A dozen films in for Marvel Studios and not one has featured a female title character. That's about to change in Phase 3 with both Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel looking to headline key Marvel Comics superheroines in the next few years... but what about the villains?
While female antagonists have played supporting roles on Marvel TV and on the film side, we've yet to see a lead villain be a female character. That's going to change with Thor: Ragnarok. The third Thor film sees Chris Hemsworth return as the titular Asgardian God of Thunder, joined this time by his Earthly brute ally Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) for a cosmic buddy adventure, and a report from November indicated that it's this story that'll introduce Marvel's first major female movie villain.
So in December when the trades broke the news that Aussie Oscar winning star Cate Blanchett was in talks with Marvel Studios to play a lead character in Thor: Ragnarok, we knew what that meant. Blanchett joked on Jimmy Kimmel Live around the time that she was going to takeover the lead role of Thor from Hemsworth (Thor is a female character in the comics now, after all) but according to Mark Ruffalo who spoke with ET yesterday at the BAFTA Awards Season Tea Party, the villain we previously heard about is one and the same as the character Blanchett may play.
"I'm so thrilled. I saw her at the Governors' banquet here and heard that maybe she was circling, they were talking to her about the part, so I ran up to her and I was like, 'Please, please, please make this work!' She's just one of the best, and to have her play a baddie is going to be really exciting."
If Blanchett joins Thor, it would be another example of Marvel Studios using veteran, recognizable stars to fill supporting roles. Doctor Strange - which debuts this fall - has several Oscar caliber stars filling its ranks, emphasizing that Marvel is looking for top tier talent for its projects. That's why Matthew McConaughey was of interest for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2's villain role and it's why Blanchett may be laying siege to Asgard in a few years. Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige, now fully in charge of the studio and reporting only to Disney's top brass, doesn't have the same tight budget constraints he had previously meaning he can keep talent happier and have more options in attracting stars.
From another business perspective, since Thor 3 is the first Marvel project shooting in Australia, tax incentives for having Aussie cast members and crew no doubt come into play. Hemsworth of course hails from Australia and currently lives with his family just an hour outside of Village Roadshow’s Gold Coast locations where production may take place. Having Blanchett join as well could further that cause.
As for what female Thor villain Blanchett may play, here are the options we theorized last year, of which we believe Enchantress is the most likely. The character's sister, Lorelei, had a guest appearance on an episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. Although whatever character it is could be an amalgamation of any of the following to better serve the story of Ragnarok which we know will have a major impact on the cosmic side of the MCU.
- Knorda – super strong Asgardian warrior queen of the Mountain Giants.
- Enchantress – not to be confused with Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress in DC’s Suicide Squad movie, Marvel’s Enchantress (real name: Amora) is one of Thor’s most dangerous and magical villains. Amora’s sister, Lorelei, actually appeared in an episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Hela – Loki’s child and the Asgardian goddess of Death. Could be altered to not be Loki’s daughter and could also serve as a connection to MCU big bad Thanos who’s in love with “Death”
- Karnilla – The queen of the Norns, overseers of the destinies of Asgardians. Karnilla actually helped teach magic to Enchantress and the Norns played a crucial role in Avengers: Age of Ultron (albeit mostly in a deleted scene) to share with him information on how to defeat Ultron and what would happen next to Asgard.
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Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; Black Panther - February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
Cate Blanchett as Hela art by Xteve Abanto.