Director Taika Waititi has described “Thor: Ragnarok” as “a kind of dismantling and destroying the old idea and rebuilding it in a new way that’s fresh,” which includes new takes on characters, from the thunder god’s short hair to the Hullk’s “swagger” to the introduction of a Valkyrie who’s quite different from the one Marvel Comics readers know.
“She’s a real, real badass,” Tessa Thompson, who was cast in April 2016 as the Asgardian warrior, tells Entertainment Weekly, revealing that Waititi pointed to Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” as inspiration for the character’s physique.
For the rest of Valkyrie’s appearance, which includes leather and face paint, they looked beyond the comic book source material, where the character is depicted as blonde and armored. “That was sort of a Taika remix,” Thompson said. “Marvel was really great, like ‘Do what you will with these characters.’ In ‘Ragnarok,’ you’ll see a Banner like you’ve never seen before. You’ll see Thor with the short hair, which happens when he becomes this gladiator for the Grandmaster. But you really do get to see these established characters in a new way. Obviously if they were really dedicated to the source material they would not have cast me.”
“We have so many conversations particularly now about representation in film,”continued the “Creed” actress. “I think the unfortunate thing about a lot of these fantasy movies is when they’re based on source material a lot of these comics were written in a time when that wasn’t a part of the conversation as far as having representation. Not just having characters that reflect the world we live in but how we represent the characters. If we were also dedicated to the source material, Valkyrie would potentially be a female Thor but she’s fighting in basically a bathing suit, which is also absurd. So we had a conversation of, what is a strong look? Like, she should probably be in pants. That probably makes more sense for the kind of work she’s doing. And we had conversations about her sort of feeling like a tomboy and having a certain masculinity about her while still being very much a woman.”
Also starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban and Mark Ruffalo, “Thor: Ragnarok” opens Nov. 3.