Marvel used to be all about the has-beens, never-beens and the up-and-comers. Now I don’t mean that in a negative light, but rather that they used to mostly cast actors and actresses (cheaply!) who either had never been or were already through being A-List and then using their movies to propel up/back up through the Hollywood social stratosphere. That all changed with Captain America: Winter Soldier when the legendary Robert Redford was cast in a major role. Since then we’ve seen Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro as Thanos and The Collector respectively in Guardians of the Galaxy, while everybody’s favourite TV detective Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Doctor Strange with Tilda Swinton also joining as his master the Ancient One.
So when reports came in that two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett was cast in Thor: Ragnarok, many just assumed initially that Marvel was once again just adding some dramatic mainstream heft to their cast, especially since it appeared that veteran Anthony Hopkins’ Odin was probably not going to be around much in this third Thor movie. But it appears that Blanchett will be there to do more than just legitimize this cosmic comic book adventure and is set for a huge role which – if true – will have massive ramifications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW, SO SCROLL DOWN AT OWN RISK!
It’s been rumoured for a while that Lord of the Rings actress’ role would be some kind of “badass” villain, and according to a new rumour from Geek.com, that villain is none other than Hela. For the non-geeks: In both Norse mythology and in the Thor comic books, Hela is the ruler of the realms of Niffleheim of Hel – the latter of which is exactly what it sounds like, despite only the singular “l” in its spelling – and a major Thor villain who has attempted to destroy/rule Asgard several times since she was first adapted from Norse myths by the legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby way back in 1964.
But there’s another aspect of Hela that is the most pertinent to the MCU: She is also the Asgardian goddess of death. And as we’ve mentioned a few times in the past, Thano – the purple faced cosmic despot pulling all the villainous strings in the MCU and who will be the main baddie in Avengers: Infinity War – is actually in love with Death. Note the capitalization there? That’s because in the comic books, Death actually has a human-like personification which Thanos literally falls in love with. In the MCU, no such personification has been seen thus far. But according to Geek.com, this is where Blanchett comes in:
Sources have confirmed with Geek.com that the big bad of Thor: Ragnarok will be Hela, the Marvel comic book character who is the ruler of Hel and the realm of Niflheim. Considering [Mark] Ruffalo let slip that Blanchett will play a baddie, it’s probably safe to assume that she’ll assume the role of Hela. She’ll be her normal comic book self, complete with her cloak and power over the dead souls of the Nine Realms. Hela will make it to Asgard, where she’ll be in cahoots with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, current motives unknown.
There has been speculation that the character of Hela could replace the physical embodiment of Death that Mad Titan Thanos falls in love with when he obtains the Infinity Gauntlet in the comic books on which the Avengers: Infinity War movies are loosely based. The general thought is that having a character representing Death suddenly appear in a big Avengers movie would be more confusing to audiences than a character they already know represents Death from a previous movie. Though now that Cate Blanchett is likely Hela, who wouldn’t want this to be true just to see Blanchett and Josh Brolin (who will be playing Thanos) repel dozens of Avengers?
In the comics, the “Ragnarok” storyline was one that was really only focused on Thor and the rest of the Asgardians as their realm was destroyed, but we’ve previously heard that the movie Thor: Ragnarok will have a much wider scope, with ramifications throughout all the titles that followed it in Marvel’s Phase 3. Introducing Death – or an aspect thereof – who just so happens to be the main motivation for your biggest villain would certainly do just that.
Geek.com continues to report exactly how Hela’s actions will even result in a massive status quo shift for Thor himself, but that’s now really getting into potentially very specific spoiler details so I would rather leave it for you to read at your own discretion.
As for the claim that Blanchett will be Hela, and basically Death to Josh Brolin’s Thanos, I really, really like it. This rumour has the ring of truth to it, because it is perfectly in line with the Marvel movies’ approach thus far of melding and tweaking existing storylines and characters to match their cinematic universe. This has sometimes yielded mixed results (I’m looking at you, Iron Man 3!) but could work out fantastically this time around. We’ve already seen in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit that Blanchett can go proper comic book dark if needs be, and Hela is such an over-the-top and extreme character that it should give the great actress some fantastic scenery chewing opportunities. And her playing off of and manipulating Brolin’s Thano is something that would be amazing to see.
Of course there is the hiccup that in the Thor movies, the Asgardians are merely powerful and highly advanced alien beings instead of actual gods. It will be interesting to see how they spin “ruler of Hel” since we’ve seen virtually nothing spiritual or metaphysical about Thor’s world on-screen thus far, but it’s certainly not impossible. With Thor: Ragnarok only releasing in November 2017, it will probably be some time (Comic-Con in July maybe?) before we get any confirmation on this.
What do you guys think? Do you want to see Blanchett as Hela, and do you like the idea of her being the MCU’s new Death? Sound off below!
Last Updated: January 22, 2016
Alien Emperor Trevor
January 22, 2016 at 12:06
I don’t want to be pedantic, but Benedict Cumberbatch has never played Columbo.