Marvel Studios issued a press release today announcing that:

…Academy Award nominated actress Natalie Portman has been cast to star as Jane Foster in the studio’s highly anticipated movie ‘Thor’. In the early ‘Thor’ comics, Jane Foster was a nurse who became Thor’s first love. The character will be updated for the feature adaptation. Portman will star opposite Chris Hemsworth who will play Thor and Tom Hiddleston who will play the villain Loki. Kenneth Branagh will direct the film.

Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige will produce ‘Thor’. Principal photography for the film is set for early 2010. The film will be released in the US on May 20, 2011 and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Marvel Studios expands its film universe with a new type of superhero: ‘Thor’. This epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe; from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Portman will next be seen starring in Jim Sheridan’s ‘Brothers’ opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire. She may be most well known for her role as Queen Padme Amidala in the ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy. Other film credits include ‘V for Vendetta’ and ‘The Professional’.

‘Thor’ is one of a continuing slate of films being produced by Marvel Studios based on the Marvel characters, including ‘Iron Man 2’ on May 7, 2010, ‘The First Avenger: Captain America’ on July 22, 2011, and ‘The Avengers’ on May 4, 2012.

While this comes as no surprised as it was buzzed about for weeks that Portman would appear in “Thor” we now have official confirmation. It is also interesting to point out that Portman will now become one of few to have stared in both a Marvel and a DC Comics movie, having previously starred in Jamese McTeigue’s “V for Vedetta.”