WARNING: This article contains minor SPOILERS for Thor: Ragnarok
The god of thunder may be a special weapon on Marvel’s Avengers, but in Thor: Ragnarok the Odinson is going to learn that as Asgardian warriors go… he’s got some catching up to do. That’s thanks to Valkyrie, the latest addition to the Thor movie series just in time for the title hero to take on one of Asgard’s oldest threats (and likely Marvel’s best movie villain). She’ll come in handy, too, considering her past with Hela, and the new backstory that the filmmakers have created for her live-action re-imagining.
We got our first glimpse into Valkyrie’s past, her present, and her possible future in the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe during our visit to the Ragnarok set. It’s not going to be the version of the hero that comic book fans are most familiar with, but in the interest of giving Thor an Asgardian partner who puts even his combat abilities to shame, Valkyrie’s gotten… a bit of an upgrade.
By now fans everywhere have seen both versions of ‘Val’ – the bounty hunter/scrapper serving The Grandmaster much like everyone else on the planet Sakaar, including the Hulk once he arrived from Earth, and her restored Asgardian armor (visible in what looks to be a flashback sequence of her fellow soldiers battling Hela at some point in history). Producer Brad Winderbaum explained that when Thor makes his own unintentional arrival on the planet Sakaar, the first person he meets is another Asgardian refugee. Unfortunately, his fellow ‘demigod’ doesn’t view their home with the same level of romance: “One of the first people he meets there is this bounty hunter. Nameless bounty hunter named SR142 – who is Valkyrie.”
That premise alone is a big break from the Marvel Comics version of Valkyrie, and while Winderbaum is perfectly aware of the version fans will have in mind, the filmmakers aren’t restricting themselves to the letter, as well as the spirit of the character’s mythology:
Valkyrie in the comics is traditionally the character Brunhilde who comes to be known as Valkyrie… Calling someone ‘Valkyrie’ is like referring to someone as ‘Soldier.’ Our view of the Valkyrie in the MCU is that they were basically Odin’s special ops. His SEAL Team Six. Valkyrie as we meet her in this film has definitely suffered the trauma of war, and we meet her in a really low place.
So it’s not so much that we’re trying to create a one-to-one emulation of Brunhilde from the comics. But certainly, the idea of the Valkyrie and what they mean to Asgard and to Odin is something that we’re going to be leaning into a lot and draft a lot of ideas from the comics.
Judging by Ragnarok‘s trailers, those influences stretch to Valkyrie’s costume, her weaponry, her very own Pegasus, and so on. But even a casual viewing of the marketing materials shows that the change of wardrobe for Valkyrie is far more significant. She may be hiding from her Asgardian roots as one of Odin’s greatest warriors on Sakaar, but meeting the Odinson, and seeing an old foe like Hela return pulls her back. The Valkyrie strutting down the Rainbow Bridge lit by fireworks doesn’t look to be one in a “low place,” but Winderbaum isn’t giving away the twist just yet. He only confirmed that if Ragnarok is a story about Thor proving his worthiness to lead, and return to Asgard with his honor intact… it may not be hist story alone:
She’s seeking redemption and she wants to face her fears and… again without giving any spoilers away, it’s the basis of her character. And the fact that she’s here is due in large part to her story with Thor, and Thor getting her to that emotional place.
Will Thor’s success in bringing her back to Asgard (hopefully not by flattering her as the Valkyrie fanboy we now know he is) mean a potential Valkyrie/Thor romance? The god of thunder has certainly got more important issue to deal with now… and then Thanos and the Infinity Stones. So no matter how he and Val hit if off, referring to any other character as a potential ‘romance’ seem a bit unrealistic.
Thor: Ragnarok advance tickets are now on sale wherever tickets are sold.
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