Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has revealed Thor: Ragnarok‘s Hela was almost the villain in Thor: The Dark World. Marvel has strung together years of successful films, but there are some flaws in their track record. Just in terms of how they structure their movies, the villains have routinely been a weak link in the eyes of many. Some movies have still been able to rise above this criticism, but Thor: The Dark World struggled mightily with Malekith the Accursed playing opposite Chris Hemsworth’s Thor.
The Thor franchise is looking to bounce back and have a formidable opponent for the God of Thunder by introducing Cate Blanchett as Hela in Ragnarok. The early reviews have pointed to Blanchett having a good time in the role and fitting in nicely with the franchise’s new tone and direction, but it turns out she was originally considered to be introduced in the franchise’s previous installment.
/Film spoke to Kevin Feige as part of the press junkets for Thor: Ragnarok and asked him how the movie evolved during development. Feige revealed that Hela was always part of the plan for the third Thor film, largely because she was not used in The Dark World as they at one time planned.
Blue sky ideas always started on this film with Hela. We wanted to make Hela the villain. Hela was almost the villain in Thor 2. It didn’t happen for various reasons. And thank God it didn’t because now we have Cate Blanchett and Taika doing it.
Thor 2 had a somewhat troubled development as Alan Taylor was brought in to direct after Patty Jenkins left the project. Jenkins has since revealed what her take for Thor 2 would’ve been, and it is possible Hela was part of the direction she would’ve gone. We’ll likely never know why the change was made or if this is one of the reasons behind Hela being left out of The Dark World, but Iron Man 3 may actually be able to shed further light on another reason. Feige used to have to report to Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter, and it has been reported that he wanted primarily male characters in the movies to boost toy sales. Iron Man 3 director Shane Black confirmed toy sales eliminated the idea of his film having a female villain, and Rebecca Hall has indicated that role may have been hers, only to see it reduced heavily after she was onboard.
Considering the mixed, but still “good” reception to The Dark World, many won’t be able to stop themselves from wondering what could’ve been if Hela was the main villain (and especially if Patty Jenkins stayed). Thankfully, Marvel Studios didn’t decide to just not use her at all, and Feige is clearly happy to have someone of Blanchett’s caliber in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that Ragnarok is hitting theaters, everyone will be able to see if Hela was worth the wait.
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