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The Endgame Actor Who Didn't Even Film Any New Footage

Contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame

Marvel actors dedicate a lot of themselves to the cinematic universe they're a part of. The stars train hard to get ripped to play our favorite superheroes, give it their all on set (even when, in the case of Avengers: Infinity War, they didn't know what scenes they were shooting), and endure the agony of keeping quiet about what happens in each film. Most everyone who has ever been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far gave another piece of themselves to Avengers: Endgame. Some had to hang up their costumes for good, others needed to get back into the headspace of a hero they hadn't played in a while, and someone else stepped into a fat suit and acted perpetually drunk for the majority of the three-hour-long film. 

One Endgame star, however, put hardly any effort into their role in the epic superhero assemblage. 

The film's co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo recently revealed that Natalie Portman didn't film any new footage for Avengers: Endgame. What audiences saw of her was actually unused footage from Thor: The Dark World. The only thing Portman did do for Endgame? A few lines of voiceover. 

"All she did new for this movie was –" Anthony Russo told Entertainment Weekly. Joe Russo finished his sentence: "The voice." Anthony further explained that Portman's voice is heard "when she's talking in the distance, that's it." That moment comes when she's speaking with the Asgardians, thanking them for looking after her. 

In something of a surprise appearance, Portman's character Jane Foster pops up during the sequences on Asgard, when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) travel back to the Nine Realms planet in the year 2013 to retrieve the Reality Stone as part of the Avengers' time heist mission. In Thor: The Dark World, Jane became the host for the Stone when she walked through a portal and came into contact with the Aether, the dark red fluid also known as the Reality Stone. 

For months leading up to the release of Avengers: Endgame, fans speculated that Jane could have an important role to play in how Earth's Mightiest Heroes would endeavor to defeat Thanos. The popular theory that wound up true involved the Avengers zipping through time to collect the Infinity Stones. The last place the Reality Stone was before the Asgardians handed it over to the Collector (Benicio del Toro) during Thor: The Dark World's post-credits scene was on Asgard inside Jane, so if the Avengers hoped to get their hands on it, power up their own Infinity Gauntlet, and reverse Thanos' (Josh Brolin) Decimation, of course they were going to have to extract it from the body of Thor's former flame. 

Another theory suggested that perhaps Jane would return and offer her expertise in astrophysics to help the Avengers and co. navigate the Quantum Realm. (Fans might recall her reference to the Asgardian machine she was being studied with during Thor: The Dark World as a "Quantum Field Generator.") This one didn't pan out, clearly, but the funny thing is that Portman's Jane genuinely was meant to have a more substantial impact in Avengers: Endgame — beyond the fact that the Reality Stone was within her body before it headed to the Collector's home planet of Knowhere. 

Endgame screenwriter Stephen McFeely told The New York Times that the first draft of the film didn't see the action rewind to The Avengers from 2012. Instead, Endgame went back to Asgard to obtain the Reality Stone and the Space Stone. 

"There's a moment in the MCU, if you're paying very close attention, where the Aether is there and the Tesseract is in the vault. In that iteration, we were interested in Tony going to Asgard. He had a stealth suit, so he was invisible, and he fought Heimdall, who could see him," he explained. 

In that early version of the Avengers: Endgame script, Jane and Thor actually spoke to and interacted with one another. Fellow scribe Christopher Markus noted, "Thor had long scenes with Natalie Portman." Those sequences were probably pretty awkward, as Jane would be unknowingly talking to a Thor from the future — a future where the couple is no longer together. 

Plans for Avengers: Endgame obviously ended up changing, and though it makes sense that Jane was part of the story, it's interesting that Portman "returned" to the MCU, even in the incredibly limited capacity that she did. A few years after the release of Thor: The Dark World, Portman announced that she was "done" with the superhero film franchise, though she did leave things open for a possible reprisal down the line. She told The Wall Street Journal back in 2016, "As far as I know, I'm done. I don't know if maybe one day they'll ask for an Avengers 7 or whatever, I have no idea. But as far as I know, I'm done. It was a great thing to be a part of."

It's unlikely that Portman will sign another Marvel contract and shoot something new for the MCU, especially after Thor teamed with the Guardians of the Galaxy at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but hey, at least all the Jane Foster fans out there got to see the whip-smart astrophysicist and astronomer on the silver screen one more time.