SALT LAKE CITY — Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently explained to CNN why Marvel chose to bring Natalie Portman back for the upcoming “Thor: Love and Thunder" film.

Last week, Feige announced an entire slate of new Marvel movies and series set to debut across theaters and Disney+ over the next three years. The list includes “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” and the Marvel universe’s first horror film, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.”

Another big film in the works includes “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which will mark the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, who appeared in the first two “Thor” films and, briefly, in “Avengers: Endgame.” And she will reportedly play the role of female Thor, a story from the Marvel comics.

Feige told CNN he loved the comic book storyline, and it only made sense to bring it to the screen.

  • “We love the story — it’s one of the best comic runs recently,” said Feige. “(Director Taika Waititi) would flip through and read that run while he was doing ‘Ragnarok.’ And I think when he agreed to come back and do another Thor, he was like, ‘How do we—?’ This is a very big movie that’ll be folding in a lot of elements. That is a huge important part of it. He pitched it to us, and we were totally in. We loved it. We’d been in touch with Natalie. She’s part of the MCU family and we put she and Taika together. It took one meeting and she agreed to do it.”

Feige told CNN that there’s always a long game when it comes to planning out the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which shows that the studio has no plans of slowing down.

  • “There always is (a bigger vision), and it sort of only comes into view for others as it all solidifies,” the executive told CNN, noting the studio reserves the right to tweak its game plan as creators brainstorm and specific efforts resonate strongly with audiences. “So ask me again at the end of 2021. But I will say, post ‘Endgame,’ we were always about the new. We were always about doing what we always tried to do in Phase One, Two and Three, which is do a film of character you already know, (like) Black Widow, in a way that you don’t expect.”

Similar: Earlier this week, Feige told IGN that the fourth phase of Marvel will be about new beginnings and creating a new path for characters, according to the Deseret News.

  • “Phase 4 is about beginnings, and Phase 4 is about learning new things about characters you already think you know, like Black Widow,” Feige said. “Meeting incredible new characters like The Eternals and Shang-Chi; going on new adventures with Doctor Strange and Thor, and these Disney Plus shows which I promise will be spectacular and what no one is expecting.”