[SPOILERS for Thor: Ragnarok ahead.]
Like the other main characters, Hela’s many costume changes point to her evolution in Thor: Ragnarok. Hela was almost Thor: The Dark World‘s villain back in 2013, showing just how long Marvel Studios has wanted to adapt the Queen of Hel to the big screen. Luckily, that didn’t happen until Cate Blanchett was brought onboard to portray the big bad in Ragnarok. The result is one of many strong performances in the film, accented by some spectacular costuming and effects work.
Before Thor: Ragnarok arrived in theaters, much was made of the changes the God of Thunder goes through in the film. From losing his hammer and hair, to the revelation late in the film of Thor losing his eye, the main hero’s progress can be tracked by his changing look. This attention to design-as-character-development doesn’t end with the heroes of the film, however, as Hela’s many looks also mirrored her plot.
Screen Rant got a chance to speak with Thor: Ragnarok costume designer Mayes Rubeo, and she got into why Hela has so many different looks in the film – as well as how Blanchett and director Taika Waititi helped to facilitate the decision:
“Initially we just had like that one costume, like the complete costume with the green motifs and everything for Hela. But when our actress – Cate Blanchett – she’s incredible, knowledgeable of all her characters. And Taika I think was, you know, “I’d like to see this character evolve” […] So we made it in a way that we were gonna make an evolution of this character, so we built it up, you know, that’s why she has so many looks – raggedy and long hair and then she has another one that is complete black, and then she has another one with a little more green and then the full-on black and green. And this actually helped to understand why this character constantly shapeshifts and evolves and changes colors because the nature of this character it is like that.”
It’s clear that both Waititi and Blanchett have great love for Hela, given the work they put into bring her to life on screen. Of course, a big part of the character’s appeal is her striking look and how it shifts alongside her weaponry. While a single costume could have still been impressive, the changes do help to mirror Hela’s unhinged nature and evolution from an exile to a powerful villain.
Rubeo is no stranger to crafting grandiose sci-fi looks. She previously worked on Avatar and John Carter, bringing to life some very different sets of alien costumes. The designer also worked on both Team Thor shorts, meaning she will likely work with the character again in the future. Hopefully, she’ll even get the chance to work on Hela more, given the villain’s off-screen death.
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