor's power as the new Goddess of Thunder, and fights Malekith the Accursed, Dario Agger (the new Minotaur), and the Absorbing Man. Although Thor initially attempts to reclaim the hammer, he – referring to himself as 'Odinson' – relinquishes the name and role of Thor after witnessing her wield its power. Odinson suspects Foster as a possible candidate for his successor, but he soon dismisses her due to her weakened condition from chemotherapy.
Angered that someone else is wielding Mjolnir, Odin and his brother Cul, the God of Fear, send the Destroyer after the new Thor to retrieve the hammer but Odinson and Freyja assemble an army of female superheroes to aid her. When the battle is over, Odinson asks Thor to reveal her face but is interrupted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Roz Solomon, Odinson's last 'viable' suspect as the new Thor after all other possible candidates came to assist in the battle. Unbeknownst to Odinson, Mjolnir has given Jane the strength to fight as Thor while it is in her possession. However, Jane's use of Mjolnir has perpetuated her cancer as a result of the transformation process purging all toxins from her body, including the chemotherapy being used for her treatment, each time she transforms.
During the 2015 "Secret Wars" storyline, Foster was a participant in the final battle between Earth-616 and Earth-1610 during its collision during the incursion event. She is one of the few survivors of the end of the extant Marvel Universe, boarding Reed Richards's "life raft". She and the other survivors are awakened eight years later, having been trapped in suspended animation. In the interim, Doctor Doom created a new universe, Battleworld, from the fragments of dead universes. Knowing the survivors represent the only hope of defeating Doom, Doctor Strange scatters Foster and the others to different parts of Battleworld. For this, Doom kills Strange and begins hunting the survivors. Foster infiltrated the Thor Corps, Doom's police force, and convinced a majority of them to revolt against Doom.
All-New All-Different Marvel
In the 2015-18 All-New All-Different Marvel branding, Foster remains in Asgardia as a representative of Midgard (Earth) in the Congress of Worlds, and as Thor, she remains a fugitive pursued by Cul. Odinson is considered missing. She became involved in the war between Svartalfheim, the realm of the Dark Elves, and Alfheim, the realm of the Light Elves and encountered several incarnations of Loki. After the elf races struck a deal by wedding their respective monarchs, Thor returned to Asgard to confront the power-mad Odin, who had Freyja on trial. Loki and Thor arrived at the point when The All-Mother was about to be placed on a verdict by Odin. The rebellious Asgardian warriors also made their way into the hall fighting Cul Borson's thunderguard. Thor and Odin got into a crunching battle that wandered across Saturn's moons while it was revealed that Loki was a spy for Freyja. Loki then stabs Freyja halting the battles at hand. Meanwhile, in a different location entirely, Odinson is held captive telepathically feeling the death of his mother. Later, after returning to Earth, Jane is taken into custody by two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who suspected of her double life as Thor until she's bailed out by Agent Solomon. She goes to Switzerland where she meets Agent Solomon and accompanies her to the Southern Ocean to find a hidden station that belongs to Roxxon. They find the station underwater where Thor encounters Shingen Harada, the second Silver Samurai, who had invaded the station. After being defeated, Shingen escapes from the station, leaving Thor and Agent Solomon to drown. Thor manages to lift the station to the surface while Solomon interrogated the employees about the location of Dario Agger and his contingency plan known as the Agger Imperative. Upon entering Roxxon Corporation HQ, Thor battles the Mindless Ones and the B.E.R.S.E.R.K.E.R.S., a group of Hulk-like superhumans, while Solomon looked for Dario. During the fight, Thor is approached by S.H.I.E.L.D. who order her to surrender, apparently discovering her civilian identity. Upon holding off the S.H.I.E.L.D. squad, Thor finds Solomon wounded from her fight with Exterminatrix and attacks her and Minotaur with her lightning. When Exterminatrix was about to shoot at Dario with a golden bullet, Thor caught it in mid-air, only for her to get affected by the bullet's gold turning effect. When S.H.I.E.L.D. was about to arrest them, a portal appeared revealing Jane Foster coming to help Thor. While Jane removes the gold bullet from Thor, the Agger Imperative is activated causing the island where the building is to fall from the sky. While S.H.I.E.L.D. evacuates the building, Thor defeats Silver Samurai and Exterminatrix and destroys the island. While the villains are arrested, the two agents who tried to arrest Jane apologize to her and Thor. Thor then reveals to Solomon that the other Jane is an illusion created by Mjolnir and her secret identity as well. After promising to keep the secret safe, Solomon asks Jane about the hammer until Jane disappears when she grabs Mjolnir and gets struck by lightning.
