It seems like we might have been waiting an eternity, but Thor: Ragnarok is almost upon us. After a first movie that firmly and strongly established the god of Thunder and Asgard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, many were disappointed by the sequel, The Dark World, which seemed to play it mostly safe, with a villain that was, ultimately, forgettable. Early looks at the threequel have promised us an exhilarating, hilarious and colorful adventure that brings many new elements to Thor’s universe. With Earth nowhere in sight, this new Thor film looks set to be inspired by the comics like never before.
Many new characters from the source material will be brought along what looks to be an amazing sci-fi and fantasy ride, like the Grandmaster, Valkyrie, Skurge and Surtur. But the one character who has most of the attention as the release of the movie nears is Cate Blanchett’s Hela, who already looks set to become a fan-favorite. The film’s producers have already promised us that she will be the most complex villain in the MCU yet. As we gear up for November, CBR looks to both the comic books and the MCU to list 15 things you have to know about the next big Marvel movie villain.
15. SHE IS THE MCU’S FIRST FEMALE VILLAIN
With Thor: Ragnarok, the MCU will be reaching its 17th movie. Over the course of all of those various Avengers-related adventures, there have been many villains that our heroes have faced. But all of them, from Zemo and Loki to Vulture to Yellowjacket, had one particular trait in common: they were men (and one murderous sentient robot, who had the voice of a man.)
While there are more and more female superheroes in the MCU, Hela will mark a departure for the universe, as the first main female villain to hit the screen. It will be interesting to see what dynamic she brings to the world, and just how exactly Cate Blanchett will make the role her own. This is a big deal for the MCU, as the first female antagonist could open up the door for many more to come.
14. SHE IS THE ASGARDIAN GODDESS OF DEATH
Thor is the god of Thunder. Loki is the Trickster god. Odin is the All-Father. It might be easy to forget, but all Asgardian characters are gods to those on Earth. And Hela is no different. In fact, she might be just as powerful as Odin himself, as the Asgardian goddess of Death. Asgardians are powerful beings, and they live for eons, but they are still subject to life and death.
When an Asgardian is on the verge of death, it is Hela’s responsibility to collect their souls and lead them to their final resting place, in the realms of either Hel or Niflheim, where they will forever belong to her. In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is the death of all gods, and with it being the name of the film, it seems like this is exactly what Hela will attempt to unleash on the entirety of Asgard.
13. THE LEFT SIDE OF HER BODY IS DEAD
In 1985’s Thor #361 by Walter Simonson, the god of Thunder battled the Asgardian goddess of Death, and managed to discover her weakness. By removing her green cloak, Thor came to discover that it was the source of her powers. Without it, she returned to her original form: one half of her body, the right half, appeared perfectly healthy — but the left half appeared decayed and lifeless.
Such is the true form of Hela, a form it is told she was born with. However, no one really knows for sure. Without her cloak, she is weak and powerless. But with it, she is one of the most dangerous threats in the universe. We don’t yet know if the movie will bring this idea to the MCU, but it would be very interesting to see it brought to live action.
12. SHE CAN KILL WITH A SINGLE TOUCH
On top of being as strong as any Asgardian god, Hela also has the added ability of killing anyone with a single touch. It’s a fearsome power that makes her dangerous, but it’s a power that does have its limits. In fact, while she can touch someone with a gloved hand or not, she must absolutely make contact with a person’s actual skin for this power to work.
This is the ability that allows her to collect the souls of the dead Asgardians, as she comes to them when their time has come. Asgardian or human, it makes no difference — Hela’s touch is deadly. It remains to be seen if such a strong power will be among Hela’s arsenal in Thor: Ragnarok, or if she will be somewhat de-powered to allow her to have a more specific power set.
11. SHE HAS VARYING ORIGIN STORIES
In the comic books, there are two different origin stories when it comes to Hela and her lineage. For a very long time, she was believed to be the daughter of Loki from a previous life cycle, before a previous Ragnarok event. But later, it was hinted that she could actually be the daughter of Odin and some unknown goddess.
