Thor: Ragnarok – New plot details revealed; Cate Blanchett discusses her role as Hela

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Yesterday’s first look at Thor: Ragnarok was perhaps a bit disconcerting if you hadn’t been keeping up with the series since 2010. Where did the Odinson get a trendy buzzcut from? Why does Jeff Goldblum look like he’s about to cast a level 199 Firaga spell? Will hammer-time return? Fortunately the same issue of Entertainment Weekly that revealed the first official images for Ragnarock ‘n Roll also got a breakdown of the plot that’ll be powering the third Thor solo movie later this year. Which kind of goes a little something like this:

When we last saw Thor, he was flying off to figure out who was manipulating the Avengers at the end of Age of Ultron. Eventually, he hears rumblings of trouble in Asgard: His evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has been impersonating their missing father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Loki’s rather lax governing leads to the reemergence of an imprisoned Hela (Cate Blanchett).

Thor’s initial encounter with Hela gets him blasted to Sakaar, a barbaric planet ruled by the charming but nefarious Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), a tough, hard-drinking warrior hiding out on Sakaar brings the god to the Grandmaster. “Thor is a bit of a fanboy for the Valkyrie, the elite women warriors,” Hemsworth says. Thor is then forced into becoming a gladiator, which leads to his haircut and the loss of his trusty hammer.

I don’t know how Thor is going to survive this without Darryl by his side. One other thing that Thor: Ragnarok will be attempting to accomplish? Creating a villain worthy of the attention of the Odinson, in the form of Cate Blanchett’s Hela who happens to look awesome in her current Goth phase as the death goddess. “I think that’s where you put the period in the sentence, right? She arrives with a lot of baggage,” Blanchett said of the motivations of her character to EW.

Hela (2)

She’s a little bit cross… She’s been locked away for millennia, getting more and more cross, and then, with a mistake, she get unleashed and she ain’t getting back in that box.

You gotta know the history of the character. And there are so many iterations of the origin story. For any of these characters, there’s never one origin story. But yes, it was really interesting to go back. Most of the time she was masked. So that’s what I really talked to the Marvel team and Taika about was when we would chose to have her masked and when she wouldn’t be masked … She’s able to manifest weapons.

Her headdress can be weapons. She can manifest weapons out of different parts of her body. I won’t tell you which — I’ll leave that hanging.

Well, that “manifest weapons” quote seems… odd. Hela has never exhibited powers like that in the comics, being the magical ruler of the Asgardian dimension of Hel (with only one “l” but still the same damnation and suffering as the other one). It does however give a slightly practical reason for all the outlandish costumes the character often wears.

Blanchett is also playing Marvel’s first real female villain this time, an important milestone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far which has mainly relied on characters like Loki and Thanos to carry the heavy lifting in the antagonist department. “Well let’s face it: as a woman, these opportunities have not in the past come up very frequently and I think there’s a revolution happening from within Marvel,” Blanchett explained.

Hela (1)

I’ve seen so many of the Marvel franchises, particularly being the mother of four. They tend to be the only type of film particularly having young boys.

Can you believe it? Can you believe we’re having this conversation and it’s 2017 and we’re talking about the first female villain? It’s ridiculous. There’s so much untapped potential villainy in women. It’s really exciting. I think finally it’s beginning to be acknowledged that women and men want to see a diverse array of characters, and that’s race, gender across the sexual spectrum.

Asgard is so good. I mean one only need to have a mildly unpleasant thought and you’re considered evil. Everyone is too perfect. Why not mess it all up? It’s easy to play bad but, like when I was in Cinderella, like what makes the stepmother evil is interesting. So, it was trying to in the screen time I had to tease that stuff and to give her a journey really. So hopefully we’re given her a journey, like how you understand why Loki is as screwed up as he is.

Hopefully, there’s that satisfaction in watching Hela.

Thor: Ragnarok is out on November 3, with Taika Waititi directing.

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Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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