All-New All-Different Avengers
Thor is also once again a member of the Avengers and appears in All-New All-Different Avengers. She appeared by chance in their encounter with Warbringer and subsequently agrees to help form a new official Avengers group. Her identity is unknown to her teammates until she is separated from the hammer when she is transferred a few days into the future by Kang the Conqueror, and Sam Wilson, the new Captain America, witnesses her as she reverts to Jane. He agrees to keep it secret, and offers her moral support during chemotherapy treatments.
While treating mystical tumors in his former patients created by Misery, a manifestation of his own darkness, Doctor Strange calls on Thor for assistance; fully aware of her true identity as Jane Foster, Strange guides Thor in performing the necessary operations to remove the tumors from his patients after they had defeated the manifestation of Misery itself.
Eventually, Jane's cancer reaches a point where she must confess her identity to Odinson and others, who force her to stay in a hospital under observation by Doctor Strange despite the threat of Mangog attacking Asgard, as Strange determines that one more transformation into Thor will kill Jane as the cancer spreads too far. When Mangog proves too powerful, Jane transforms into Thor and confronts him, sacrificing Mjolnir – and thus her life – by binding Mangog and Mjolnir together with Gleipnir, the chain used to trap Fenris the wolf, and hurling both into the Sun. Knowing that she will die once the enchantment that turns her into Thor wears off, Jane kisses Odinson for a final time before expiring. Consumed by grief of Jane's loss, Odinson works to revive her as she hesitates at the gates of Valhalla. Upon Jane gaining his respect, Odin channels the powers of the God Tempest and assists Odinson into resurrecting Jane. In the aftermath of Mangog's defeat, Mjolnir is destroyed, but it is discovered after Foster hands Odinson an uru shard that he is now capable of wielding the metal again. Jane convinces Odinson to reclaim his name and continue in the War Between the Realms as the true Thor while she resolves to focus on her chemotherapy.
Becoming a Valkyrie
When the "War of the Realms" comes to Earth, Jane assists in getting refugees to safety, with her chemotherapy successfully concluded and her hair now growing back. During the invasion she meets Valkyrie and Frigga, confirming that she was the Thor who defeated Mangog. When a new assault requires Odin and Frigga to retreat to Asgard with various Earth heroes, Frigga appoints Jane to act as All-Mother while she and Odin help to prepare the counter-attack to protect Earth. As the war continues, Brunnhilde and the rest of the Valkyrior are massacred by Malekith and his forces. Jane Foster later takes the broken hammer of the Earth-1610 Thor in order to help fight Malekith's forces. Acting as a Thor one last time, she joins Thor Odinson, young Thor, and future King Thor to rescue Odin and Frigga from Malekith. Jane Foster notices that the Earth-1610 Mjolnir is about to shatter from the battle, and she hurls it one last time at Laufey. Jane Foster bids farewell to the Earth-1610 Mjolnir as it returns to her, crumbling; however, its shards combine and merge into a golden bracelet that forms on her arm. Jane learns that this bracelet can now be anything that she needs. As she sees the sorrow in Thor mourning the Valkrior and his faith in Valhalla, Jane knows she needs to become a Valkyrie. Jane becomes the first in a new generation of Valkyries, armed with Undrajarn the All-Weapon, named so by the spirit of Brunnhilde as she and the Valkrior spirits rise from their bodies to find Valhalla. On her first major outing as the Valkyrie, Jane loses Dragonfang in a battle with the Fast Five when the sword is stolen by Bullseye, but after Bullseye fatally wounds Heimdall., Jane accepts the need to move on from the past, sacrificing Dragonfang to defeat the assassin and then agreeing to take Heimdall somewhere other than Valhalla to give him a genuinely new experience.