With the MCU’s version of Asgard looking to face its first Ragnarok (instead of a never-ending cycle like it is in the original Norse mythology), it’s doubtful that the much younger Loki could be Hela’s father. It’s then much more likely that she will in fact be a daughter of Odin, which would make her a sister of Thor. Then again, the movie could always give her an entirely new origin like; for example, Hela being Odin’s sister, and Thor’s aunt instead.
10. SHE IS THE THE QUEEN OF HEL
There are nine realms that comprise Yggdrasil, the Asgardian’s world tree. There is Asgard, and Midgard. There is Jotunheim, home of the Frost Giants, and Niflheim, home of Hela — where she rules in her own domain, Hel. The Asgardian’s equivalent of “hell,” it is a land not of fire, but of ice. This is where the goddess of death takes the souls of the deceased, and where she rules over them.
But it’s not all Asgardian souls that belong to her. If a god is to die a hero’s glorious death in battle, then he will be taken by the Valkyries to the realm of Valhalla, where Hela has no control over them. But whatever she can bring to her realm belongs to her. It is a place and a role that was given to her by Odin long ago, and it’s possible that it is the inception of her hatred for Asgard.
9. SHE HELPED LOKI TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
Loki is known to be a trickster and a schemer, a god who is always up to something. During the Dark Reign storyline in the comics, Loki allied himself with Hela. Their powers combined, Loki was able to travel back in time to the day Odin found a baby Frost Giant that he would come to adopt. As it turns out, Loki himself was the one responsible for turning Odin’s attention to the baby in need.
Yes, thanks to Hela, it was revealed that a time-traveling and disguised Loki was the one responsible for convincing his father to adopt his younger self. Therefore, his adoption was just the beginning of his master plan, and it would be entirely possible to see Thor: Ragnarok bring this turn of events to the MCU, seeing as how we already saw Odin adopt baby Loki back in the first Thor film.
8. SHE HAS THE FENRIS WOLF AT HER SIDE
Hela will not be waging her war on Asgard and Thor alone, because, at her side, she will have an unparalleled ally: the Fenris wolf, a creature that we have already seen briefly in the trailers for Thor: Ragnarok facing off against the Incredible Hulk. A creature born of Norse mythology, the Fenris wolf is an animal much bigger than the average canine.
In the classic mythology, he is called Fenrir, a fierce monster of apocalyptic legend, as he is the creature destined to kill Odin once Ragnarok comes. Now, the Thor movies have played pretty loose with the Norse mythology, so it doesn’t mean that this is exactly what will happen. But with Odin confirmed to appear in the film, fans might have reason to be concerned for the well-being of the All-Father.
7. BLANCHETT STUDIED BRAZILIAN MARTIAL ARTS FOR THE ROLE
Not one to shy away from a challenge, the 48 year-old Cate Blanchett took it upon herself to learn a Brazilian martial art known as Capoeira. It’s not enough that Hela is the goddess of Death and that she has many powers in her arsenal, it appears she will also be a fierce hand-to-hand combatant. The trailers have already shown us a bit of her in action, and she looks like quite the opponent.
In the comic books, Hela isn’t one to dive headfirst into battle often, but when she does, it’s often armed with a sword. Although she will undoubtedly be armed when the time comes to face the armies of Asgard, it seems like Hela will also be very efficient with her bare hands. This makes her infinitely more deadly, and it makes us eager to see Cate Blanchett take on the daunting physicality of the role.
6. SHE WILL BE ALLIED WITH SKURGE
In Thor: Ragnarok, Hela won’t just be accompanied by a mythical wolf. In fact, multiple trailers have shown that she will be allied with Karl Urban’s Skurge the Executioner, an illegitimate son of Asgard. Armed with a battle ax and machine guns, Skurge is a fierce warrior unlike any Thor has faced before. While the character is more closely associated with the Enchantress Amora in the comics, he will instead be at Hela’s side in the MCU.
