WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, in theaters now.
The final battle in Avengers: Endgame pulled out all the stops, not only bringing in every character who could possibly be useful in a fight but also giving each one a moment to shine. Still, one stood out: Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie, riding in on a winged horse.
It’s in keeping with her character, who was introduced in Thor: Ragnarok as the last remaining member of Asgard’s elite all-female warrior squad. However, her return to her roots in Endgame raises questions. The flashback in Ragnarok that introduced the Valkyries and their flying mounts was the same one that showed “our” Valkyrie losing hers. The entire force was wiped out when Odin sent them to fight his daughter Hela, and when we meet Valkyrie there’s nothing of her old life left, least of all her trusty equine sidekick.
At the beginning of Endgame, we see Valkyrie wasn’t taken by the Snap, and that she’s leading the Asgardian survivors, but all of them are living day by day in a quiet Norwegian fishing village with no apparent initiative to regain their former glory. Asgard itself was, of course, destroyed in Ragnarok. So how is it that Valkyrie acquired a mythical creature before joining the battle in Endgame's finale?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t provided much background that would explain this twist in her story. The Norse mythology that inspired Marvel’s Asgardian characters also created the tradition of the Valkyries going to war on winged stallions (“Pegasus” isn’t used, as it's derived from Greek mythology), and the comics granted their version of Valkyries the same perk. But none of the above can account for how one of the winged horses in the MCU could respawn right when its rider wanted it.
As always, the movies leave some wiggle room for interpretation and speculation. There are many parts of the Nine Realms that haven’t yet been shown on screen, and nothing says the Valkyries’ mounts have to come from Asgard. Space travel is still available for some characters within the five-year span following the Snap, so Valkyrie may have taken a side trip to prepare for war. Alternatively, there may be some inherent quality of the winged stallions, or their bond with their riders, that allows them to come back to life when they’re needed. The Asgardian corner of the MCU is full of magic -- plausibility can be stretched pretty far without harming the story.
With Thor stepping down as king of the Asgardians and passing the crown to Valkyrie at the end of Endgame, it’s likely we’ll see more of her in future films. That means we may learn more about what happened with her before and during the battle.
However, if this is a plot hole, it’s not the kind that really needs to be addressed. When Valkyrie showed up on her winged stallion, full of spirit and righteous vengeance, it had exactly the effect it was meant to have. Fans cheered for the majestic creature of legend, and nobody really cared where he had come from. If there’s one question that truly deserves an answer, it’s whether we’ll get to see him again.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Josh Brolin as Thanos.