Powers and abilities
When wielding Mjolnir, Foster gains all the powers of Thor, including superhuman strength, speed, stamina and durability, flight, and control over lightning.
Foster, however, demonstrates a form of control over Mjolnir that her predecessors lacked, such as changing its trajectory and velocity in mid-throw, and spinning it around her enemies to trap them, abilities neither the original Thor nor any of those aside from Jane had ever displayed.
As Valkyrie, Jane Foster wields Undrajarn the All-Weapon, a weapon that can change its shape and be whatever she needs. These include a sword, an extendable mace, or even wings.
In Marvel 1985 #6 (2008), Jane Foster is the attending nurse present when Jerry Goodman wakes from his coma. He asks her on a date, and she accepts. Jerry has had a crush on Jane since reading Thor comics as a child.
Secret Wars: Thors
In the Secret Wars: Thors miniseries, after various alternate Earths are merged into Battleworld, the various alternate Thors are recruited to police the resulting zones. During their activities, they find themselves investigating the strange deaths of at least six women from different zones, all killed in such a manner as to make identification impossible. With his last act, after being murdered by an unknown assailant, Beta Ray Bill identifies the victims as Jane Foster. The Thors' subsequent investigation- including analysing samples taken from a Jane who died of cancer a few months before the other murders- confirm that the victims are all Janes, but they are unable to track down any living version of her, apart from learning that 'Thor the Unworthy' - the Earth-616 Thor who lost possession of Mjolnir - is interfering in attempts to find her. After interrogating Loki as a witness, the Ultimate Thor learns that the Janes are being murdered by Rune Thor and Destroyer Thor because they looked the Janes in the eyes and saw how far they had fallen from what they could be. The Thors are subsequently rallied to oppose Doom by the Jane Foster of Earth-616 - currently Thor and one of the few survivors of the Incursions - while Rune Thor is rendered unworthy as Jane forces him to acknowledge the truth about his actions.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger
In this all-ages "non-continuity" comic published in 2010 and 2011, Jane Foster is the newly promoted head of the department of Nordic Antiquities at the Bergen War Memorial Museum in Bergen, Oklahoma. She first encounters Thor when he attempts to smash one of the museum's exhibit cases (which is later revealed to contain an urn inside which Thor's hammer is concealed). Over the course of the title's eight issues Jane and Thor (who has been exiled from Asgard by Odin and is staying at Jane's apartment) become romantically involved and have a variety of adventures together.[volume & issue needed]
Jane briefly appears in the Ultimate Marvel imprint during the first series of Ultimates, where she was a member of an anarchist cult who believed Thorlief Golmen was the genuine god of thunder. She was also described as a nurse from San Francisco. In later events, it seems she and Thor live in a flat together.
In What If? #10 (Aug. 1978) titled "What If Jane Foster Had Found the Hammer of Thor", Jane assumes Donald Blake's place in finding Mjolnir and is imbued with Thor's powers. Calling herself Thordis, she used her powers to rescue Donald Blake from danger. Upon saving Asgard from Ragnarok, Odin forces her to relinquish the hammer to Donald Blake so he can become the new Thor. This resulted in Jane losing her powers, but she was allowed to remain on Asgard and keep her goddess status since she later falls in love with and marries Odin.
In What If? #25 (Feb. 1980), titled "What If Thor Fought Odin over Jane Foster" (also known as "What If Thor Fought the Asgardian Gods"), Thor is banished from Asgard along with Jane when Thor refused to accept Odin's judgment following Jane's failure to ascend to godhood. Thor subsequently leads the Avengers against the forces of Asgard, leaving Iron Man and Loki (who once again attempted to seize rulership of Asgard during the conflict) dead and forcing Thor himself into self-imposed banishment for almost destroying Asgard in his selfishness.
In King Thor's future timeline, Thor with the help of his three granddaughters recreated the Human race with the two first human beings named Steve and Jane. Unlike the ancient humans, they possessed longevity. However, when the time had come for Jane, King Thor offered Jane eternal life, but she refused, because she wanted to be reunited with her love, Steve, in the afterlife.