Although he was a villain for a long time, Skruge also proved that he had the heart of a hero. In fact, the Executioner proved instrumental when he sacrificed himself in Hel, holding the forces of evil back while his allies escaped, in an event that tied directly into Ragnarok. However, it’s too soon to tell if Urban’s Skurge will switch sides before the movie’s end, or if he will remain a villain for the foreseeable future.
5. SHE ONCE POSSESSED SURTUR’S SWORD, TWILIGHT
Hela is a powerful being, but there are others out there who possess even more power – such as Surtur, the Fire Giant from Muspelheim, who we have already seen in the Thor: Ragnarok trailers. Surtur has control of the Twilight Sword, a powerful weapon that has the potential to burn the entire universe. Hela once managed to gain control of this weapon, and reshape the nine realms as she saw fit.
With both Surtur and Hela confirmed to be antagonists in the movie, it is entirely possible that Hela would somehow seek such a powerful weapon from the lord of fire. Besides, with Surtur destined to have a role in Ragnarok and the destruction of Asgard according to myth, perhaps then, Hela will decide to unleash him when the time is right for her to strike, and set the realm of gods ablaze.
4. GORR THE GOD BUTCHER
It has already been confirmed by the producers of Thor: Ragnarok that Hela will possess a power she does not have in the comics, a power borrowed from another Thor villain, Gorr the God Butcher. A very recent addition to the Thor mythos, Gorr had in his possession something that was called the All-Black, the Necrosword.
This weapon allowed the villain to create an infinite amount of weapons for him to wield as well as a horde of minions called the Black Berserkers. With it, Gorr was able to travel through the cosmos, slaying any god he could find. It remains to be seen if this will be an innate power of Hela’s, or if she will be in possession of the All-Black but one thing is certain, with such a dangerous and devastating power in her arsenal, Hela will be a much more physical threat to Thor and his allies.
3. SHE CANNOT BE STOPPED
The first Thor movie quickly established the notion that the Asgardians required the use of the Bifrost to travel between realms, from Asgard to Midgard and everything in-between. It’s a powerful tool that is controlled by Heimdall, but it also limits the gods in their travels whenever it is damaged or unmanned, as seen in both Thor films.
But, as the Asgardian goddess of Death, Hela knows no such limits. In the comic books, Hela does not have to abide by the Bifrost to travel between realms, seeing as how she can go wherever she pleases at any time to collect the souls of the dead. This is a very powerful weapon that she has in her arsenal, one that means she could appear anywhere, at any time.
2. SHE HAS A DEAL WITH DEATH
In the comic books, there is a separate entity called Death, a universal force embodied in the form of a cloaked woman, one who is the recipient of the affection of the Mad Titan, Thanos. She was even mentioned in the mid-credits scene of the first Avengers film, when The Other said to Thanos that to challenge humans was a sure way to court Death.
This Death is different from Hela, who is merely the Asgardian goddess of Death. While Death has the power over life and death over almost everyone, Hela has a “deal” with her that she is responsible for the dead Asgardians, as well as those who worship them. However, this similar role has led many to believe that Hela will be the only form of Death in the MCU, prompting rumors that she will appear in Avengers: Infinity War.
1. SHE ONCE ALLIED HERSELF WITH THANOS
Even the mighty can fall, and Hela recently found herself deprived of her role as Queen of Hel, defeated in battle very recently in the comic books. Desperate to regain control of it, she allied herself with the powerful Titan Thanos and one member of his Black Order, Proxima Midnight. With both Thanos and Proxima Midnight set to appear in Avengers: Infinity War, could we be truly be looking at Hela serving the role of Death in the MCU?
If Hela is unsuccessful in her attempt to destroy the gods of Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok, she could find herself looking for a new ally to help her in her cause. And Thanos, ever in love with her, would have no choice but to answer her beckoning. One way or another, all will be revealed, and so much more, when Hela makes her grand entrance in the MCU this November.
What else do you know about the newest big bad in the MCU? Let us know in the comments!
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