Natalie Portman will play the female Thor in the upcoming sequel to 2017's highly-rated Thor: Ragnarok.

The actress will reprise her role as Dr Jane Foster, who debuted in the 2011 original and also appeared in 2013's The Dark World.

The casting news was announced during Marvel Studios' Comic-Con panel.

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World

Director Taika Waititi explained that the movie, titled Thor: Love and Thunder, will be based on a 2014 comic book storyline where Thor loses his abilities and Jane Foster wields his powers and magical hammer Mjolnir.

Waititi handed over Thor's hammer in a symbolic gesture while Portman took to the stage at the comic book convention.

Taika Waititi hands over Thor's magical hammer to Natalie Portman

While accepting the prop, Portman said: "Feels pretty good. I've always had a little hammer in me."

Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor, and Tessa Thompson, who stars as Valkyrie, will also return for the fourth film which is set to be released in November 2021.

Further details for the latest instalment of the franchise have not yet been released, but Waititi said her character's name would be Mighty Thor.

Portman posted on Instagram that she was "thrilled" to return to the series and to work with "legends" Waititi, Hemsworth and Thompson.

"Remember this as the before picture for when I get jacked," she added jokingly.

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