In other media
- Jane Foster is a supporting character in "The Mighty Thor" segment of The Marvel Super Heroes voiced by Peg Dixon.
- Jane Foster appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Kari Wahlgren. This version is not a nurse, but a paramedic. She made her series debut appearing in "Thor The Mighty". She appears to have a heroic personality as Thor noted, and this is why Thor felt so amazed by her.
- Jane Foster is seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D via archival footage of Natalie Portman from Thor: The Dark World (in the episode "The Well").
- Jane Foster and her Thor form appear in Avengers: Secret Wars, voiced by Erica Lindbeck. She first appears as a cross-dimensional research intern which gets disrupted by the Leader's resulting plans. After the Avengers are scattered across time and space by the Cabal, Foster helps to the New Avengers on that she will work to find out where each member was sent. When both groups fight the Beyonder, her Thor form is what destroys Battleworld. After Loki's demise, she is given an enchanted mace and the Thunderstrike name.
- Natalie Portman is set to reprise her role as Jane Foster in the Disney+ animated series, What If...?
- Natalie Portman portrays Jane in the live-action film Thor directed by Kenneth Branagh. Marvel Studios stated in an announcement that the character would be updated from the comics' initial portrayal for the feature adaptation. This version of the character is an astrophysicist. In the film, in the remote desert town of Puente Antiguo in New Mexico, she has assembled a small team of herself, an intern named Darcy and another physicist and friend of her father's named Erik Selvig.
- Foster does not appear in The Avengers due to Portman being on maternity leave, but a picture of her is shown as Phil Coulson tells Thor that she is in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody to protect her from Loki.
- Natalie Portman returns in Thor: The Dark World, directed by Alan Taylor. Chris Hemsworth's wife Elsa Pataky stood in for Portman during the film's post-credits scene due to a scheduling conflict.
- Jane does not appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but is mentioned along with Pepper Potts when Thor and Tony Stark explain their absences from a victory party to Maria Hill, with Thor saying he wasn't even sure what country Jane was in, being the world's foremost astronomer due to her work in the Convergence.
- It was announced that Portman would not reprise her role in Thor: Ragnarok. It is mentioned in the film that Thor was dumped by Jane after he decided to leave Earth to track down the Infinity Stones; Thor claims it was a mutual breakup, however. In a sequence where Asgardian actors perform a play based on the events of The Dark World, the actress portraying Foster is played by Gabby Carbon.
- Portman reprises her role as Foster in Avengers: Endgame. Unused footage from Thor: The Dark World was used for her scene and Portman recorded new dialogue for when Foster appears talking in the distance. She appears during a scene which takes place in Asgard during the events of Thor: The Dark World. The original script for the film also revealed that in the present, she was among the victims of Thanos’ finger snap and later restored by Hulk, although this revelation was cut from the final film.
- Portman will reprise her role for the upcoming film Thor: Love and Thunder, taking up the mantle of Mighty Thor.
- Jane Foster and her Thor persona appears in Lego Marvel's Avengers, voiced by Elizabeth Maxwell. Foster is first playable in a bonus story chapter based on her role in Thor: The Dark World, where she and Erik Selvig help Thor defeat Malekith. Her Thor persona is unlocked in the hub of Asgard.
- Jane Foster's Thor form in Marvel Contest of Champions.
- Jane Foster's Thor form appears in Marvel Future Fight.
- The Jane Foster incarnation of Thor was available as an enhanced costume (for Thor) in Marvel Heroes, voiced by Jennifer Hale.
- Jane Foster's Thor form in Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- The Jane Foster version of Thor is a playable character in the match-three mobile game Marvel Puzzle Quest. She was introduced in October 2014 to mark the first anniversary of the game's release. Her character description simply reads "Whoever holds this hammer, if SHE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor."
- The Jane Foster version of Thor is featured in Marvel Avengers Academy, voiced by Marissa Lenti.
- The Jane Foster version of Thor appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. In story mode, her Thor form was present with Heimdall in the ruins of Asgard when they speak with Odin. When Thor, Captain America, and Captain Marvel arrive, her Thor form was present when Thor reveals that Odin is actually Loki in disguise. She later helps out in the fight against Surtur.
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