Like many other actors, Natalie Portman has played major roles in two major franchises: Star Wars Y the UCM, owned by Disney. She starred in the prequel trilogy as Padmé Amidala Naberrie, a political figure and the woman who would eventually become the mother of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Portman also played Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest and a leading astrophysicist at the thor Films.
Both characters play important roles in their respective franchises, but are often ignored and regarded as “[male character’s] love interest.” Now that the narrative journeys of both characters have come to a relatively final end (since nothing, including death, is 100% certain in either franchise), let’s take a look at the two characters and how they, and the way their narratives handled them, they add up.
Star Wars’ Padmé Amidala Started Out As A Strong Character
What Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace opens, the Trade Federation has blockaded the planet Naboo, paving the way for an invasion. Portman is first introduced as Queen Amidala, the planet’s young elected monarch who finds herself embroiled in a conflict that goes far beyond her planet. It soon becomes apparent that her handmaid, Sabé (Keira Knightley), is posing as the queen, and she, Padmé, is posing as one of her own handmaidens. In that costume, she meets the young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). As the story progresses, Padmé (and her maidens) help defend Naboo from attack and proves to be a force to be reckoned with. She is capable of holding her own even on a strange desert planet or firing a blaster, but her true strength remains politics.
By Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the ClonesPadmé has become a Senator, serving Naboo in the Galactic Senate (where she made a strong stand in episode I, asking for help from other planets). The Trade Federation continues to torment her, regularly harassing her for what she did to her leader and her organization in the previous film. Nonetheless, she stands her ground and tries to make a difference in the galaxy. An assassination attempt prompts Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and an adult Anakin (now played by Hayden Christensen) to protect her, and when the trio find out who ordered the hit (it turned out to be another Trade Federation attack) and gets involved in other conflicts, Padmé and Anakin fall in love. At the end of the movie, the couple gets married.
In his first scene in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Padmé reveals to Anakin that she is pregnant. Soon after, she has a prophetic dream about her dying in childbirth and vows to do everything she can to prevent that from happening. While Padmé is shown working in the Senate in the film, most of her screen time is spent worrying or being worried by Anakin. She finally goes to confront him after Order 66 takes place, but he strangles her unconscious. She gives birth shortly after, but later dies. Her death is attributed to sadness and an unwillingness to live over Anakin’s betrayal and turning to the Dark Side. This is strange, given that Padmé has always been a headstrong and determined character.
Thor’s Jane Foster Was Underrated And Underused
Jane Foster is featured in the first thor film as a brave and curious astrophysicist studying in a remote New Mexico town. He literally meets Thor when he first arrives on Earth and, against the initial warning of his mentor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), welcomes him into his life. He helps her confirm some of her theories about the universe and defends her against SHIELD’s attempt to steal her research, and the two develop a connection. At the end of the movie, Thor returns to Asgard and leaves Jane on Earth, sighing but still pursuing her goals.
In Thor: The Dark World, it is shown that Jane is now recognized in the world of science. When Thor returns, she isn’t afraid to get mad at him for not communicating with him during the events of the Avengers, but they fall back into a mutually adoring relationship. The Aether takes over her and consequently she spends part of this movie as a walking plot device, but she and her team manage to help Thor fight the villain Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). At the end of the movie, she and Thor start looking for a real relationship.
By Thor: Ragnarok, Thor and Jane have been separated off-screen, with only Thor’s side of the story being told. In this case, he tries to say that he was mutual, but it clearly affects him. Before Thor: Love and Thunder was announced, it looked like this would be the end of Jane’s character.
Jane from Thor steps out in a blaze of glory
When Jane is first seen in love and thunder, is receiving chemotherapy for stage four breast cancer. She travels to Asgard, thinking that she might find a more mystical cure, but instead she is imbued with Thor’s powers thanks to the shards of Mjolnir. Jane becomes the Mighty Thor, gaining strength and fighting prowess, but unlike Thor, she transforms back to her “normal” self and dies periodically. She jumps wholeheartedly into the hero role, fighting alongside Thor and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) despite the damage she does to her body.
Jane and Thor confess their love for each other and decide to try again. He tries to talk her out of helping in the final battle, but she can’t stay behind when he and the children of Asgard need her help. Jane joins Thor in fighting Gorr (Christian Bale), even though he knows he will probably kill her. However, she prefers to come out of it on her own terms, and she and Thor share one last touching moment together. She is lauded as a hero, and Thor continues to live her life in her honor.
Padmé and Jane are compelling characters, even if the narrative, or the fandom, didn’t treat them fairly all the time. Padmé was given less and less to do, though there have been efforts, notably EK Johnson’s trilogy of novels centered on Padmé, to flesh out her story since her death on the screen. Jane was ridiculed as worthless and her romance with Thor was criticized, all because she was not an action girl and, for a while, she seemed like she would be dismissed and forgotten. However, her brief role as Mighty Thor finally gave her the credit and acclaim that she deserved from her.