With the first Thor movie introducing Marvel’s best movie villain, the minds behind Thor: Ragnarok are determined to make Hela more than a copy of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. That’s according to Cate Blanchett herself, though it wasn’t always the case. Believe it or not, the version of Hela seen in Ragnarok‘s trailers – grinning, plotting, and otherwise threatening our heroes – was originally even more like Loki, the god of mischief. But fans won’t need to worry about a re-tread, from the looks of Blanchett’s performance on set.
We had the opportunity to visit the set of Ragnarok when little was known of Ragnarok‘s villain, or how her story might tie into Marvel’s larger Infinity Stone mystery. The day just so happened to include dialogue exchanged between Loki and Hela (among others), and the appearance of what looked to be two cagey Asgardians out-scheming the other raised an important question. Given how tempting it would be to bring another Loki – a smart, cunning, ruthless, and unpredictable, morally ambiguous antagonist – into the mix, how would Hela stand apart?
Blanchett’s answer took us by surprise, before confirming that she led the charge in distinguishing her villain from anything Tom Hiddleston had produced before.
A lot of the Marvel villains have had a hard time living up to Loki – is that something that concerned you, especially since you share a movie?
I have a vagina [Laughs]. So I don’t think he has the vagina– although I don’t know if Hela has a vagina either. She’s a goddess– I don’t know, I don’t know [Laughs]. No… the original sketches that I got, Tom and I were just talking about that actually, they were quite similar. So Taika and I, and the producers, and Mayes [Rubio] who’s the costume designer – and has done an amazing job, when you eventually see the costume because obviously I was in the ‘pajamas of humiliation’ today…. Hela looked very similar to Loki, and I said ‘OK, well how can we either make that a virtue, or be a little bit more creative with that?’
And they were really receptive to it. So even though Hela doesn’t carry the whole film – and that’s not a spoiler – I’ve tried with the Makeup and Hair people and all of the different departments to give her a kind of visual journey, so that she’s got somewhere to go as she becomes increasingly powerful. That look evolves and calcifies a little bit.
If fans have enjoyed the trailers and TV spots thus far, then it’s possible to piece together most of the “evolving” attire Blanchett is referring to. There’s the disheveled look when she destroys Mjolnir, the headdress donned before potentially killing a returning Thor favorite, and eventually her full-length cape capable of launching an infinite storm of weapons.
As Blanchett seems to suggest, the increasingly more elaborate costume will evolve as Hela gains power. Since she’s otherwise known as the ‘Goddess of Death,’ we’re sad to say that the most obvious source of that growing power means bad news for the Asgardians in her path. The idea that Hela needs to ‘feed’ on souls to grow in power may add further weight to our Hela/Soul Stone theory, but either way, it’s a simple enough threat for even Thor to make sense of it halfway across the universe. Get back to Asgard, and stop Hela from growing any more powerful, or destroying more of Asgard (since one fuels the other).
To pull that off, he may work to distinguish Hela from Loki on the other end: allying with his brother to defend their home, Loki finally taking a stand on the side of good in opposition to death and destruction. It’s really where he should be since, you know, it’s his fault Hela escapes to start Ragnarok to begin with.
From the interactions and performances we saw on set, Hela may definitely be Marvel’s best villain yet, but what are your hopes? Are you eager to see just how similar to Loki she remains?
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